Tropea - A city of many facets

Culinary delights, a rich cultural and artistic tapestry, and a breathtaking natural setting make Tropea an irresistible destination, even in winter when the city plays host to a festive Christmas market.

This charming town hailed as the most beautiful village in Italy, evokes the emotions of an extraordinary past that has etched its mark on the stunning monuments scattered throughout. The churches, convents, and palaces showcase a remarkable diversity of architectural styles, reflecting the rich tapestry of a place shaped by a fusion of various peoples and cultures. Adorned with coats of arms, good luck masks, and quaint votive shrines, the homes tell of Tropea’s storied past. Meanwhile, the impressive architectural portals captivate with granite blocks, cushioned and diamond-point rustication, and bas-reliefs featuring shells, fruits, and curl motifs.

The breathtaking views offer glimpses of beaches, some sandy and others rocky, providing the perfect backdrop for basking in the sun and enjoying the sea breeze. The picturesque setting of buildings nestled in the rocks adorned with flowering caper plants, along the magnificent cliffs punctuated by the greenery of the Mediterranean scrub, reveals the many facets of a city waiting to be explored.

Isola Rock, home to the Sanctuary of Santa Maria and its spectacular agave flowers, is particularly captivating, especially as the sun sets behind Stromboli, casting a warm red glow over the Aeolian Archipelago. For those seeking thrills, viewing the city from the sea, nestled on the majestic cliff resembling an ancient fortress, is an adventure in itself.

Wandering through the charming vinecovered alleys of the city center, visitors can indulge in delightful dishes served at local restaurants. From strictly traditional to inventive variations, the cuisine reflects the expertise of skilled chefs interpreting Tropea’s culinary heritage. The aroma of dishes like U Testu and A Pasta Ammendula baked in the city's traditional wood-fired ovens linger in the warm southern air alongside the enticing scents of sautéed onions and roasted peppers wafting from the balconies. The abundant variety of fish from the sea, including U Surici with its pink skin and delicate white flesh, is a constant on Tropea’s tables. And, of course, the red onion of Tropea reigns supreme, infusing every dish with its unique and incomparable flavor.

“With its stunning landscapes and rich history, Tropea has risen to the top of many people’s must-visit list”

Tropea’s cultural tapestry is woven with religious ceremonies, such as the sea procession of the Madonna dell’Isola and that of the city’s patron saint, the Madonna di Romania. As a city of folklore, Tropea’s oldest popular festival, I Tri da Cruci, commemorates the Tropeans’ victory over the Saracens. The spectacular U Camiu, a camel made of cane, dances to the beat of drums while shooting fireworks, adding a touch of magic to the celebrations.

Tropea has given birth to notable personalities, including the philosopher Pasquale Galluppi, early pioneers of rhinoplasty Pietro and Paolo Vianeo, and more recently, the Blessed Father Mottola, the painter Albino Lorenzo, actor Raf Vallone, and Lydia Serra Toraldo, one of Italy’s first female mayors. The city’s diverse cultural roots come to life in a myriad of events throughout the year, from the Christmas Village with its markets and artistic lights to classical music concerts and modern art exhibitions.

Tropea’s commitment to cleanliness, order, and continual renewal is complemented by a love for green spaces and flowers, tended to by a dedicated group of volunteers. As part of the Fioriti Municipalities network, the city is a genuine Mediterranean garden, symbolizing a profound ecological and civic consciousness and a strong sense of community. Visiting in Tropea is an exhilarating experience for countless reasons, best understood by immersing oneself in its unique charm. But be warned, many who came for a simple vacation have found it hard to leave.

Images and article by Giovanni Macrì, Mayor of Tropea