When most people think about a trip to Italy, they picture the canals of Venice, the Duomo in Florence, the ruins in Rome or the breathtaking cliffs of the Amalfi Coast. But those who dare to venture even further south are in for an amazing treat if they are wise enough to add the charming little town of Tropea to their list!
Located in Italy’s Calabria region, in the province of Vibo Valentina, the seaside town of Tropea is located on a reef in the gulf of St. Euphemia and offers dramatic views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Claiming its rightful place on the coastline known as the Coast of the Gods, the Beautiful Coast (or Costa Bella), the town is famous for its glistening white sand beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters, which attracts many tourists during the summer months.
After you’ve had your fill of the sun, grab yourself a refreshing lemon granita and climb the stairs to explore the town’s charming historic center, which sits majestically above the coastline overlooking the sea below. Stroll along the Corso Vittorio Emmanuale, the town’s main street, lined with several small shops and cafes. Enjoy an afternoon cafe and people watch for a bit. At the end of the road, it looks like there is a dead end, but keep going and peer over the railings for stunning views of the sea below.
If your legs are up for another set of stairs, go explore Santa Maria dell’Isola, a monastery at the top of the rocky little island you can see from the town above. The only way up is a set of winding stairs built into the stone, so be prepared to climb. The monastery’s architecture is large and impressive and the building is surrounded by beautiful gardens and even more stunning views.
Tropea is also famous for its cipolla rossa, a red onion with a mild, sweet flavour. In fact, these onions are so famous that cipolla di Tropea (or Tropea’s onion) has become synonymous throughout Italy for all red onions. Local delicatessens use it to prepare red onion marmalade or a spicy tapenade made with hot peppers and nduja, the local spicy salami. Both are fabulous spread on freshly baked bread. If you’re feeling especially daring, stop in at Gelati Tonino, a gelateria located right on Corso Vittorio Emmanuale, for a red onion gelato. It sounds strange, but it’s surprisingly delicious – and a great way to end your visit to this charming seaside town.
Did you know? The onion even has its own festival which takes place every year in August.
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This blog post is a part of #weekendwanderlust: