“The coastal area which ends at Capo Vaticano is rich in history and beauty. It could, with a bit of regret and nostalgia, be called Costabella”, the author Giuseppe Berto once wrote (Costabella = “beautiful coast”).
Calabria – a dream: Between the romantic little town of Pizzo in the north and Nicotera, situated on top of a rock, in the south, that’s where the medieval and picturesque town of Tropea is located – majestically above the sea. But in-between, you will also find the wild and romantic rocky coast of Southern Italy’s Capo Vaticano with its charming beach bays and gorgeous views of the coast and the Lipari Islands.
The old villages on and around the cape are rich in history, legend, folklore and tradition.
The best-known town on the cape is Tropea, famous for its crystal clear water and its white beaches. Tropea, once upon a time residence of the nobility, still shines today due to its numerous old palaces and churches, e.g. the Norman cathedral. The town with its narrow alleys, innumerable stores and its unique elegance was built directly on a cliff above the picturesque beach and is one of Italy’s pearls.
Further to the north lies the coastal town of Pizzo, impressive due to its medieval alleys and its monumental fort, which was built by Ferdinand of Aragon in 1486. It was here that Gioacchino Murat, cavalry general and former king of Naples, was shot in 1815.
Greeks from Locri founded Vibo Valentia – east of Tropea. Even today you can admire the ruins of the ancient temple site, once built for the worship of Proserpina; furthermore, old city walls or Villa Sicea, where Cicero visited. Above the town, built upon an old acropolis, the Swabian-Norman castle is to be found.
Besides many other places, Nicotera is also worth mentioning. The castle of the Ruffo, which was built in the 17th century on top of the acropolis, is still there today. The old town centre stems from the 18th century.
The legend of Donna Canfora, a beautiful and rich woman from Ricadi, came into being on the beach of Torre Ruffa – only a few kilometres south of Tropea. Dona Canfora, so the story goes, was taken prisoner by the Saracens. After bidding her friends farewell, she jumped from the Saracen ship into the sea and called out: “The women of this town prefer to die rather than lose their honour!” Then she disappeared into the waves. From this time on, the waters of the sea around Torre Ruffa have been as blue as the veil Donna Canfora had worn. When the waves break at the rocks, you can still hear her grief as she bids her country farewell...