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What the most beautiful Italian city looks like, which most tourists have never heard of. Photo

Anna BoklajukNews
A helicopter view of Tropea beach, a tourist resort in the province of Vibo Valencia in Calabria

Tropea is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, which few tourists know about. Locals call it the "pearl of Calabria".

Its relative remoteness, and the fact that it is located almost on the toe of Italy's "boot", has kept the city off the beaten tourist trails. But in 2021, the city received the coveted crown of Italy – Borgo dei Borghi, writes The Telegraph.

What the most beautiful Italian city looks like, which most tourists have never heard of. Photo

One of the city's main attractions is the sixth-century Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria dell'Isola, which has been rebuilt several times due to earthquakes. It is located on top of a rocky outflow, as the culmination for Tropea tourism, but on clear days it is the ever-smoky volcanic Aeolian island of Stromboli.

What the most beautiful Italian city looks like, which most tourists have never heard of. Photo

The best season to visit Tropea is summer. It is a place defined in every sense by the sea that surrounds it. When viewed from a distance (best by boat), the majestic stone residences in pink and apricot hues rise from the 70-meter-high granite cliffs, casting shadows on the light blue water.

This rugged coastline is known as the Costa degli Dei (Coast of the Gods), and Tropea comes from the Greek word tropaia, meaning trophies, or tropis, meaning the hull of a ship.

According to mythology, Hercules, having completed his 12 feats, came from the sea to found a city, which he named the Forum of Hercules. Locals like to joke that he was their first tourist. The first traces of human settlement here date back to the Neolithic period, and in the third century BC, the Romans wrested the Tropea from the Greeks, who had colonized Calabria in the eighth and seventh centuries BC.

What the most beautiful Italian city looks like, which most tourists have never heard of. Photo

The city gained its autonomy from the Spanish when residents banded together to buy it in 1615. Wander through the oldest quarter of Tropea, starting with the impressive Norman cathedral built in the late 11th century, and stop by to see two unexploded bombs that could have destroyed the city during World War II.

The best snorkeling spots in all of Italy are in the crystal waters beneath the cliffs of Capo Vaticano, seven kilometers along the coast. Tropea's nautical sports can take you there, as well as to caves surrounded by the sea and soft sandy coves that can only be reached by boat.

What the most beautiful Italian city looks like, which most tourists have never heard of. Photo

On the top of the cliff is the small and slightly eccentric Museum of the Sea, located in a corner of the Santa Chiara Monastery. The museum's treasures include the world's most complete skeleton of a Metaxytherium (an extinct genus of dugongs) and the second-oldest shark tooth on the planet.

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