#Insider Tip {Calabria} – A small church with a breathtaking view!

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Hi there, buongiorno a tutti!

As you maybe know, I am staying in Calabria since 2007 and since the first time I visited the city of Tropea I took thousands of photos of this little church on a small peninsula directly in front of the storic city center:
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Wie ihr sicher wisst, bin ich seit 2007 in Kalabrien und seitdem ich das erste Mal in Tropea war, habe ich sicher tausende Fotos von dieser kleinen Kirche auf einer Art Halbinsel direkt vor der Altstadt gemacht:

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It is called “Santa Maria dell’Isola” and it is not only one of my favorite spots for taking photos, but I think it is one of the most photographed subject in Calabria! Especially when the weather is good and you can see the vulcano Stromboli behind the church, it is just an amazing view!
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Diese kleine Wallfahrtskirche heißt “Santa Maria dell’Isola” und sie ist nicht nur eines meiner persönlichen Lieblingsmotive, sondern ich denke es ist eines der am meisten fotografierten Motive in ganz Kalabrien! Besonders schön ist der Anblick bei guter Sicht, wenn man im Hintergrund den Vulkan Stromboli sieht!

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Why I called this post “Insider Tipp” even if this is one of the most famous spots of the whole region?! Because my tip is not the view on the church from the city center but the inside of the church and the beautiful garden behind it! Since 2007 the small peninsula had been closed as there was the risk that it could crash because the sea is “working” on the soft sandstone and  there are a lot of grottos in it. Now finally the municipality found a solution and the totally restored church can be visited – after 7 years enoying only the view I finally could explore the church and the view “the other way around”!
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Warum dieser Post “Insider Tipp” heißt, wenn es sich um eine der bekanntesten Sehenswürdigkeiten der Region handelt?! Ganz einfach: Mein Tipp ist nicht (nur) der Blick auf die Kirche von der Altstadt aus, sondern ein Besuch im Inneren der Kirche und ein Spaziergang durch den botanischen Garten dahinter! Seit 2007 war die kleine Halbinsel und damit auch die Kirche für Besucher gesperrt, das es ein Einsturzrisiko gab (der Sandstein auf dem die Kirche steht war durch das Meer und die salzige Luft porös geworden) – in den letzten Jahre hat die Gemeinde endlich eine Lösund für dieses Problem gefunden und nun kann die liebevoll restaurierte Kirche besucht und aus der Nähe betaunt werden! Und ich? Nach 7 Jahren kann ich endlich diese kleine Halbinsel erkunden und den Blick von der anderen Seite genießen!

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From the city center of Tropea you can reach it just walking down the steps from “Piazza Canone” which is a square with a fantastic view on the church. Of course you can also go by car following the signs that lead you to the harbor and then following the seafront.
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Von der Altstadt Tropeas kann man entweder die Stufen am Kanonenplatz (“Piazza Canone”) hinuntergehen oder einfach mit dem Auto der Beschilderung “Hafen/Porto” und dann der Strandpromenade folgen.

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The church has its roots in the medieval times (around 1100) when the rock on which it has been built was still an island bathes by the sea. It became a Basilian convent and thanks to the monks this amazing botanical garden can be found behind the church! Yes, there are some stairs to do to reach the church and during the hot summer time it could be a little tiring, but the view from there is absolutely worth any single step!
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Die Kirche wurde im Mittelalter um das 11. Jahrhundert gebaut, als der Fels auf dem sie steht noch eine Insel und komplett vom Meer umspült war. Sie wurde zu einem Basilianer-Kloster und es waren genau diese Mönche, die den botanischen Garten hiner der Kirche anlegten! Ja, es sind einige Stufen zu bewältigen um dieses Kleinod zu besichtigen und im heißen Sommer kann das recht anstrengend sein – aber der Blick auf das Meer und die Altstadt sind jede einzelne Stufe wert!

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Breathtaking, isn’t it?! During a small walk through the garden you can relax on one of the benches under the trees and enjoy the view to the sea and the fantastic beaches of Tropea with their cristal clear turquoise water!
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Atemberaubend, oder?! Bei einem Spaziergang durch den Klostergarten kann man sich auf einer der Bänke unter den Bäumen ausruhen und den Blick auf das kristallklare türkisblaue Meer und die wunderschönen Strände Tropeas genießen!

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The inside of the church has also been restored and it is just beautiful with it’s simple style and one of the most beautiful moments is when you finished your visit of the garden and church and you step out … and you see once more this gorgeous view of Tropea’s storic buildings on the high rocks!
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Auch das Innere der Kirche wurde restauriert und der einfache Stil gibt ihr eine besondere Atmosphäre. Einer der schönsten Momente während eines Besuches der Santa Maria dell’Isola ist der, wenn man den Garten und die Kirche besichtigt hat und dann wieder nach draußen kommt … und man noch einmal diesen fantastischen Blick auf die Altstadt Tropeas und die Häuser hat, die hoch auf den Felsen über dem Meer thronen!

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What do you think about this little diamond? Isn’t it just amazing surrounded by the blue sea? If you will visit Calabria one day, this is absolutely a MUST for your itinerary!
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Was haltet ihr von diesem kleinen Schmuckstück? Ich finde es einfach wunderschön! Solltet ihr Kalabrien einmal besuchen, ist die Santa Maria dell’Isola definitiv ein MUSS!

Enjoy your day! Tanti saluti,
Julia

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#Insider Tip {Calabria} – The Paradise behind the Train Station

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Buongiorno and a happy hello to everybody!

In my last post I told you that during the last week we spent some time on “holiday at home” – my parents visited us and of course we could not stay at home but had to use the fantastic weather to explore some new spots and today I want to share a real insider tip with you!

The Tyrrhenian Coast of Calabria is famous for its rocky cliff line that is interrupted by small bays. There are many of them along the coastline between Pizzo and Capo Vaticano and not for nothing this part of the coast is called “Costa degli Dei”, the “Coast of the Gods”.

Now just close your eyes for one moment, inhale and exhale deeply, immagine a small path that guides you through a lush vegetation …

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… amongst the bushes and plants you already hear the sound of the waves and sometimes you see some blue shining through all the green around you …

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… then the path descends, there are some steps and it wriggles down the cliff line …

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… suddenly the path finishes and the only things you see are the crystal clear turquoise sea, a lonesome bay with white sandy beaches and amazing rock formations … this is a real paradise! And this is exactely what it is called: Paradiso del Sub!

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Isn’t it beautiful?! I came here for the first time only one year ago and I immediately fell in love with this place! Did you recognize the strange shape of one of the rocks? It is called “Scoglio del Leone”, “Lion’s Rock” because of its shape that is similar to a lion!

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As its name reveals, this bay is a paradise for scuba diving and snorkeling and for the ones that do not like to sunbath for hours there is also the possibility to do a little walk along the coastline that offers a great view along the coast in the Southern direction – you can even see the city of Tropea from here, that is situated on a huge rock directly at the seashore!

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Are you wondering how to reach this fantastic place? Don’t worry, it is that simple! Just follow the main road SS18 from Pizzo in the direction of Tropea. You will pass some small towns such as Vibo Marina, Porto Salvo and Briatico and then you reach Zambrone. Directly at the beginning of the town, vis-à-vis the only supermarket, there is a building which is the train station. There is also a small bar in it so you cannot fail. Just leave the car right there (you can park as well on the street as on the parking space on the right site of the train station), but have a look on the signs because some parking spaces are with costs during the summer months.

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Then pretend to take the train, cross the line of rails (ATTENTION: be sure that there is no train arriving and cross the line of rails only in the marked passage!) and turn to your right – there is only one path starting at this point, so you simply cannot fail! I recommend sturdy shoes to descend the path, but it is absolutely worth it, even the steeply rising way back is no barrier to come back as soon as possible! And hey, it is only 10-15 minutes!

Once arrived at the sea shore you can decide whether you want to stay in one of the tiny bays on the left or if you would like to cross some more rocks to reach a wide sandy beach on the right – it is entirely up to you!

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If you live in Calabria, or if you plan to come here – do not miss this spot and spend some unforgettable hours in this paradise!

Have fun and enjoy your day,

Julia

#Ironthedog about a hidden paradise

Whoof whoof, buongiorno – it’s me, Iron!

I hope all of you feel as good as I do, because I really enjoy the fresh air of October!

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As Julia and Daniele have more free time to spend with me now, during the last days we did a tour to a beautiful lake. It is situated only 2km from our home and it is a real oasis! You see, I am not only a dog but also a tour guide who shows you a beautiful destinations that nearly nobody knows!

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The lake called “Lago Angitola” is an artificial lake that has been “created” by building a dam at the Angitola River just a few km before it flows into the Tyrrhenian Sea in 1966. To reach it you just have to follow the signs “Serra San Bruno” from the main road of the Tyrrhenian Sea (SS18) at the highway exit Pizzo Calabro. Follow this street for 1km until you reach the tuna factory Callipo – there is a small agrarian street that turns to the left and that brings you directly to the lake.

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With a surface of 1,96 square km the “Lake Angitola” is quite big and in 1975 it became a WWF World Wide Fund Oasi where the alternation of landscapes creates a wealth of unique biodiversity. There are many many species of birds and so it is a really interesting place to visit not only for nature lovers but also for people interested in biology and ornithology!

Beeing a WWF Oasi it is forbidden to swim in the lake but you can do fantastic walks along its shore enjoying the nature!

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A really nice idea would be to pack some yummy food and a blanket and to have some picknick there, maybe in between of centuries-old olive trees with a view that could also show a panorama of Tuscany!

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The whole time we were there walking around we did not meet anybody besides some sheep and I loved running around exploring the area! There are so many different smells … cows, birds, a fox … and when I was immerged in all these perfumes I heard Daniele talking about wild pigs that he always saw there when he was a young boy – trust me, he did not even finish to talk about these wild pigs when we heard a strange sound … and bammmmm … one of them crossed the path directly in front of us!!! Julia yelled my name but I could not resist, I HAD to follow this huge animal in the coppice! At the end … what can I tell you … the wild pig won the race, but just because it knew the area better than me, otherwise I would have beat it!

After this exciting episode we left the lake behind us climbing up the hills around the lake – from there you do not only have a fantastic panoramic view but there is also a real insider tip to be doscovered! About this, I will tell you the next time!

Now I have to relax from the run with the wild pig and all the new impressions!

Enjoy your day, see you soon!

Tanti saluti,

Iron