Tropea is on the west coast of the Calabrian peninsula. This is one of Italy’s most beloved seaside towns, so you’ll find a lot of tourists here in the summer months. But don’t let the crowds put you off - the area’s popularity means that you’ll find a broad choice of good restaurants along with a great atmosphere in the town during the evenings.
With a population of 8,000, Tropea is situated 70 metres above sea level. The coastal area around the town is characterized by numerous bays and inlets, and small beautiful sandy beaches separated by cliffs. The water here is crystal clear and reflects the colours of the sky so it can appear in all shades of blue and Emerald green. It is therefore a very popular place for divers to come and enjoy the world under the sea in southern Italy. As well as enjoying the lovely sandy beach, there is also a fine selection of restaurants and piazzas with lovely atmospheres. It’s not clear who founded the town or where it got its name. What is known, however, is that it was founded approximately 500 years before Rome and was originally called Portercole. This name goes back to the legend of Hercules who founded the town when he came to Calabria to free the area from giants!
After the 2nd World War, the residents started to invest in tourism which has left its mark on the city. Other important activities include agriculture (the Tropean red onion is well known throughout Italy). Another product that they are proud to produce in mass is their very hot red chilly. If you want to know how strong it is, then you should try a few drops of the red chilli sauce which is called La Bomba on a plate of pasta, or perhaps try the 'Nduja' a type of sausage with chilli.
If you like atmospheric medieval towns, Tropea is a dream to walk around. The cathedral is just one of the beautiful attractions that characterizes the city centre. You can find many narrow streets with palaces dating from the 1700's - 1800's and the charming main street that ends in a high spot overlooking the beautiful peninsula. When the weather is good, you can see all the way to the volcanic Island of Stromboli on the horizon.
The city's many local festivities are held mostly in the spring and the summer up until September.
- There is a procession through the city at sunset on Good Friday that symbolizes the crucifixion of Jesus.
- May 3rd features another religious celebration called I tri da Croci. Once there was a small temple on Via Umbero I with three crosses. After much revelry, the evening ends with a firework display along with a dancing figure dressed as a camel.
- During June there is a literary festival which attracts writers from all over Italy. A prize is awarded by the mayors from across Calabria.
- During July there is a culinary festival featuring dishes made from Mediterranean fish and Tropean red onions.
- In August the Tropea Film Festival is held at the port where Raf Vallone's prize is awarded. The famous actor came from Tropea and returned many times during his life.
- In September you can rejoice in the celebrations of the famous Tropea Blues Festival held in the historic city centre. Blues music is enjoyed by bands from around the world.