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Trip report (brief) - 8 days in Tropea June 2011

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Narberth...
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Trip report (brief) - 8 days in Tropea June 2011

Hi all,

After a lot of research we chose Tropea - for scenic beauty plus beaches. We took the train from Rome (change trains in Lamezia Terme) which was a long ride but you get to see plenty of southern Italy scenery and some nice views of seaside towns for the last part of the trip.

I can without pause recommend the B&B Villa Italia. For us, staying in town, and walking down the steps to the beach each day, worked well. The hotel is just outside (two blocks) of the centro storico (old town), convenient to the train station. The rooms are spacious - with beautiful modern, new, clean, furnishings and fixtures. Large modern bath, huge windows, a mini fridge, good lighting, and excellent air conditioning. The breakfast is very relaxing and well stocked. The staff is extremely helpful in orientation, recommendations, and advice.

We did see in passing a few of the B&Bs right in the Center of old town which looked gorgeous...so I believe there are many options.

The food in Tropea is outstanding.

Favorite Gelati (and we ate a ton) was Cafe del Corso.

Favorite restaurants were: La Lamia - great food & service with a beautiful setting, Al Pinturicchio - fun, super food, nice setting, and Al Vecchio Forno for Pizza. But all the restaurants in town are good with nice food and nice servers including the beach clubs - and our favorite was definitely Lido Azzurro which was excellent all around.

A few notes - We had laundry done at the laundry at the end of the block of the street that B&B Villa Italia is on - Via della Vittoria - super job.

We explored the possibility of a boat trip but there are not a lot of options - everyone sells the exact same trips and they are pricey, so we did not go.

We went to Pizzo for the day and enjoyed our visit, but were glad we chose Tropea as we like organized beaches with chaises and umbrellas - which are not available in Pizzo, although the swimming was quite nice and we had a good lunch at Ristorante la Ruota which someone on tripadvisor had recommended to me and of course we tried and loved the Tartufo.

If you like a beautiful town with fantastic photo ops, great food, clear water to swim in, clean organized beaches, and friendly people choose Tropea! Email me any questions.

Donna/Fritkis

Pittsburgh...
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1. Re: Trip report (brief) - 8 days in Tropea June 2011

Hi Donna....I am in the process of planning a holiday for next June in the Tropea region. I have been torn between Pizzo, Scilla and Tropea as a home base. Initially I was planning on Tropea. But a few posts talked about Tropea as being "touristy". Being a tourist...not sure what to make of that statement. Can you tell me a little bit about the town and beach atmosphere in June? How crowded? How does the town of Pizzo compare (not the beach)? Is it bigger/smaller? Is it as crowded? Your post has me reconsidering Tropea as our holiday base.

Narberth...
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2. Re: Trip report (brief) - 8 days in Tropea June 2011

This is just my perspective.... I do want a town that is 'touristy'. What I mean by that is:

Good tourist maps of the town with restaurants, bars, retail, etc. noted

Locals that speak some english (although my husband was diligent with the pimsler/berlitz)

Locals who enjoy meeting travelers and enthusiastic about you

Hotels, restaurants, bars who welcome tourists

Chaises, umbrellas, to rent with cold beer & good food just steps away

Overhearing conversations in English (few), Italian, Dutch, German, French, etc.

Meeting other travelers and sharing info.

Good signage around town and at the train station

We did not visit Scilla and I understand it is lovely. Pizzo was very pretty and I should have done a better job at explaining that while we did visit the beach, there were no chairs or umbrellas to rent, and we do not travel with a beach blanket or umbrella so could not last very long in the sun. At the 'organized beaches' as opposed to 'free beaches' we could get out of the sun at one of the beach clubs (small beach side restaurant with fantastic food & drink) or under the umbrella. Also as we were staying in a hotel if we were to use our beach towels to sit on the sand they would have not been very good for drying off and we had no way to wash them.

But it will depend on the activities you desire. We spent four days in Rome which was fantastic, then went to Tropea to go to the beach. If you are visiting Calabria to visit towns and see a lot of sights and the beach is secondary then not having organized beaches may work fine for you. Some people do not want to spend the money - we have very pale skin and like spending the entire day at the beach.

Crowded...hmmmm. I like to be around a lot of people so to me it was uncrowded, like plenty of people walking around but no wait to get a table at a restaurant or to get served at a bar. If you like to go to a beach where you don't see other people, then Tropea will not be for you. For me all of the people make it interesting. In addition, we met only two Americans while there. Tropea is definitely an Italian beach resort.

I hope this helps a little...but you can ask me more if you like.

Narberth...
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3. Re: Trip report (brief) - 8 days in Tropea June 2011

PGHGuy

"touristy' could also mean all the little stores that sell beach paraphernalia, local 'products', and tschotskes. Yes, there were plenty of all three. But we actually bought beach paraphernalia, local 'products', and tschotskes.

Pittsburgh...
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4. Re: Trip report (brief) - 8 days in Tropea June 2011

Thanks Donna for the explaination, that helps...Sounds like Tropea would fit our interests. There are different levels of being "touristy". Have been to Positano twice and Sorrento once and while "touristy" both are still pleasant. Positano is one of my favorites. On the other hand....when in Cinque Terra, the towns were so overcrowded, the restaurants so unappealing, the atmosphere more tense than relaxed that I did not enjoy the visit and don't have fond memories of the CT. Venice and Rome, to me, are different, both are touristy...but nowhere else on earth can you see what these two have to offer. So no problem for me to see past the crowds of people in Venice or the throng of tourists in Rome.

The beach itself is secondary. But views of the sea are primary. Calabria will be our third stop on this trip....first is Peschici on the Gargano Pennisula, the second is Lecce on the heel.

Did the rooms at your B&B have balconies or their own terraces? One of the things we like is a private outdoor space to retreat to after dinner for a bottle of wine, or in the afternoon to get away from the crowd.

Narberth...
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5. Re: Trip report (brief) - 8 days in Tropea June 2011

Big windows overlooking a garden (which guests can use) but no private balcony or terrace.

Take a look at Al Vecchio Castello www.vecchiocastellotropea.it and choose 'B&B' - the rooms look as though they have a little terrace. I have not read the reviews but the photos look nice.

Having spent a lot of time in beach towns in Italy...including Liguria, Amalfi, etc....I think you are really going to like Calabria. The water is beautiful. No backpacking US college student hordes like 5T.

Also if I didn't say it strongly enough, the best food - overall - I have had on a trip to Italy.

Pittsburgh...
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6. Re: Trip report (brief) - 8 days in Tropea June 2011

Thanks again....last year spent a week in Santa Margherita and loved it. About 12 years ago spent a week in Lerici also along the Ligurian Coast...might be my favorite. Have spent a week in Ischia, and a couple of vacations in differrent parts of the Sicilian coast. So Italian beach towns are our preferrence.

It was probably 5 years ago that I first saw pictures of Tropea and it has been on my list as a place I wanted to experience. I will look at the Vecchio Castello to see if it meets are needs. Thanks

Newport, United...
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7. Re: Trip report (brief) - 8 days in Tropea June 2011

Hi Donna thanks for info noted the restaurants and gelati you recommended we are staying at hotel villa antica sorry but what is tartufo? You mentioned boat trips were pricey but we might try one thanks again rhydian

Narberth...
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8. Re: Trip report (brief) - 8 days in Tropea June 2011

Rhydian

Tartufo is an ice cream specialty based on a mushroom/fungus. It is most often dark chocolate surrounded by coffee gelati rolled in cocoa. Delicious and probably 1000 calories. While available many places I believe the birthplace is Pizzo.

The boat trips are 25 euros and up. Things to see by boat are more distant in Calabria than in Liguria and in places we have stayed in Greece. I do think they are probably very good trips but we did not want to take a whole day and be out in the hot (it was hot) sun that long.

I am probably going to be sorry that I did not see the islands of Sicily.

but I can always visit again.

Villa Antica looked very pretty.

Donna

Island of Hawaii...
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9. Re: Trip report (brief) - 8 days in Tropea June 2011

Hello all,

Just want to join in the the discussion on Tropea. Having visited Italy almost a dozen times, Tropea is one of the (few) places I would return. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed all the places I've visited.

I would return to Tropea because it's within walking distance of restaurants and souvenir shops. The beach is nearby. There're enough people who don't speak English. The food is very affordable. It's on the main train line.

I went to Pizzo for a day trip. I must have gone to the wrong part of town. I didn't like it that much.

Scilla - I love it. Peaceful, beautiful town. Only one gift shop. Not that many restaurants. Less tourists. The only downside is, it's not on the main train line, for making day trips. I'm torn between Scilla and Tropea for my next trip.

Pizzo, Calabria
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10. Re: Trip report (brief) - 8 days in Tropea June 2011

Hi

In response to rhyd2003, Donna is right, the Tartufo di Pizzo is a speciality ice cream which is made in Pizzo and exported all over the world. It is a ball of homemade chocolate & nocciola icecream, with melted chocolate sauce in the middle, and rolled in cocoa. It is completely delicious!!!

The boat trips to the Aeolian Islands cost about €45 euros and are a full day trip (from 7-8am to about 7pm). The furthest island is about 3 hours distant, and 3 islands are usually visited (Vulcano, Lipari & Stromboli volcano). It is extremely hot, even hotter on the volcanic islands than the mainland, but well worth seeing and an amazing day out.

The main difference for me between Tropea and Pizzo is that in Tropea I see mainly foreign tourists, and the shops are mainly tourist shops. Whereas in Pizzo I see mainly locals, and the shops are local shops.

So in Pizzo I get to be a temporary local, and live like the locals (which I like). The downside is that Pizzo is not set up for tourists, while Tropea is a proper tourist village with all the facilities for an enjoyable holiday.

Anna

Edited: 14 July 2011, 14:29