Capo Vaticano
[Regions of Italy] [Back to Calabria]


Tropea
June and September are great months to visit Calabria, and a fine place to linger for a few days is the promontory that stretches from the Golfo di S. Eufemia to the Golfo di Gioia. Start out in Vibo Valentia, an ancient Calabrian city that has begrudgingly hosted Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Normans and Bourbons. Formerly known as Monteleone, Vibo is not a particularly beautiful city, but its castle, a fine example of Angevin military architecture, is perhaps the most interesting one to visit in Calabria. The 14th-century cloister in the church of the Rosary offers splendid respite from the traffic that torments every Calabrian city, and the church of San Michele, designed by Baldassare Peruzzi, is a gem worth seeking out. Marching back through the ages, you'll want to see the Byzantine temple of S. Ruba, the ruins of an old Roman baths, walls dating from the time when Vibo was called Hipponion, and the remains of a 6th-century Greek acropolis.

Book Lodgings Online in Tropea
   Arrival Date
    Departure Date


Before we strike out southward along the coast, let's take a quick detour north to Pizzo, where Napoleon's ill-fated brother-in-law Joachim Murat was imprisoned and shot in 1815. Not much remains of the infamous castle where he was held, but the town is picturesque, has a fine sandy beach and, for lovers of the excessive, there is the chiesetta di Piedigrotta, a sanctuary carved into a grotto, with lifesize praying figures.

From Pizzo, take the provincial road south toward Briatico and Tropea. Except in mid-summer, when it's is a maddening snarl of traffic, this seaside resort is a lovely little town that cascades down the hillside, a mass of red-tiled roofs culminating in a broad terrace that overlooks the crystal clear water 200 feet below. On the horizon is S. Maria dell'Isola, a lovely little 12th-century church set on an island-like promontory. There are still many 16th- and 17th-century family homes here, which look very romantic when illuminated at night.


B
etween Tropea and Nicotera, especially in the areas around Parghelia and Capo Vaticano, the road curves along high above a non-stop succession of beautiful beaches and interesting rocky coves, creating a coastline that many have likened to Big Sur. The water is usually extremely clear and, as the Italians say, pescoso (which means "full of fish," not "fishy"). Settle down somewhere, stay a few days, set out each morning with your masks and fins, pack a lunch of cheese, bread, fresh tomatoes, fruit and bottled water, and arm yourself with plenty of suntan oil. It's one of the best seaside vacations you'll have in Italy.
If you should happen to be feeling too sybaritic, take a side trip to see the weavers of Spilinga, or to Caroniti, a nice peasant village with immaculate streets and original buildings, perched in a spectacular setting overlooking the whole promontory.

Book Lodgings Online in Tropea
   Arrival Date
    Departure Date



[Regions of Italy] [Back to Calabria]