Tropea and Capo Vaticano
Symbol of tourism in Calabria, Tropea and Capo Vaticano are located along the so-called “Coast of the Gods”, the central-southern Tyrrhenian coast of Calabria, in the province of Vibo Valentia, on the slopes of Mount Poro.
Ancient fortress-town rich in a millenary history, the town of Tropea and the nearby resort of Capo Vaticano in Ricadi attract today tourists mainly for the beautiful sea, with fantastic beaches that alternate with charming cliffs. It is in fact one of the most beautiful coastlines of the region, rich in flourishing gardens and ancient olive groves, featured by green hills rich in spring waters, where survives a deep-rooted farming traditions and is cultivated the red onion of Tropea, famous throughout the world for its sweetness, renowned IGT product (Typical Geographical Indication).
The charming historic centre of Tropea, built on a compact sandstone block perpendicular to the coast, about 60 m above sea level, has maintained the urban layout of the Middle Ages and retains many ancient buildings dating back to XVII-XVIII centuries. Passing through the centre on foot is an endless discovery: narrow alleys with majestic baroque portals, unexpected squares, churches, fountains, courtyards, palaces with coats of arms and ornate balconies. But the biggest surprise are the viewpoints overlooking the sea, the so-called “affaccio”, real balconies opened amongst the dense buildings with breathtaking views of the coast below!
Our walk in the Old Town starts from Largo S. Michele and, through Corso Vittorio Emanuele III, leads us to Piazza Ercole (i.e. Hercules Square), the heart of the city; from here, along via Roma, we head to the Cathedral of Norman style, dated between the late twelfth and early thirteenth century, which preserves the beautiful icon of “Our Lady of Romania”, coming from the Byzantine East. After the visit of the Cathedral, between narrow alleys and flower-filled courtyards, we reach the viewpoints of Largo Migliarese first and of Largo Villetta after, that offer unexpected splendid panoramas of the beach below and of the Aeolian Islands.
About 7 km south of Tropea, in the municipality of Ricadi, there’s Capo Vaticano, the westernmost promontory of Mount Poro, sloping down to the sea with cliffs and terraces and characterized, in some places, by vertiginous walls overlooking the sea. The high rocky walls create an infinite series of caves, beaches reachable only by sea, granite and limestone cliffs, all surrounded by lush Mediterranean vegetation, which has made this enchanted place an naturalistic oasis, important stopover point and nesting area for many species of birds.
On the promontory there’s a lighthouse, near which was scored a short footpath, steeply over the sea, nestled among the prickly pears, which allows you to enjoy breathtaking scenery with views over the coast and the Aeolian Islands. After completing the trail and turning back, you can go down to the lookout, the terrace from which you can admire one of the most famous beaches of the Calabrian coast.