tropea : calabria : italy

tropea : calabria : italy

On our travels in Italy last year, we were so lucky to find some real off-the-beaten-track places. We’d hired a car and had no real plan, apart from having a couple of weeks to get from Rome to Ortigia in Sicily on the first part of the trip. So, with trusty road map – I like paper maps, not satnav – off we set after a stay in Frascati. The idea was to meander down the west coast, stopping off wherever took our fancy. If the truth be told, I wasn’t really enamoured by this route. Industrial in lots of place, down-at-heel in others and for long stretches, the really sad sight of prostitutes hanging around, clearly wishing they were somewhere else. It’s not the prettiest of routes which really disappointed me, as I thought that the whole journey would be sort of Amalfi coast-like. However, we did drive right through Naples on a Friday afternoon – and lived to tell the tale…

So, when we did find places we loved, we really loved them. Stand-out stays were in Sperlonga and Castellabate and then probably our favourite, Tropea. Apart from the first night, spent in the utterly appalling Hotel Valemare (still shudder about this place, but if you scroll down to my review on Trip Advisor you’ll get the picture), Tropea absolutely lived up to its reputation as the “jewel in the Calabrian crown”.

And, if you’re a fan of red onions – cipolle di tropea – this is the place for you. These Cipolle Rosse di Tropea are often dubbed “Calabria’s red gold” and are said to have more health benefits than regular onions – and are often eaten raw, because of their amazing sweetness. They can be seen strung outside shops, adorning doorways and piled high on market stalls and produce trucks by the side of the road. And, in every restaurant, you can be absolutely sure that the Tropea red onions will be in abundance…