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Holidays to Tropea

Tropea is a seaside resort with impressive scenery in the region of Calabria, in the south of Italy. This stretch of coastline on the Tyrrhenian Sea is called the Costa degli Dei, the 'Coast of the Gods', and it is hugely admired by those in the know as one of Italy's finest summer holiday destinations. The coastline curves outwards in a large hilly bulge, boasting dramatic cliffs, sunny beaches, and a string of little resorts and campsites. Tropea is the busiest and most attractive of these seaside towns; with a historic centre perched on cliffs above the sea. Tropea is large enough and interesting enough to serve as a base for a longer holiday, and the local railway line and boat trips allow a certain amount of exploration without the need to drive. Although it is not particularly well-known to English-speaking travellers, Tropea is popular with Italians and with sun-seeking Germans, many of whom drive south in camper vans or head for the area's campsites. Italians mostly holiday in July and August; in May, June and September Tropea is both cheaper and less crowded while the weather should still be warm and sunny. Tropea's principal social activity is a traditional one with a twist. Any time of the day or evening you'll see holidaymakers and locals taking a passeggiata down Corso Vittorio Emanuele, strolling along and people-watching, before reaching the the street's sudden end, where a set of metal railings offer a dramatic view over the beach and sea. The next stage in the ritual is to lean out, admire the view, chat a little, then wander back up the road to sit with a drink or to perform another circuit.

Tropea tourist information

Tropea has that lovely timeless, faded feel that is a characteristic of sleepy southern Italian seaside towns. There aren't many specific tourist attractions, but the town is a maze of pretty lanes and palazzi - some of which are crumbling away - and little hidden squares where you'll usually find restaurant tables. The heart of town is up on the headland and if you explore the streets you'll find traces of the old town wall and fortifications which defended the landward side. Nowadays the town spreads out further, and after you've wandered among the lanes and enjoyed refreshments in the shade of a cafe parasol, you will want to descend to the sea, both to enjoy the beach and to obtain the best views of Tropea's citadel on its rock. For some insight into Tropea's history, and suggested itineraries for your rambles, you can buy a guidebook from a number of shops on the main street. There is a tourist information office in the central square, Piazza Ercole, and there are a few agencies which book boat trips and excursions and can provide further advice to tourists. The most famous views of Tropea are of the large rock outcrop jutting into the sea opposite the centre of Tropea. This was once an island and the attractive monastery on the summit, Santa Maria dell'Isola, sits in gardens above the sea (closed for restoration at the time of writing). Tropea may be a simple small town dominated by tourism nowadays, but it has enjoyed significant prosperity throughout the centuries, evidenced by the many churches, grand palaces and majestic portals throughout the town centre. Tropea's Norman cathedral, the Duomo, is one of the most interesting buildings in town (though unfortunately closed during our visit). The patron saint of the town is the Madonna of Romania - celebrated as the town's protectress through earthquakes and wars. An icon bearing an image of this venerated Madonna is carried through town in a procession during religious festivals. Tropea has a little museum, the Museo Diocesano, in the Bishop's Palace, the Palazzo Vescovile, by the Duomo. It contains mostly religous art including painted wooden statues and silver reliquaries (open April - October; hours are limited).

Tropea beaches

It is Tropea's position high on the cliffs which makes the town so dramatic. It does come with an obvious drawback, though: to walk from the town centre to the sea involves descending flights of steps or a zig-zag road. There are beaches on either side of the town where you can choose from fee-charging beach establishments with sunbeds and parasols, or stretches of free beach where you can spread your own towel. The water is invitingly clear, though the beach does shelve quite steeply into the water. There are plenty of other beaches along the coast and for a slightly different beach experience you can walk along past the town's smart marina to another beach just beyond. 

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