Raja took two trains south from Rome: first to Lamezia and then he changed to a small local rail system to arrive in Tropea, a medieval town on a limestone cliff over the absolutely turquoise Tyrrhenian Sea. On Italian trains, dogs do not need to be in carriers; Raja had his own seat most of the way and he loved looking out the window at glimpses of the sea through a screen of olive and orange trees.
The antique town itself is set on a cliff far, far above a deep beach with the quietest waves in the world. The southern beach is separated from the northern beach and its modern marina by a little warren of grottos under a convent perched on an enormous rock. What an opportunity for Raja to explore and have some doggy fun, and, as you guessed, nobody minds a dog playing on Italy’s beaches! Two steep, long stairs in the north and south wind up the cliffs linking to the citadel.
Tropea would be a great place to film Romeo and Juliet. Its stony, meandering streets are lined with great houses, now apartments, with magnificent doorways and tile roofs. Piazzas with fountains create community and residents stroll every evening socializing and flirting. In the summer season, the town comes to life with swimmers and sunbathers, but Raja visited just at the magical monument before the season began. What a great moment! A local festival brought vendors, entertainers and shoppers from all over Italy’s southern towns. Restaurants that had been closed all winter were just opening and the famous local swordfish was in season.
Speaking of restaurants, you just cannot get a bad meal in Calabria, even if you get down on your knees beg for it! Raja had a favorite restaurant: Al Centro Storico on Via P. Vianeo. He loved the service, the hospitality and the wonderful pasta. The owners have a beautiful baby and two dogs, so they welcomed Raja enthusiastically. Dogs can sit in any café in Tropea without anybody getting over excited.
Please go to this link and read the first hotel review to find out more about a very rustic and cozy place to stay in Tropea: the Porta Del Mare http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g194939-d582171-r59680773-Hotel_La_Porta_Del_Mare-Tropea_Calabria.html#CHECK_RATES_CONT
Don’t expect chains, don’t expect fast food, don’t expect machine-made products. In Tropea, everything is artisenal, local and unselfconsciously good. You and your dog should go!