What’s in a name, Capo Vaticano

capo vaticanoNestled between the blue sea and rocky cliffs is one of the most coveted beach spots of all of the Calabrian beaches. Capo Vaticano is without a doubt one of the most beautiful beaches along the Calabrian coast line, with clear blue water and pristine sand, and a view that stretches far enough even the Aeolian Islands seem within reach.

Of course, this is a place with ancient roots. The word “Vatican” derives from the Latin vaticinium, meaning oracle. One such myth describes to us why this magical place was so called “The Cape of the Oracle”.

According to legend there was an oracle that once lived in the area named Manto. The name Manto is of Greek origin and means literally “to give responses, to predict”. So this Manto was know to be able to predict the future. There is a rocky outcrop below Capo Vaticano that is also named after Manto, where the legendary “Cave of Guesses/Predictions” lies (Mantineo). According to legend, the sailors who were navigating towards the vortex Charybdis and the perilous jaws of the monster Scylla made port at the Cape offering gifts to Manto, in exchange for a prediction of their futures. Ulysses also made a stop after surviving the journey past the monster and escaping the vortex, with curiosity as to what his future held.

Today the coast of Calabria is rightly dubbed as “the Coast of the Gods”, however another famous legend hovers around the Capo. A manuscript of 1736 tells us the origins of the name Capo Vaticano is entirely different from the famous myth of Manto. Scipio the Great (best known for defeating Hannibal), on the stretch of coast around Capo Vaticano, met and defeated the pirate Grancane. He killed him and whilst doing so yelled “Abbatte Dog” (meaning surrender or strike Cane), hence the name Batticane. This gradually changed over the years however to Batticano and to what we now call it, Capo Vaticano.

With thriving tourist facilities and drenched in rich and interesting history, Capo Vaticano is an invaluable and unmissable spot to visit. Whether Manto was truly an oracle or maybe Scipio really did defeat Grancane, Capo Vaticano is an enchantingly beautiful slice of Calabria.