#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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Capo Vaticano – a place where you want to stay FOREVER!

Hello everybody,

are you ready to explore one of Calabrias hightlights? Come along on a tour to “Capo Vaticano“, one of the most famous and most stunning places of the whole region and for me one of the most beautiful places in the world!

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Capo Vaticano is the tip of the peninsula that divides the Tyrrhenian Sea into the Gulf of Sant’Eufemia in the North and the Gulf of Gioia Tauro in the South.

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It is a place where the rocks really seem to fall into the sea and with its altitude of 120m the lookout point offers a great panoramic view over the Calabrian coast!

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To get there you follow a small street that winds through endless fields where the famous “cipolla rossa di Tropea” grows, the red onion of Tropea which is an important part of the Calabrian cuisine. When you reach the lighthouse, the street ends and you just follow a path down to the lookout point.

Once arrived there, go to the very end of the terrace, close to the railing … and  let your eyes wander along the horizon … if the weather is fine and the view is clear you can see all the Eolian Islands, the whole Calabrian Coast, the Strait of Messina and even the vulcano “Etna” on the island of Sicily!

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When you admired the panorama, you absolutely have to take one more step ahead … and then have a look towards your feet … and from 120m a.s.l. you will discover the lonesome bays with white sandy beaches, a lush vegetation with palms, cactuses, Indian figs and flowers of all types and colors, the crystal see shimmering blue and turquoise – believe me: This is a place you never want to leave!

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From the first lookout point, a small path goes along the cliff up to the lighthouse and every meter you go, you will see another small bay, another fantastic beach and you will take another perfect photo!

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Did you note play of colors of the sea? It is shimmering in all the different shades of blue and turquoise that exist!

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There is an old legend saying that once there was a beautiful woman living in a small village near Capo Vaticano, she was called “Donna Canfora”. She always wore awfully colored robes and her characteristic was a scarf made of silk that had all the shades of blue you can immagine! One day her village has been attacked by the Saracens and as she was the prettiest woman they had ever seen they planned to take her with them. On the day they wanted to leave they brought her on their ship and she had to say goodbye to her family and friends. The ship started to move and instead of accepting her fate she jumped into the water. She disappeared at once … only her scarf was floating on the surface and from this moment the water took the colors from this beautiful scarf! Some old people say that the sound of the waves when they crash into the rocks is the moaning of Donna Canfora who is still crying because she cannot see her beautiful home aymore!

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Along the cliffs of Capo Vaticano there are many beaches and some of them can only be reached by boat! Of course it is fantastic to see this region not only from the the lookout point above, but also from the sea! By the way, it is also a paradise for snorkelling and diving!

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One of the few beaches you can reach by car is called “Grotticelle” – just follow the signs of the hotel that has the same name and if you go ahead you will reach a large bay with lidos, bars and restaurants. From there you can walk along the beach, climbing over some rocks to reach more solitary beaches or just go by paddleboat or water taxi.

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The best way to enjoy everything that this stunning place has to offer is to go there in  the morning and to visit first of all the lookout point when it is not that hot yet and the view is clear. Then you spend a fantastic day on the beach in one of the bays between sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling and in the evening you treat yourself with a delicious Italian dinner and a view on the sunset like this:

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If you visit Calabria, Capo Vaticano is absolutely a MUST on your itinerary! Preparing this post I was having a look on all my photos of Capo Vaticano – there are already 597 (!!!) of them and everytime I go there I take more and more because it is that fascinating! At this point I would like to thank my friend Markus Barthel who also fell in love with Capo Vaticano and took some of the beautiful photos you can see in this post.

What do you think about Calabrias postcard scene number one? Would you like to visit it yourself?

 

Tanti saluti,

Julia