Beaches with white sand and crystal clear waters: it seems like a postcard description, but in reality we are in Tropea, province of Vibo Valentia. On the coast called Costa degli Dei, for its beauty and refinement, but also for the enormous amount of mythology that it contains, Tropea triumphs on every front, deserving in all respects the name of Pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Just in 2021, in fact, Tropea was awarded the title “Borgo dei Borghi” by the club I Borghi più belli d’Italia. Its prominent position and the special conformity of the territory, with the promontory that houses the Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola, makes it a suggestive place to spend part of your trip.
The history of Tropea, between history and mythology
The story of Tropea is quite unique and fascinating. From the historical point of view, it is said that the city was discovered by Scipio the African in 209 B.C. on the way back to Rome after the conquest of Carthage. Scipione, grateful to the gods for having assisted him during the war, decides to call the city Trofeo and dedicate it to the gods. Hence the name Tropea.
However, being in the Coast of the Gods, Tropea also claims mythological origins for nothing obvious. The mythology sees in fact the Greek hero Hercules as the founder of the city of Tropea, which would have built the city during his journey with the Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece. These mythological origins, although probably not well founded, would perfectly explain the ancient name of the city: Portercole.
What to see and do in Tropea
But let’s get to the point. What can we see at Tropea? And what are the most interesting activities to do? Fortunately, here too we are spoilt for choice. Starting from the beautiful sea, which – for nature lovers – is a real corner of paradise in the Tyrrhenian Sea, the activities to do in Tropea are many.
If you love the sea, you will surely spend whole days discovering the white sand of the coast of Tropea. Alternatively, the old town offers breathtaking views and views of the sea from which you can enjoy a sunset without equal, where the whole sky turns orange and the sea becomes a real silver mirror.
For culture lovers, the Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola can be reached on foot via a staircase that starts directly from the beach (be careful, however, not to go in costume, it is still a sacred place!). While in the old town you will find the colorful and instagrammable literary scale.
From Tropea, then, you can visit in total autonomy the Costa degli Dei, reaching in a few kilometers places like Pizzo Calabro, famous for its ice cream truffle, Capo Vaticano and Scilla. In addition, you can book marine excursions to locations on the Coast of the Gods but also for a day visit to the Aeolian Islands.
What to eat in Tropea: the red onion
If we talk about Tropea, the first thing we think about are the typical red onions, sweet and fragrant, which bear the name of this city and are characterized by being used in a very versatile.
In Tropea it is in fact possible to taste them prepared in the most disparate ways: from the use in cold salads, to much more elaborate dishes, in which its taste remains unmistakable and goes perfectly with all the other ingredients.
The peculiarity of the red onion of Tropea lies in the amount of sand present in the soil of cultivation. This, together with the salinity given by the nearby sea, makes the taste of red onion much sweeter and more pleasant than other varieties, making it appreciated by adults and children.
Cover image: Vivere Calabria