At this time of year many towns and cities are kicking off their festival season and the region of Calabria in southern Italy is no different. Tropea, a small Calabrian town familiar with many Italians due to its impressive beaches and turquoise coastline has some fantastic festival offerings.
Tre da cruci
The festival of the Three Crosses takes place on the 3rd of May of each year, marking the crosses which had been placed in the church of the souls in purgatory after the original holy site collapsed. The festival involves many elements which celebrate different events in the region’s history, culminating with a fireworks display marking the expulsion of the Saracens who occupied the region as well as a re-enactment of the battle of Lepanto, which took place in 1571 involving many Calabrian sailors.
Tropea Blues Festival
The Tropea Blues festival now over a decade old takes place in September each year. A series of live concerts take place in the town, with the Piazza Ercole taking a starring role. It really is a unique experience listening to live blues with the backdrop of this pretty Calabrian town.
La Sagra della Cipola Rossa
The red onions synonymous with the area are thought to have been introduced to this a part of Calabria by the Phoenicians or Greeks. Tropea red onions feature in many local dishes and even have a festival held in their honour each year on the 13th August. Games such as the ‘red onion race’ take place and dishes are served in the town’s pretty piazzas, with a firework display bringing the festival to a close.
The Coast of the Gods…La Costa Degli Dei
We’d like to share our top tips and must-see sites when visiting Tropea.
- Known as the coast of the gods, Tropea is popular with many holidaying Italians between July and August. We recommend visiting between the months of April and May, meaning you avoid the crowds whilst still taking advantage of the pleasant weather.
- Take a walk to Tropea’s Norman cathedral dating back to the 12th Century, and discover Calabria’s little-known Norman past.
- Foodie fans will be spoilt for choice. There are many excellent restaurants in the town but our most memorable foodie experience was sampling the local Tropea red onion ice cream! Give it a try when visiting one of the town’s gelateria.
- Tropea is served by a train station located close to the town centre. With good links to many other towns in the region as well as the city of Naples, it’s an affordable stress-free way to enjoy the region.
- Santa Maria dell’Isola is a pretty monastery which appears to be an Island of its own jutting out to sea. Upon vising it becomes clear that the Monastery is connected to the mainland and has pretty gardens and fantastic views out to sea.
- Italian Special Occasions DMC recommend you make the most of Tropea’s coastal connections. Why not take a boat trip to the Aeolian Islands? Imagine an excursion to the volcanic island of Stromboli!
- The town has many cobbled winding streets and hidden piazzas. One of our favourite things to do is get lost! That’s right, we love to lose ourselves in the old town and stumble across the perfect café to take a sip of latte di mandorla –a refreshing almond drink enjoyed by locals.
- For those who want to take a back seat, Tropea and it’s neighbouring towns have many beautiful beaches and crystal blue waters, the perfect place for a quick dip!
If you’d like to take a closer look into exploring Calabria get in touch with Italian Special Occasions DMC. This region has a rich cultural and historical heritage. You might be thinking about a family celebration somewhere special, an excursion on the open seas, or a gastronomic tour taking in the local produce of the area…contact Italian Special Occasions DMC for your free customized quote and we’ll take care of the details!
Beautiful Tropea, image by Mac9 (own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5]
“Harbour of Tropea” by Norbert Nagel – Own work. [CC BY-SA 3.0]
Tropea’s Red Onion, photo by Bristakya
Tropea’s center, photo by Manfred Morgner
By Norbert Nagel (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0]