Tropea: A Best Kept Italian Secret

by Connie

When I first arrived in Tropea, I was under the impression that the little city was very similar to the narrow, cobble stone streets I had walked in Orvieto and San Ginangmo. My family members, however, were making Tropea to be this amazing, enchanted location that most tourists do not have the opportunity to visit. I was excited specifically for this reason, as I had wanted to see more Italian locals and get a feel for what life was like outside of travelling as a tourist.

When I first arrived…

When we arrived I noticed a variety of shops. The shops had very similar items for purchase that I had seen throughout my tour in Northern Italy and so I was not all to interested in browsing. I was however, on the hunt, for a suitcase as I had now purchased items throughout my vacation and needed the extra space. After searching for a while, we set o
ur eyes on a Gelato shop and as you may have read previously, I am kind of a Gelato connoisseur so of course we stopped! As I ate my Gelato, I was entertained by my Zia who has now almost been wearing her ice cream from the glorious sunshine!

We walked a bit further and the smell of pizza was so tantalizing, I was unable to continue without stopping for a bite. In Tropea, the have these sweet onions, purple in colour and very sweet. The taste of these onions is not strong or overwhelming like white onions, but add a rather sweet, natural, additive to the taste of food. I wish I could have it on pizza more often. The onion has become so well known from being cultivated in Tropea that it bares the name of the location and can be found on souvenirs.

The wonders of Tropea

My relatives were becoming more anxious with excitement. They began telling me that I has not yet witnessed the wonders of Tropea yet and that I should expect more. As we continued our leisurely walk, the shops were beginning to close. It was “siesta” time and shop owners were retreating to their own homes for dinner.

At this point, we came out to a look out where I was caught off guard. The sight was beautiful. It was the ocean and I could see a winding road below us that seemed to descend for miles. I had not realized how high in elevation we were. After a photo or two, my relatives then increased my curiosity as they said there was another look out to view.

We walked on. At this point, I was ready for the beach. All day my cousins had told me about this beautiful beach and how it was unlike anything I have seen before and they we’re right. In what appeared to be a little walk way, approximately 30 feet wide, was a gated fence. I mean, if you were walking and you happened to blink, you would miss it. We walked up to it and below was the most magnificent site of blue ocean water and happy beach goers. The gated fence was about waist high and overlooked the beautiful, tranquil waters of Tropea. Had I not first been given the tour of Tropea, I do not think I would have appreciated this amazing view.

The beach and church…  

On the gated fence were a series of padlocks, closed, without any keys to be found. When I asked my Zia why these locks were here, her response was “la amour!” “Love?” I was confused. What did these locks have to do with love? Apparently, young lovers who visit this area, will leave a lock to show their love for one another, to be bound together, forever in Tropea. If only,  I think it is the equivalent to our vandalism “Bob, was here!” but, so much more romantic!

At this point, I was ready to “beach it!” So I excitedly said to my aunt, “how do we get down?” We had to walk back through town to our vehicle and, you guessed it, drive down the winding road.

As we got into the water, I immediately noticed the towering hill to my left that housed a church at it’s peak. I asked my Zio to take me to the church.

Ironically enough, you could not climb the hill without clothing. Odd spot for a church, on a beach, but when in ROME!

As we walked to the top, I sensed a feeling of calm and peace that I had only experienced in the church in Pisa. The church was beautiful. White walls. Elegant statues of both Mother Mary, Joseph, holding baby Jesus. I felt a bit out of place, with my wet hair leaking all over the place, my sandals, swishing water onto the pristine tiles.

We were not the only one’s in the church with this appearance but after a short prayer, and a dip of my hand in the holy water, I was out on the terrance over looking the beach area once again.

The view was picturesque. I can only describe it as magnificent.

The beach-goers below appeared to be very small and insignificant in comparison to the vast expanse that was before me. I remember descending the hill with my Zio and thinking how blessed I had been to have visited this Southern Italian city that, I would be lying if I didn’t say a few tears came to my eyes.

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