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Santa Maria dell'Isola Monastery

Sitting high on a chunk of rock jutting out into the sea, this iconic medieval-style monastery is an icon of the town of Tropea.

The medieval Santa Maria dell’Isola Monastery has a dramatic setting on a rocky island connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway. Climb up the steps to reach the clifftop church where you’ll find fantastic photo opportunities as well as a small museum.

Note that the monastery may appear much newer than you might expect. A religious structure is said to have stood here since the 4th century. This building, however, is much newer, having been subject to several bouts of rebuilding following damage from earthquakes. 

As you make your way across the causeway to the monastery, reflect on how the landscape itself has changed over the centuries. Back when the monastery was first built, it sat on a proper island, though that “island” is now connected to the mainland by a strip of land created by a build-up of silt. 

Ascend the steep flight of stairs built into the cliff upon which the monastery stands. Look for local wildlife, such as lizards, as you make your way up the steps.  

Once you reach the monastic complex, get out your camera and head for the gardens at the rear of the church. From here, enjoy excellent far-reaching views over the beach and town. On a clear day, it is sometimes possible to see the active Stromboli volcano from the complex. 

Enter the church and take a moment to absorb the peaceful atmosphere. The church’s interior, though small, is well maintained and features two religious statues, which are visible behind the altar. 

Consider returning to view the monastery at night, when it is attractively lit. View it from a distance from the main town square of Piazza Ercole, looking northwest to see the glowing building.

Entry to Santa Maria dell’Isola Monastery is free but a small fee is charged for access to the rooftop and the garden, both of which have sensational viewpoints. The monastery is open year-round although hours change depending on the season. Note that the church can only be accessed via a winding and steep staircase, which may pose problems for less mobile visitors. Be sure to wear sturdy, comfortable shoes.


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Cooee Michelizia Tropea Resort £64
Cooee Michelizia Tropea Resort

Cooee Michelizia Tropea Resort

VIA CARMINE 71, Tropea, Calabria
     
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    Situated in Tropea, this beach hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Diocesan Museum, ‘A Linguata Beach and Santa Maria dell'Isola Monastery. Spiaggia del Convento and Rotonda Beach are also within 15 minutes. Tropea Station is 12 minutes by foot.

    Hotel Tropis £133
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    Hotel Tropis

    Contrada Fontana Nuova, Tropea, VV
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in the centre of Tropea, this family-friendly hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Diocesan Museum, Rotonda Beach and ‘A Linguata Beach. Spiaggia del Convento and Blanca Beach are also within 15 minutes. Tropea Station is only a 4-minute walk.

      La Dolce Vita a Tropea £158
      La Dolce Vita a Tropea

      La Dolce Vita a Tropea

      Largo Migliarese, Tropea, VV
         
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        Situated near the beach, this guesthouse is steps away from Rotonda Beach, Diocesan Museum and Santa Maria dell'Isola Monastery. ‘A Linguata Beach and Spiaggia del Convento are also within 10 minutes. Tropea Station is 12 minutes by foot.

        LABRANDA Rocca Nettuno Tropea £254
        LABRANDA Rocca Nettuno Tropea

        LABRANDA Rocca Nettuno Tropea

        Via Annunziata, Tropea, VV
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated in Tropea, this beach hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Blanca Beach and Spiaggia del Convento. ‘A Linguata Beach and Rotonda Beach are also within 1 mile (2 km). Tropea Station is 16 minutes by foot.

          Le Roccette San Leonardo
          Le Roccette San Leonardo

          Le Roccette San Leonardo

          Via Mare Piccolo, Tropea, VV
             
            0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Nestled on the beach, this Tropea residence is within a 5-minute walk of Cannone Beach, Rotonda Beach and Port of Tropea. Spiaggia del Convento and ‘A Linguata Beach are also within 10 minutes. Tropea Station is 15 minutes by foot and Parghelia Station is 30 minutes.

            La Perla £29
            La Perla

            La Perla

            Viale Coniugi Crigna 27, Tropea, VV
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated near the beach, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Blanca Beach, Diocesan Museum and ‘A Linguata Beach. Rotonda Beach and Santa Maria dell'Isola Monastery are also within 10 minutes. Tropea Station is 9 minutes by foot.

              Hotel Rocca della Sena £144
              Hotel Rocca della Sena

              Hotel Rocca della Sena

              Via Paolo Orsi . C.da Croce, Tropea, Calabria
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                With direct access to the beach, this Tropea hotel is within a 10-minute walk of ‘A Linguata Beach, Blanca Beach and Spiaggia del Convento. Rotonda Beach and Santa Maria dell'Isola Monastery are also within 15 minutes. Tropea Station is 13 minutes by foot.

                Palazzo Mottola Tropea £143
                Palazzo Mottola Tropea

                Palazzo Mottola Tropea

                via Lauro, 3, Tropea
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in the heart of Tropea, this beach guesthouse is within a 10-minute walk of Diocesan Museum, Port of Tropea and Santa Maria dell'Isola Monastery. Riaci Beach and Grotticelle Beach are also within 9 mi (15 km). Tropea Station is 13 minutes by foot.