Learn Italian in Tropea, the Pearl of Calabria

If you like dramatic scenery, enjoy swimming and looking at beautiful architecture, Tropea is a lovely base for studying Italian. The large tourist population means that the local residents are used to welcoming and helping international visitors with their Italian.

Things to do in Tropea

Tropea is an intimate and friendly town and most of the locals watch the sunset from the Corso Vittorio Emmanuale, a street that meanders through town and encourages you to stop and have a cup of coffee or a cold drink at one of the many tiny cafés along the way. This is the best place to join in ‘la passeggiata’ - a long, slow walk for which Italians normally dress in their best outfits. There are always benches on a passeggiata, where older people like to sit and watch others pass by, while teenagers move much faster and young families show off their new babies. It’s an Italian tradition and on Corso Vittorio Emmanuale the passeggiata ends with a set of railings overlooking the sea, after which people walk slowly back home, often stopping for a glass of wine on the way.

Santa Maria dell’Isola is an ancient monastery that was recently renovated. Long ago it was on a tiny island in the bay, but over many centuries the bay has silted up to join the monastery to the mainland and create a wonderful semi-circle beach, which is very popular in summer.

The Duomo (Tropea cathedral) has Norman architecture and contains a number of works of art that are worth seeing.

A day trip to the Aeolian Islands is absolutely essential while you’re studying Italian in Tropea. If you want to see the eruptions at Stromboli, an active volcano, it’s best to take the afternoon boat so you can see the night time sparks fly upwards like fireworks.

Tips and ideas for students of Italian in Tropea

Tropea is on a rocky coastline, not a flat one, so it has many steep zigzag paths and flights of steps to get from the town to the beach. Allow enough time to get around town as the uphill journey takes a bit longer than the downhill one!

Tropea has its own little scenic railway line that follows the coast around Capo Vaticano and then joins up with the main train line again. There’s a good reason for this - Tropea is famous for its beaches and while some charge a fee to enter - for which you get to use a sun-bed and a parasol - others are free to visit. A trip along the coast by train will show you dramatic scenery and lots of little coves to explore. Scilla, to the south, has a big castle and is renowned for its fishing port and fish restaurants, while Pizzo, to the north, is famous for its chocolate truffle ice cream.

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