Relax on the beach
The beaches of Tropea are the stars of the show and there are plenty to choose from. One of the most beautiful is Rotonda, with its translucent shallow waters, soft sands and striking backdrop of tree-clad cliffs. Low-key watersports are available, so you can rent a pedal boat or canoe or just enjoy the bathing opportunities. For diving and snorkelling, ‘A Linguata Beach is the place to be, while those in search of natural beauty may wish to explore L’Occhiale, a small cove where you’ll find the Blue Grotto, one of the resort’s most popular attractions. For tranquillity, the sliver of sands at Cannone Beach offers a taste of seclusion, nested between the rocks of San Leonardo and the marina.
Tropea’s most famous landmark is the dramatically perched Santa Maria dell’ Isola, a Benedictine church which is believed to date back to the 4th century AD. It was renovated after an earthquake in 1905 but retained parts of the original structure. Ascend the winding rock-carved steps to its clifftop promontory and you’ll be graced with dramatic views and a pleasant garden to enjoy a spot of quiet contemplation.
Those interested in the history of this little town can head to the Museo Diocesano, which contains a small but vibrant collection of religious art, wooden statues and silver antiquities. It opens from April through to October, at selected times, and is worth a peek.
One of the town’s most interesting buildings is the Duomo, an imposing Normal Cathedral. The beautifully restored Romanesque structure, arched stone and intricate rose window add interest to it’s simple yet imposing interiors.
Flavours of Calabria
Restaurants in Tropea are affordable and cosy, offering traditional Italian dishes such as pizza and pasta, with a few traditional Calabrian specialities. The local seafood is a must and fresh sardines are a delicious staple. The town’s famed sweet red onions can be found in many of the dishes. ‘Nduja, a spreadable spicy sausage, which can be served on bread or pasta, is a favourite Calabrian delicacy, not to be missed.
Haggling in markets is generally acceptable in southern Italy, but not in shops.
Calabria is famous for its liquorice, considered among the best in the world.
A day trip to the Aeolian Islands is a popular excursion from Tropea.