Onion of Tropea: extraordinary properties



Nobody can forget the delicious, refined and light taste, extremely versatile and simple of “Red Onion of Tropea”.

“Capo Vaticano” bay

It was the Phoenicians and the Greeks who introduced the use of onion to Calabria, learned in turn by Assyrians (a civilization dating back to 2,500 BC) and Babylonians (dating back to approximately 1,895 BC).

You cannot be mistaken if you say that this onion is an ancient gift to Calabria of the Assyrians!!

The historic area of production in Calabria is the territory of Capo Vaticano, precisely in the Municipality of Ricadi, but the Italian name “Rossa di Tropea” connects the onion to Tropea, associating its origin with the such renowned village, because of the simple fact that shipments of onions all over the world took place from the Tropea railway station.

Tropea seaside


Initially, the transportation of the famous red onions from the fields of Ricardi to the station of Tropea, took place using donkeys or by ox-drawn carts, along paths close to the sea.

Nowadays, the expanse of the Capo Vaticano promontory that spreads towards Tropea and the nearby Parghelia is entirely characterized by extensive lush fields (larger than the initial place of origin, of Ricadi) rich of “Rossa di Tropea” crops.

Further, such crops have spread from the terraces of Monte Poro, Ricadi, long the coast from Nicotera, even until the plain of Lamezia Terme.

The onion of Tropea, which boasts the Italian protective denomination IGP since 2008 is spread all over such large territory.

If you see one of this onion, such really healthy souvenir of an ancient past (surely, Assyrian, therefore old of 4,500 years!) has a round or ovoid shape, is delicious, light, refined and crunchy.

In old cuisine of Assyrians it was a common element, a must for every dish. The crops were large all over Mesopotamia, while the importation began with Phoenicians…

An Assyrian kitchen

In short words, a magical gift of nature and history, cultivated on volcanic soils, fresh, deep, rich above all in potassium, studied by pedologists all over the world in order to trace their origins and justify the noble, particularly fertile composition, represents a real elixir of long life.


Indeed, Tropea onion prevents heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases, has antibiotic and antioxidant properties; contains “thiols”, natural organic compounds that counteract the accumulation of fat sediments in the blood, cleaning it from the lipoproteins that pollute and harden the arteries.

Further, it is indicated as a remedy for skin diseases, gives relief in case of cold and flu, tones veins and arteries.

It has a beneficial effect on diuresis and hypertension, treats intestinal infections, prevents kidney stones and pertussis, finally is diuretic.

A plenty of healty components

For all these reasons, the Tropea onion, which contains only 26 calories per 100 grams of product, is indicated in the diets of heart patients for its antisclerotic power, fighting the physical deficit due to the high content of iron and vitamins, lowering free radicals and levels of bad cholesterol in the blood.

Oncologists, further, say that its “flavonoids, phenols, quercetin and mineral salts” greatly reduce the risk of cancer of the larynx, liver, colon and ovaries, while its chromium sulphides are effective in treating diabetes, reducing blood sugar.

Oncologists, further, say that its “flavonoids, phenols, quercetin and mineral salts” greatly reduce the risk of cancer of the larynx, liver, colon and ovaries, while its chromium sulphides are effective in treating diabetes, reducing blood sugar.


The Tropea onion is ideal for sauté, in vinegar, in mixed salads with fresh tomatoes, olives and oregano.

Further it is the main ingredient of many delicacies including “ice cream” and a very good “jam“, accompanying meat,  aged pecorino cheese, caciocavallo, “gorgonzola” (the well known creamed cheese) and omelettes in general.

Olive Oil Soap: a Sumerian invention in Calabria


There is a handmade olive oil soap conjures up the salty air, sweet smell from the nearby olive groves, and the evening’s scents on a summer’s eve in a beach town on the Mediterranean, in Calabria.

A Calabrian treasure of scents

Calabrian women have used for centuries olive oil soap as skin care,  the handmade soap, particularly, contains a substance, oleocanthal, which has anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties.

A pure Olive Oil soap

Indeed, Olive oil cleans gently and kindly while helping your skin retain moisture. With regular use of this soap, everyone will feel the skin becoming suppler, softer and silky smooth.

Further, this versatile soap is wonderful for the body and the face, or melted in the bath.


There is a beautiful story about olive oil versatility and its profound utility, with regard to the soap made with olive!

The tradition of making soap with olive oil is very ancient. Some people say that it dates back to the ancient Egyptians, then the Romans, whose olive oil soaps have been used even for hair care.

Particularly, since the times of Roman empire until the Middle age the Silk Road was used for the export of so called “Aleppo’s” olive oil soaps, highly appreciate and famous.

Aleppo’s soap


Indeed, not many could imagine that the use of olive oil for the creation of soap is the result of the rich culture having lived in Mesopotamia, hence in very ancient times!

Namely, not many know that in the year 2,800 BC, when the Sumerians ruled Mesopotamia, there was the first evidence of a “soap-like substance”!!

At that time, the precursor of soap was the mixing of animal fats and olive oil with wood ash and water. The main use of this product was for the cleaning of wool, but secondary use was the sacred rituals of purification.

During Sumerian era, instead, only olive oil was used, eliminating animal fats. It was then that health benefits began to be discovered, such as the treatment of skin diseases.

Aleppo’s squared soap

Afterwards, the Syrian city of Aleppo, thanks to its tradition of producing high quality olive oil soaps since ancient times, as a legacy of the Mesopotamian culture, has helped to create a thriving industry, which the well known Silky Road has favored and helped to consolidate, by marketing such soaps till the modern age.

A beauty farm soap


Even today, sometimes, olive oil soap is called Aleppo soap by virtue of this centuries-old tradition. This magnificent soap is well smelling, fragrant and pure.

Indeed, the Olive oil soap is a product with many applications, unchanged since that era when it is described in some Mesopotamian tablets, whose pictorial cuneiform writing shows the different production methods.

Cuneiform Tables

Further, these techniques were perfected by the Egyptians, who added alkaline salts and made new uses for them.

Later, even Roman culture produced this soap and applied new uses to it. It has mainly been used as a waxy substance for hair. It has also been used by doctors and surgeons to clean body impurities.

From the 11th century AD, Spain became one of the main producers of olive oil soap under the Muslim government. The most famous of his time is the one produced in Castile.

Castile’s Olive Oil Soap

However, the main important thing is that…this kind of Sumerian soap is the  real precursor of the soap that we use all days!