Going Totally Tropical in Tropea & Capo Vaticano

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Never before has an Instagram story of mine prompted such a DM frenzy - everyone wanted to know where this tropical paradise was and how I'd managed to get there in three hours from Stansted. Well - it was here. Tropea, a historically significant town on Calabria's Coast of the Gods that's been a Roman port town, a Norman place of worship and the site of six failed WWII bombings. It also happens to be... breathtaking. 

Famous for it's vibrant culinary scene, its home to Calabrian viagra chillis (so hot, they'll keep you up all night! Bants bants bants), everyone's favourite hipster pizza topping 'nduja, and the glorious Tropean red onion - so sweet, they turn it into ice cream and it's actually delicious. 

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The fairytale building out in the bay is the Monastery of Santa Maria dell'Isola. It's a 4th century monastery that’s accessible only by climbing up a winding flight of steps carved directly into the cliffside. To each side of the Monastery sit white sand beaches and caves to explore, and - as with Fiumefreddo, way up behind is the main town of Tropea. 

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We had a pizza in the main square, a wander round and then headed off to Capo Vaticano (on the way to which I was stung by a particularly aggressive wasp who got stuck in my dress. Not the sort of Vespa you hope for in Italy.) 

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Capo Vaticano is a region of beautiful little coves and beaches that looks a little like the shores of Cornwall if they were given a glorious sun-dappled makeover. We went to Grotticelle, which had a lovely cafe and amazing rockpools and caves to explore... only 4 months until I can go back...