As you may have heard, the Italian riviera’s golden child Cinque Terre will soon be limiting its number of visitors in an effort to preserve and safeguard the UNESCO World Heritage Site for future generations. It makes sense too – last year alone, 2.5 million people walked those hallowed steps along the famous coastline. So to curb these numbers, Italian officials have instituted a ticketing system which potential visitors will need to purchase in advance. As sad as it seems, it’s a matter of sheer survival.
But if buying tickets or swanning your way through hoards of crowds just doesn’t seem worth it for you, there is a solution. There’s another picturesque cliffside village a little further south that’ll have you saying ‘Cinque Terre… Schminkqua Terre‘ in no time.
Welcome to Tropea, a sea side village located in the Calabria region of southern Italy, right near the tip of the ‘boot’. Like its sister to the north, Tropea also offers visitors stunning coastal beauty, picturesque clifftop houses and a healthy dose of classic Italian culture and history.
The streets are narrow, there’s monasteries and cathedrals to explore and there are more restaurants and shops than you can poke a stick at. The town is not only known for its delectable Italian dishes; it’s also known for its onions, funnily enough. Tropea red onions are so famous that the phrase cipolla di Tropea is synonymous for all red onions across Italy. (There’s even a gelato shop in town that makes red onion ice cream!)
Tropea has a pretty rich history that dates back to ancient Greek and Roman times. The town’s name, Tropea, actually comes from the greek word tropheum, which means trophy, as the ancient Greeks believed Hercules found the city as a reward for his many labours.
The town is fortified up in the hills, jutting out over the turquoise waters of the coast. Tropea’s coast is so famous that it’s actually spawned two nicknames – The Coast of The Gods (a nod to its historical roots), and The Beautiful Coast, or Costa Bella (which is pretty self-explanatory).
From the orange and yellow houses that sit atop the cliffs, there are long concrete staircases that lead down to the powder white sand beaches that fade into perfect turquoise water. Here, you can spend your days beneath a colourful beach umbrella and take it all in. Bliss.