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    Tropea - Pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea

    Tropea is nicknamed the Pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea and is located on a viewpoint at about 70 metres above sea level. It is the best-known Calabrian resort, with its walls, its towers, its gates, its sandy beach and a charming medieval historical centre. Legend has it that Hercules, returning from Spain, stood on the Coast of the Gods to establish Tropea, that became one of the ports of Hercules. In truth, Tropea’s history begins in Roman times when, along the coast, the first villages were founded.

    Due to its unique position of viewpoint overlooking the sea, Tropea played an important role, in Roman times, under the rule of the Saracens, and especially under the Normans and the Aragonese.

    Discovered by illustrious travellers in past centuries, it has experienced a considerable reputation throughout the world due to its extraordinary natural and architectural beauty. In fact, in Tropea it is possible to combine the beauty of the sea with a cultural and artistic itinerary of great interest while taking in its breathtaking landscape. The old part of the town is located on a viewpoint overlooking the sea, facing the spectacular island which houses the Chiesa di Santa Maria dell’Isola, which is the town’s symbol and is also one Calabria’s most photographed. The sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola can be reached by a steep staircase formed in the rock itself of the islet and around the church, it is possible to admire a splendid garden filled with Mediterranean plants, with magnificent views of the sea that offers a very impressive scenic view of the entire coast. In the background, the Aeolian Islands with Stromboli and Vulcano can be glimpsed as well as Sicily with Etna and the vast Tyrrhenian Sea.

    The beaches below the cliff of Tropea are white and contrast in a magical way with a limpid and crystalline sea, with colours that range from turquoise to deep blue.

    View of Tropea

    The old town centre is rich in churches of various eras and impressive buildings that preserve within them valuable treasures and precious urban furnishings in excellent condition. All buildings feature 18th-century balconies, many of which overlook the sea and imposing portals in the main entrances and built by skilled craftsmen. The village is enclosed in a maze of narrow streets that suddenly open up into wonderful squares that overlook the sea or its green terraces. The cathedral, founded in Norman times and remodelled several times in order to remedy seismic damage, boasts two Gothic portals of great charm and some interesting works in its interior. There are various legends in Calabria that revolve around the building, such as that relating to two unexploded bombs present at the entrance and that bear witness to the protection granted by the Virgin to Tropea. Inside the old town centre we can find the small workshops of, carpenters, smiths, weavers and pottery-makers, together with many small shops managed by farmers of the area that sell typical local products from the countryside, such as olive oil, wine, fresh eggs, and above all, Tropea’s famous red onions, with all its derived products.

    Tropea is also equipped with a modern tourist port, equipped with all comforts and a short distance from the old town centre. The Port of Tropea is one of five ports of Hercules chosen together with other four ports of the Mediterranean, due to the aforementioned legend. The harbour allows to reach Capo Vaticano, Parghelia, Ricadi, Tropea and Zambrone, mandatory stops in an itinerary where the leading star is the transparent sea, framed by white sandy beaches from where visitors can enjoy amazing views.


    Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola

    The legend tells that a Madonna of wood arrived at Tropea transported from the Near East and that the mayor of the village wanted to give it a place of honour in a natural niche of the islet. Due to its small size of the niche, a carpenter was asked to saw the legs off the statue, to be able to fit it in the niche. However, a sudden paralysis of arms prevented the craftsman from concluding his work so today the statue rests undisturbed inside its shrine, which is well worth a visit.

    Its clear layout and finely decorated building was built on what was once an island, while today it is connected to the mainland by a strip of beach. Built by the Basilian Fathers, the shrine was a hermitage that became in time a small church dedicated to the Madonna dell’Isola even if the statue on the altar represents the Holy Family. The church was then donated to the Benedictine Fathers and from then belongs to the Abbey of Montecassino. The islet is particularly impressive and, on the side, facing the sunset, a picturesque grotto opens up with emerald walls.

    Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola


    The Beaches

    Tropea’s sea is unanimously considered among the most beautiful in Italy. This is due to the thick white sand, which is responsible for its crystal-clear water and intense colours. Tropea’s beaches can be reached through three roads and four staircases that depart from the Duomo di Tropea, Largo Galluppi, Rione village and from the Convent. Spiaggia del Cannone is the area’s least visited beach; a small oasis hidden between the marina and the Scoglio di San Leonardo, unknown to the general public and ideal for spending days relaxing by the sea.

    Spiaggia A Linguata

    Spiaggia della Rotonda is considered Tropea’s most beautiful and therefore tends to be one of the most crowded. The area near the rocks with a deeper seabed, is a true paradise for snorkeling lovers. Spiaggia A Linguata, as suggested by the word, is a long stretch of white sand that offers bathing establishments and public beaches, particularly suitable for those visit the sea with children. The grotta del Palombaro (Diver’s Cave) can only be reached by sea and its beach is small and intimate, sheltered by a large cave. Spiaggia Passo Cavalieri is among the most unspoilt, being positioned in the shelter of the sandstone cliff covered with trees and Mediterranean vegetation.

    Two circular recesses in the rock that resemble the shape of a pair of eyeglasses give the name to the area of caves of Tropea, populated by small bays and coves that break the cliff’s monotony. The Grotta Azzurra (Blue Cave) gets its name from the light rays entering inside which create spectacular displays of light and colour the water of an intense blue.

    Spiaggia della Rotonda



    The agricultural sector is also well-known, it includes among its products the famous Tropea onion, already known at the time of Pliny the Elder. Exported for two thousand years, the red onion has built its reputation around Italy and the world thanks to its sweet taste, a feature that is not found in any other onion among the 50 existing types. This characteristic is favoured by the microclimate of the area, mild and without temperature changes in the winter, thanks to the proximity of the sea, and the particular soil fertility. In addition to its sweet taste, it is also easily digestible. Another trait of the onion is its intense red colour.

    In July at Tropea, the festivities of the “Sagra del Pesce azzurro” and of Tropea's red onion take place, which pay tribute to the traditional local cuisine and its main products, attracting a great number of visitors. During the course of the event, visitors can taste numerous dishes based on red onion and blue fish. The festival also envisages making stands available where local businesses can display their specialties, obtained with using traditional artisan methods and which refer to ancient recipes of the local tradition.

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