The Monastery of Santa Maria is an impressive and historic site located in Tropea, a small coastal town in the southern region of Calabria, Italy. The monastery was built in the 11th century on a rocky promontory overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, and has since become an iconic landmark of the town.
The Monastery of Santa Maria was founded by the Benedictine monks, who were known for their dedication to religious devotion and architectural excellence. The monastery was originally built as a small church, but it was gradually expanded over the centuries to include a monastery, a bell tower, and various chapels.
One of the most striking features of the monastery is its position on the edge of the cliff, which offers stunning views of the sea and the surrounding landscape. The monastery is accessed via a long staircase that winds its way down the cliff face, providing visitors with a sense of awe and wonder as they approach the building.
The interior of the monastery is equally impressive, with its beautiful frescoes, intricate mosaics, and ornate decorations. The church is adorned with statues of saints and religious figures, and the walls are covered in beautiful paintings depicting scenes from the Bible.
One of the most unique aspects of the Monastery of Santa Maria is its connection to the local legend of the Virgin Mary. According to the legend, the town of Tropea was saved from a devastating earthquake in the 16th century when a local woman named Caterina was visited by the Virgin Mary in a dream. The Virgin Mary told Caterina to gather the townspeople and march in procession to the monastery, where they should pray for the town’s safety. The townspeople followed the Virgin Mary’s instructions, and the earthquake miraculously stopped. To this day, the town of Tropea celebrates the Feast of the Madonna della Neve (Our Lady of the Snow) on August 5th each year to commemorate the event.
Another interesting fact about the Monastery of Santa Maria is that it was used as a location for the filming of the movie “The Name of the Rose” in the 1980s. The movie, which starred Sean Connery and was based on the novel by Umberto Eco, tells the story of a Franciscan friar who investigates a series of murders in a monastery in 14th century Italy. The Monastery of Santa Maria was chosen as the filming location due to its historic and architectural significance.
Today, the Monastery of Santa Maria is a popular tourist destination, drawing visitors from all over the world to marvel at its beauty and historic significance. The monastery is still an active place of worship, and visitors are welcome to attend Mass or participate in other religious services. The surrounding town of Tropea is also a popular destination, with its charming streets, historic buildings, and picturesque beaches.
In conclusion, the Monastery of Santa Maria in Tropea, Italy is a true masterpiece of religious architecture and an iconic symbol of the town’s rich history and culture. Its stunning location, ornate decorations, and unique connection to local legend make it a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Calabria. Whether you’re a history buff, a religious pilgrim, or simply looking for a beautiful place to visit, the Monastery of Santa Maria is sure to leave a lasting impression.