Tropea is a seaside resort with impressive scenery in the region of Calabria, in the south of Italy. This stretch of coastline on the Tyrrhenian Sea is called the Costa degli Dei, the 'Coast of the Gods', and it is hugely admired by those in the know as one of Italy's finest summer holiday destinations. The coastline curves outwards in a large hilly bulge, boasting dramatic cliffs, sunny beaches, and a string of little resorts and campsites. Tropea is the busiest and most attractive of these seaside towns; with a historic centre perched on cliffs above the sea.
Tropea's principal social activity is a traditional one with a twist. Any time of the day or evening you'll see holidaymakers and locals taking a passeggiata down Corso Vittorio Emanuele, strolling along and people-watching, before reaching the the street's sudden end, where a set of metal railings offer a dramatic view over the beach and sea. The next stage in the ritual is to lean out, admire the view, chat a little, then wander back up the road to sit with a drink or to perform another circuit.
Tropea has that lovely timeless, faded feel that is a characteristic of sleepy southern Italian seaside towns. The town is a maze of pretty lanes and palazzi - and little hidden squares where you'll usually find restaurant tables. The heart of town is up on the headland and if you explore the streets you'll find traces of the old town wall and fortifications which defended the landward side. Nowadays the town spreads out further, and after you've wandered among the lanes and enjoyed refreshments in the shade of a cafe parasol, you will want to descend to the sea, both to enjoy the beach and to obtain the best views of Tropea's citadel on its rock.
The most famous views of Tropea are of the large rock outcrop jutting into the sea opposite the centre of Tropea. This was once an island and the attractive monastery on the summit, Santa Maria dell'Isola, sits in gardens above the sea.
Stromboli is the most dramatic of the Aeolian Islands, and is a popular daytrip destination from the other islands and from the Italian mainland. The island is an ancient and active volcano rising massively from the Mediterranean, with a couple of small settlements on the coast. It is an incredible and awe-inspiring sight, with a unique island atmosphere that attracts not just tourists but also film-makers and style-setters.