Surrounded by the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Santuario di Santa Maria dell’Isola is in the town of Tropea in the Province of Vibo Valentia. While its history is uncertain, the area is known to have come under the auspices of Basilian monks of the Eastern rite some time during the early Middle Ages. In the 11th century, the island’s religious reigns were passed to the Benedictines under guidance of the Normans. Tropea and the surrounding communities were gradually Latinized, and interestingly, the Abbey of Montecassino has held dominion over the island sanctuary for over 1,000 years.
Little of the original structure remains due to the devastating earthquakes of 1783 and 1905. Today, Santa Maria dell’Isola has become one of Calabria’s most internationally recognized symbols.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick.