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The old town of Tropea.
The old town of Tropea.
The train ride along the coast.
Lunching in Tropea.
Let's hit the beach.


Thursday, May 1, 2003
If you're after unspoilt beaches, the natural beauty of long-ignored medieval villages sprinkled along hilltops and an ancient history, look no further.

Calabria has a rugged, mountainous centre, clean beaches and an ancient history. There are some unattractive holiday villages along parts of the Ionian and Tyrrhenian coasts and some beaches have pebbles rather than sand, but you can also see natural beauty and long-ignored medieval villages sprinkled along the hilltops.

The region is undeniably poor and Mafia-controlled, but locals are trying to use the natural beauty of the area to make it a vacation destination.

The ruins of Crotone and Locri Epizefiri are reminders of their Greek history. After the Greeks came the Romans, followed by the Byzantines. Then came eastern Christian Basilian monks — monuments of their religious establishments are still to be seen.

The old town of Tropea hangs onto a cliffside facing a rock which eons ago was an island. The views of the sea and beaches are truly beautiful. On top of the rock is a medieval Benedictine sanctuary, Santa Maria dell'Isola. The cathedral is of Norman origin, but has been rebuilt many times over the years. Inside you will see Madonna di Romania, a superb example of 14th century painting.

The 14th century Casa Trampo and early 20th century Palazzo Cesareo in Vicolo Manco are palaces certainly worth visiting. The Cesareo has a beautiful balcony adorned with carvings.

Tropea has one of the best, unspoilt sandy beaches on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is sheltered, the water is clean and clear and the rock formations are fascinating. There are plenty of good places to eat or enjoy a coffee. The locally-grown red onions are reputed to keep their eaters healthy. Palmi to the south and Pizzo to the north are other seaside towns worth a visit.

south of Palmi is Reggio di Calabria, a rather weatherbeaten town, but the Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia contains a fine collection of artefacts from ancient Rhegion, which was an important Greek city on the site. Its life-size bronzes of Greek warriors which were found in the sea in 1972 date back to 460BC; one is thought to be by the Athenian sculptor Phidias.

On the eastern side of Calabria is the earthquake-damaged ramshackle town of Stilo, hanging onto the side of Monte Consolino. The five-domed Cattolica is a great attraction for lovers of Byzantine architecture. It was built in the 10th century by Basilian monks and the brick building with its terracotta roof is based on Greek architecture. Four marble columns divide the interior into nine quadrants and the capitals are placed at the base of the columns, indicating the triumph of Christianity over paganism. Its 11th-century frescoes were found and restored in 1927.


Italy’s southern-most mainland province.


Italiatour has a three night package to Calabria including return airfares starting at $2459 ex Perth and $2559 ex East Coast, Adelaide and Darwin, per person twin share.
Qantas flies three times a week to Rome with Alitalia connections to Calabria.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

Ph: 1300 767 123

Italian Government Tourist Office
Ph: 02 9262 1666
Fax: 02 9262 1677

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