ITINERARIES: DISCOVERING THE COAST OF THE GODS
Overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea along what is known as the Coast of the Gods, Tropea is one of the most enchanting places in Calabria. Not only is its crystal clear sea the real reason for a visit, but also the culture, art, and popular traditions, not to mention the warm hospitality that this magnificent Mediterranean town can offer...
Calabria is a land loved by the sun and embraced by two seas that draw its contours in the Mediterranean, a mythical and sensational landscape, worthy of being explored and experienced: the perfect combination of mountains and sea, hills and plains, customs and traditions, flavours and colours. A land rich in history and art, Calabria offers the chance to immerse yourself in its glorious past and rediscover the different cultures that have followed one another, from the classical Greeks and Romans to the Byzantines, Normans, Angevins and Aragonese, who have influenced the regional characteristics, defining it as unique. In fact, there are numerous places scattered throughout the territory that narrate the long history of the Calabrian peninsula. Among these, it is worth mentioning the National Museum of Magna Graecia in Reggio Calabria, where the famous Riace Bronzes are kept, the archaeological sites of Crotone and Capo Colonna or the Castella near Isola di Capo Rizzuto. But Calabria is also a land of villages of magical beauty and it doesn't matter if you love the sea or the mountains, because here you will find both. Along what is called the Coast of the Gods is set a beautiful pearl known throughout the world for its many legends and its ancient history, his name is Tropea. This beautiful seaside resort in the province of Vibo Valentia stands on a promontory between the Gulfs of Gioia and Sant'Eufemia, where according to legend, Hercules founded the city during his travels in search of the Golden Fleece or arrived there specifically to free it from the invasion of giants. Although Tropea is a purely seaside destination with a strong tourist appeal, you cannot remain indifferent to the beauty of the old town. This seaside village develops through a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys which open onto beautiful small squares overlooking the sea. In the old town there are many noble palaces, many of them overlooking the sea. Among these, it is worth mentioning Palazzo Toraldo, which jealously guards a rich library with ancient manuscripts. Next is Piazza Ercole, dedicated to the legendary hero; this is where Tropea's nightlife develops, since there are several clubs that stay open until late at night. Not to be missed in the list of things to visit in Tropea are the famous "Affacci" (overlooks), which are situated in the narrow streets of the old town and offer breathtaking views. The most fascinating one is certainly the Affaccio del Cannone (Overlook of the Cannon), from which it is possible to contemplate the symbol of the city: the church of Santa Maria dell'Isola. This religious building, built in the early Middle Ages, can be reached through a steep staircase carved out of the rock of the islet and around the church you can admire a beautiful garden full of Mediterranean plants, with a view of the sea that offers a suggestive panorama of the entire coast. In the background you can see the Aeolian Islands with Stromboli and Vulcano together with Sicily and Etna. The beaches below the cliff are white and contrast in a magical way with a crystal clear sea, with shades of colors ranging from turquoise to deep blue, a true paradise of pure relaxation. And after a day spent on the beach, a walk along Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, from where you can breathe the cheerful atmosphere of the streets of Tropea, is a must. Sitting comfortably at one of the many tables in the bars along the way, you can enjoy a good aperitif or taste the famous Pizzo Calabro truffle. All this while the sun's rays, at sunset, filter through the overlooks of the alleys, flooding the buildings with orange. Famous for being the beating heart of shopping, craftsmanship and nightlife, along this picturesque Corso you will find local craft shops, luxury boutiques, jewellers, bars and restaurants offering traditional and fashionable specialities. During your stay in Tropea you will be able to delight your palate with the strong flavours and typical local dishes, starting with the sweeter-flavoured red onion from Tropea, which is used not only to prepare a risotto or salad but also jam! Another much-loved product of the area is 'Nduja, a sausage which has become the symbol of this land together with chilli pepper. It originates from the town of Spilinga, just a few kilometres from Tropea. This tasty sausage is generally eaten spread on bread but also as a condiment on pasta, pizza and other typical products. Tropea, however, is not only fragrant onions, crystal clear sea and a perfect set for holiday photos, but also one of the candidates to become the Italian Capital of Culture 2022. That's why it should be part of every tour dedicated to the discovery of Italian wonders.