Villa San Giovanni

Calabria, Italy

Villa San Giovanni is a town in the province of Reggio Calabria that overlooks the Strait of Messina. Its port is among the busiest in Italy, as it is the main maritime connection between Calabria and Sicily.

On Ferryhopper, you can find useful information on must-see places, beaches, local delicacies and ferries from Villa San Giovanni. Take a look at our top travel tips and make the best of your time in Villa San Giovanni and its port!

Below, you can learn more about Villa San Giovanni:

Sunset over the Strait of Messina, between Calabria and Sicily

A beautiful sunset over the Strait of Messina

Villa San Giovanni ferry port

With a strategic role since ancient times, the port of Villa San Giovanni is one of the main ports connected to the island of Sicily.

Its activities in the Strait of Messina is also of great importance. Ferries to/from Villa San Giovanni carry people, vehicles and even railway convoys.

The port of Villa San Giovanni is directly connected to the train station. A few meters from the passenger terminals, you can find bars, restaurants, ATMs, supermarkets and shops.

Ferries from Villa San Giovanni port: schedules and tickets

From Villa San Giovanni, you can catch the ferry to Messina, also known as "the gateway to Sicily". 

The Villa San Giovanni - Messina route is active 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All connections are operated by Caronte & Tourist with around 168 trips a day.

Ferries from Villa San Giovanni to Messina make the crossing in about 20 minutes, with standard tickets costing €2.5. The final cost increases if you book vehicle tickets, while there are discount tickets for various passenger categories.

Where is the ferry port in Villa San Giovanni?

The port of Villa San Giovanni is located north of Reggio Calabria. Ferries usually depart from Molo Ponente, specifically.

The city is continuously connected to Sicily by daily ferries, while trains to Sicily and Northern Italy also pass through its port.

How to get to Villa San Giovanni port?

If you have decided to drive along the peninsula and reach the port of Villa San Giovanni with your vehicle, just take the Salerno - Reggio Calabria motorway and follow the "Imbarchi per la Sicilia" signs.

You can also get to Villa San Giovanni by train or bus, considering that the stations are less than 10 minutes from the port on foot. From Reggio Calabria Airport, shuttle services take you to the port of Villa San Giovanni in about 20 minutes.

Tip: as the port of Villa San Giovanni can get quite crowded, we suggest that you leave your car in the paid parking lot near the station to save time.

A part of Villa San Giovanni and its port, Italy

The coast and port of Villa San Giovanni

Holidays in Villa San Giovanni

Dreaming of reaching the beautiful and diverse island of Sicily by ferry? Villa San Giovanni is a perfect starting point for those traveling from Southern Italy.

Before hopping on the ferry to Messina, however, you should dedicate at least 2-3 days to Villa San Giovanni and the beautiful Violet Coast. Take advantage of its convenient location and visit neighboring locations and beaches in Calabria, full of natural beauty and stunning sunset views!

How to get to Villa San Giovanni

You can get to Villa San Giovanni by car, train, bus and ferry. 

If you are traveling from the southern regions of Italy by car, just take the Salerno - Reggio Calabria motorway to reach the town.

Trains to Villa San Giovanni leave from the main cities of Italy, as do buses, with international connections from/to Poland, Switzerland and France. 

The closest airport reference point to Villa San Giovanni is the "Tito Minniti" airport of Reggio Calabria, (around 19 km away). From the airport, ATAM Spa buses leave for Villa San Giovanni.

Those departing from the island of Sicily can take the ferry from Messina to Villa San Giovanni and arrive at their destination in just 20 minutes.

Boats on the sandy beach of Cannitello, Villa San Giovanni

Fishing boats on the beach of Cannitello in Villa San Giovanni

What to do in Villa San Giovanni

In 1908, an earthquake struck Messina and the cities of its Strait. Villa San Giovanni was almost destroyed, along with traces of its past. Today, it’s a commercial port town and a center for fishing and agriculture.

Here, you can walk along its picturesque seafront and admire the churches and buildings of its historic center. The town is also close to some of the most beautiful Calabrian villages, such as Scilla and Bagnara Calabra.

If you are a fan of trekking and nature exploration, the paths of Aspromonte await you, as well as the beaches of the Violet Coast, among the most famous throughout Italy!

Fun fact: on winter mornings, after heavy rain, the Fata Morgana mirage occurs in Villa San Giovanni. Because of this magical optical phenomenon, rays of light bend, offering distorted views of the coasts of Sicily and Calabria, which appear much closer than they are.

Beaches in Villa San Giovanni

Villa San Giovanni is part of the Violet Coast (Costa Viola), whose 35-km-long coastline enjoys beautiful views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. This suggestive Calabrian stretch is home to numerous beaches, coves and caves! Our 5 top beaches in and around Villa San Giovanni are the following:

  1. Cannitello beach: located in the hamlet of the same name, it is about 3 km from the urban center of Villa San Giovanni. This wide beach is bordered by a beautiful promenade, with the surrounding area hosting restaurants, bars and several hotels.
  2. Catona beach: located almost 4 km south of Villa San Giovanni, towards Reggio Calabria, it has white sand and clean waters. This is because of the currents crossing the Strait of Messina. There are free areas, as well as areas with amenities. In both cases, it is an ideal spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing enthusiasts!
  3. Cala Janculla: considered one of the most beautiful in Calabria, it is located in the area of Palmi, less than 20 minutes from Villa San Giovanni. This small white beach is enclosed by cliffs and has deep waters. You can easily reach it by sea through organized excursions or by land through a rather challenging path.
  4. Bagnara Calabra beach: located in the center of the municipality of the same name, it is found at the foot of Monte Cocuzzo. This 3-km-long beach has sand mixed with gravel, creating a beautiful setting. In the summer, it gets rather busy, as the surrounding area is full of bars and restaurants.
  5. Scilla beach: wide and spacious, it is located under the atmospheric Ruffo di Scilla Castle, a few km from Villa San Giovanni. A part of the beach is free, but you can also find amenities and restaurants. It has crystal clear waters and offers beautiful views of Sicily.

The beach of Scilla under the Ruffo Castle in Calabria

The idyllic beach of Scilla, under the Ruffo Castle

Sightseeing and activities in Villa San Giovanni

While passing through Villa San Giovanni, take your time exploring its limited but interesting attractions, including:

  • The Cannitello seafront, perfect for a stroll at sunset
  • The monument to Garibaldi, referred to as “the Hero of the Two Worlds”
  • The Fontana Vecchia, over 200 years old and inspired by a small Greek temple
  • The Church of the Immaculate Conception and its neo-Romanesque style
  • The former municipal slaughterhouse, now a venue for exhibitions and events
  • The Natural History Museum of the Strait of Messina, which tells the story of the area through different exhibitions

Thanks to its convenient location, you can also visit nearby locations and attractions for additional sightseeing opportunities! We recommend visiting:

  • The village of Scilla, with its castle and unique district of Chianalea
  • The town of Bagnara Calabra, known as the “pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea”, with rich history, tradition and culture
  • The World Park in Gallico Superiore, part of the Archdiocese of Reggio Calabria and an intercultural place for moments of relaxation and contemplation
  • The National Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria, one of the most prestigious museums in Italy and where the Riace Bronzes statues are exhibited
  • The Aspromonte National Park, a UNESCO heritage site with immense forests, secular trees and splendid peaks

Autumn landscape in the Aspromonte National Park in Calabria, Italy

The spectacular landscape of the Aspromonte National Park in autumn

Nightlife in Villa San Giovanni

Villa San Giovanni is renowned for many things, but not its nightlife. The atmosphere here is much calmer, with relaxing walking opportunities along the seafront and delicious seafood at its seaside restaurants.

 Towards Reggio Calabria, Bagnara Calabra and Palmi, however, there are more nightlife options, including lidos and beach clubs.

Food in Villa San Giovanni

Calabrian cuisine in general is full of agricultural and fishing traditions. Fresh fish, local meat and honey desserts are just some of the most famous products of Villa San Giovanni.

Here are some delicacies to try out in Villa San Giovanni:

  • Fried pork
  • Il baccalà (dried and salted cod)
  • Pasta with swordfish
  • Capicollo (traditional Italian pork)
  • Bergamot products
  • Nougat
  • Le piparelle (dark almond biscuits)

Piparelle and other traditional Calabrian biscuits served on a plate

Piparelle and other traditional Calabrian biscuits

Tips for your trip to Villa San Giovanni

Here are 3 travel tips for your stay in Villan San Giovanni:

  1. As Villa San Giovanni and Messina are so close to each other, planning a day trip between the two cities is nothing but smooth sailing!
  2. The port of Reggio Calabria is a 10-minute drive from Villa San Giovanni. In the summer, the port is connected to the beautiful Aeolian Islands, so don’t miss out on this opportunity!
  3. Every year, the festival “Sapori di Mare” is celebrated on the Cannitello seafront, with banquets, delicacies and musical entertainment.

Useful information about Villa San Giovanni

Villa San Giovanni is a town of more than 12,000 inhabitants, with its port being an integral part of the town’s life. The town offers all essential services and there are also several accommodation options to choose from. 

Consider staying in Villa San Giovanni for 1-2 nights, visit beautiful neighboring locations in Calabria and then take the ferry to Messina, Sicily. 

Important phone numbers for your stay in Villa San Giovanni

Here are some useful phone numbers for your stay in the Calabrian town:

  • Villa San Giovanni Port Authority: +39965751598
  • ATAM Spa bus (Reggio C. Airport - Villa S. Giovanni port): +39965620121
  • Municipal police: +39965752440
  • Carabinieri: +39965752072
  • Emergency doctor: +39965751356
  • Post office: +39965793511
  • European emergency number: 112

Transportation in Villa San Giovanni

The Municipality of Villa San Giovanni is quite small, providing locals and visitors with countless walking opportunities.

The port is located rather close to the town center, so reaching the passenger terminals is easy and convenient. To visit other places in Calabria and on the Violet Coast, moving around by car is highly recommended.

Part of the seafront of Villa San Giovanni overlooking the sea

Beautiful sea views from the promenade of Villa San Giovanni

Where to book Villa San Giovanni ferry tickets online

At the moment, booking ferry tickets from Villa San Giovanni to Messina in Sicily is not possible on Ferryhopper. As we focus on including more ferry routes in Italy, check out our interactive Map of ferries and discover all the ways to travel around the Mediterranean Sea by ferry!

Frequent ferry connections

Nearby destinations

Villa San Giovanni has direct ferry connections with 1 ports :

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