Italy // Basilicata and Calabria //


Southwest of Pizzo, TROPEA can claim to be the prettiest town on the whole of the southern Tyrrhenian coast, built right on the edge of steep cliffs, towering high over its beach. It is also (after Maratea in Basilicata) the most fashionable, with a seaside charm missing from many of the other Calabrian resorts, though the charm can wear pretty thin in the face of the tourist influx during the summer months.

There are numerous beaches around the town, all within walking distance of the centre, and the buildings have character without being twee – see particularly the lovely Norman cathedral at the bottom of Via Roma, whose interior harbours a couple of unexploded American bombs from the last war (one accompanied by a grateful prayer to the Madonna), a Renaissance ciborium and a statue of the Madonna and Child from the same period. The views from the upper town over the sea and the church of Santa Maria dell’Isola on its rock (closed for restoration) are superb, and on a clear day you can see the cone of Stromboli, and sometimes other Aeolian islands looming on the horizon.

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