Calabria, Capo Vaticano: the “Costabella” stretch
18 July 2022
The “Coast of the Gods”: dream excursions
The Calabrian coastline is a paradise for the eyes. But the coast from Capo Vaticano, in the hamlet of San Nicolò in the municipality of Ricadi, to Tropea is even more so. It is no coincidence that it is also known as the “Coast of the Gods”.
Here you can go on unforgettable excursions, by boat and underwater.
On board small boats, you will discover hidden coves and bays of white sand that can only be reached by sea.
You will stop at the foot of the Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell'Isola di Tropea, which emerges on a sheer cliff overlooking a sparkling sea. You will visit the local “Blue Grotto”, and easily guess the reason behind its name: pure, crystal-clear water. And, thanks to the equipment you will be provided with, you will have the opportunity to explore the diverse underwater world with some snorkelling or scuba diving. You will be captivated by the densely populated seabed, among the most varied in Italy. This is due to a play of currents from the Gulf of Sant'Eufemia to the north and the Gulf of Gioia Tauro to the south.
The flora is no less impressive, especially around the Mantineo, Vadaro and Galea rocks.
The beaches of Capo Vaticano: gems of Tyrrhenian Calabria
Pure and secluded, often only accessible via narrow paths or by sea, the beaches topped by the Capo Vaticano promontory are ranked among the most beautiful in the world.
The most fascinating is the Grotticelle beach, a long sandy shore of very light sand, formed by three adjoining beaches.
Surrounded by wild vegetation, all the beaches are even more impressive. Among the best known and worthwhile stops are those at Torre Ruffa, Formicoli and Riaci. Also not to be missed are those of Praia di Fuoco, Tono and Santa Maria.
For a romantic stroll, reach the lighthouse at the top of the promontory. The walk will be rewarded by the belvedere: the sunset over the volcano of Stromboli and the Aeolian Islands.
The Promontory: legend and geological nature
The imposing rocks rising to a dizzying height above the blue sea, the unspoilt scenery covered with vegetation rich in rare species, the panoramic views that reach as far as Sicily. These are the ingredients that make the Capo Vaticano promontory the ideal destination to visit at least once in a lifetime.
An enviable geographical position, to which is added a history with mythological overtones. Even the name “Vatican” evokes magic. From the Latin “vaticinium”, meaning oracle, it immediately recalls the legend that an oracle lived in a cave on the promontory, ready to offer answers to sailors' questions about the outcome of their sea crossings.
Added to this is the geological interest, which attracts academics from all over the world to the site. The rocks on the high ground overlooking the sea are, in fact, made of white-grey granite, which takes on unique hues and completely original shapes. Then there are the smooth tuff cliffs and massive spurs, framed by Mediterranean vegetation ranging from prehistoric ferns to dwarf palms, interspersed with broom, myrtle, prickly pears, heather, thousand-year-old olive trees, maritime pines, oaks, cork trees and fig trees. Every step will intoxicate you with scents. Finally, the ancient vineyards on terraces of land, wrested from the rock by the farmers, built with dry stone walls. These too are a spectacle, gently sloping down to the sea.
Local cuisine: the triumph of tradition
Holidays in Capo Vaticano also mean breakfasts, lunches and dinners fit for a king while sampling its special gastronomy.
Simple and genuine combinations with strong flavours, the result of a rural tradition.
Try the maccheroni with 'nduja, a first course based on pork sausage and red pepper.
Or, if you prefer to take a step back in time, don't miss the “filea”, a pasta from the Vibonese area, prepared strictly at home from only water and flour, and having a curved shape thanks to the “dinaculo”, or implement made from esparto grass.
What is sure to win your palate over is the red onion from Tropeawith its sweet taste and nutritional and therapeutic qualities, which make it one of the most sought-after products on the international market.