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Norman Cathedral

Look for a revered Byzantine icon of the town’s patron saint, Madonna of Romania, as well as two unexploded World War II bombs in this centuries-old cathedral.

Tropea’s Norman Cathedral is a historic landmark and is of great symbolic importance to the town. Admire the beautifully restored Romanesque structure and learn about the significance of the town’s patron saint, the Madonna of Romania, who is represented here by a prized 14th-century icon hanging above the altar. 

Examine the attractive exterior of the cathedral, which features arched stone and brickwork and a rose window. Venture inside to explore the somewhat austere and simple interior. 

As you pass through the door, look for two World War II bombs flanking the entrance. It is thought that these undetonated explosives failed to go off because of the protection of the town’s patron saint, Our Lady of Romania. The beloved saint is also believed to have saved the city from damage during earthquakes, most notably from a series of tremors in 1783 that affected much of the region.

Walk up the central aisle toward the altar, behind which hangs a small icon depicting the Virgin Mary. Hung high on a plain white wall, the icon is hard to miss. The painting dates back to the 14th century and is removed from the church and carried through the town during religious processions. Gaze up toward the ceiling to view the dramatically lit dome. 

Explore inside the cathedral during the day and return to view the outside at night. Though the cathedral will be closed, the exterior looks particularly attractive after dark as the façade is illuminated by carefully placed lighting.

Find the Norman Cathedral in Tropea’s attractive Old Town, about a 2-minute walk from Piazza Ercole. The cathedral is open daily in the morning and again in late afternoon. Entry is free. To see other religious icons and liturgical objects from the cathedral, head to the adjacent Diocesan Museum, known as the Museo Diocesano di Tropea. This museum, which is open from April to October, holds prized objects and artworks belonging to the local Roman Catholic diocese.


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