The archaeological area of Paestum – an ancient city also known as Pesto or Poseidonia in honor of the Greek god of the sea – hosts three Doric temples, among the best preserved in Magna Graecia. These are the temples of Hera, Apollo and Athena, all dating back to the 6th century BC. The massive walls, extending for almost 5 km, together with the remains of the 28 watchtowers, and the four ancient access gates, are the visiting card that one encounters to reach the excavations. The central part of the site consists of the Roman Forum while in the north-west of the forum there is a small Roman amphitheater. The area, bounded by still well-preserved walls, was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1988. Paestum is part of the municipality of Capaccio, the ancient “Caput Aquae”, in Cilento.
The wild coast Costa di Masseta between Scario and Marina di Camerota in southern Cilento, Campania, Italy
Defined by many as “a small pearl set in a dream landscape”, the hamlet of Scario, in the municipality of San Giovanni a Piro is located within the natural area of the Cilento National Park and its crystal clear waters make it a destination tourist of great interest. This wonderful town on the Gulf of Policastro enjoys views of rare natural and scenic beauty. The beaches of Scario are splendid and are part of the marine protected area of the Infreschi and the Costa della Masseta; from the port of Scario it is possible to reach Punta degli Infreschi and from there also Marina di Camerota (not far); not to be missed, the many karst caves scattered along the coast as well as the small coves accessible only from the sea.
Agropoli (Aruòpule in Cilento dialect) is a town of about twenty thousand inhabitants which has its roots in ancient times. Its name derives from its geographical position, a “high city” on a promontory overlooking the sea. In Roman times, a maritime called “Ercula” developed on the coast of present day San Marco, a useful landing place to serve the nearby city of Paestum which had problems of silting up the port. In the 6th century the Byzantines fortified this site, giving it the name of “Acròpolis”. After centuries of alternation between the Byzantine and Saracen domination, from 1660 to 1806 the fief of Agropoli belonged to the Sanfelice. Only during the 19th century, when the nightmare of invasions ceased, Agropoli began to expand beyond the ancient , entering modernity.
The medieval of Castellabate is perched on a hill 280 meters above sea level, in a truly fascinating position from which it dominates the coast that extends between the promontories of Licosa and Tresino. The history of the begins in 1123, when Costabile Gentilcore obtained permission to build a fortress to defend the population from Saracen pirates. Close to the fortress, which was called “Abbot’s Castle”, the first houses were built and, gradually, the whole , formerly closed by five access gates. The historic center is characterized by alleys and stairs, interspersed with views that leave the visitor breathless. The “Piazzetta” offers a beautiful view over the Annunziata valley and stands as the natural forum of Castellabate.
It is the place of myth and enchantment: Homer in his Odyssey sang its beauties and told the story of three sirens, one of them named Leucosya, who tried in vain to bewitch Ulysses. Myth aside, Licosa is a place of enchantment due to the beauty of the landscape: steep cliffs and sometimes sloping down towards the sea, combined with the typical flora of the Mediterranean scrub, make this place unique in the world. The territory is largely owned by the Granito di Belmonte family, who also own the building located near the marina. A few meters from the coast is the islet of Licosa, which was connected to the mainland probably until the fourth century BC. C. and where there are clear traces of a Roman settlement.
Acciaroli one of the most beautiful places in our area. The purity of the sea in this stretch of coast is “certified”, in fact the hamlet of Pollica has been awarded the Blue Flag for over a decade for the quality of its waters. The little port of Acciaroli is the kingdom of the fishermen of the small marinated which, it is said, inspired Hemingway for his masterpiece “The Old Man and the Sea”. The first records of “aczarulo”, probably derived from “lazzarolo” (a shrub similar to hawthorn), date back to the mid-twelfth century. Acciaroli has always been an important coastal commercial hub (until the nineteenth century it was the seat of Customs) and is the best-known town in the municipal area due to the important tourist port and the many accommodation facilities present.
The Monte Tresino circuit is one of the most suggestive itineraries in the coastal Cilento. From the parking area of Trentova beach, south of Agropoli, there is a road that starts from the south-east uphill and parallel to the sea. After about 1.5 km the route comes out on a plateau, where there is an abandoned masseria, called the “Casa dei Buoi”, overlooking the sea. The building rests on the remains of a Roman villa. The small beach, not far from the farm, marks the beginning of the Castellabate area, while the whole inlet is called “del Sauco”. From here on, the territory continues uphill for about three kilometers, with a beautiful view towards the cliff, the bay and the beach of the lake and Santa Maria di Castellabate.
The Oasis was created in 1985 in order to protect the rich ecosystem of this area of Bussento. The absolute protagonist of this oasis is the Bussento river, which disappears into the bowels of the earth to re-emerge in the Morigerati caves, which can be reached along the path of the protected area. The Oasis is the most important conservation project of WWF Italy and represents the concrete intervention in defense of the natural territory and biodiversity. Created in 1985, it has an extension of 607 hectares. It is a wildlife protection oasis, subject to landscape and hydrogeological constraints. The management is direct, in agreement with the municipality of Morigerati. And the town is perched on top of a cliff overlooking the WWF Oasis of the Morigerati cave.
The promontory of Capo Palinuro is an overhang of limestone about 200 meters high. Its peculiarity is that it was excavated by the sea, which also gave rise to the suggestive caves that extend all around the promontory. Charm, nature and myth blend wonderfully in these places, already sung by Virgil in the Aeneid. In total, there are 32 caves, the most important of which is the Blue Grotto, which can be accessed by sea, characterized by a bright blue color due to the presence of a siphon that allows the irradiation of sunlight inside. Shows of light and colors, stalactites, archaeological finds are all a succession of emotions, culminating in a swim in a crystalline and uncontaminated sea.
The largest hamlet and most populous in the municipality of Santa Marina. The current hamlet of Policastro was built at the mouth of the Bussento river as a Greek colony of Rhegion (Reggio Culabria) as a strategic base for trade. Just outside the town you can still see the ruins of the ancient aqueduct that once guaranteed the city’s water supply. In a few minutes, you can reach the town of Santa Marina, along a steep road that departs from the center of Policastro. Santa Marina, seat of the Municipality of Policastro, around the 10th century was a place of refuge for the inhabitants of Policastro who sought escape from the attacks of the Saracens and from the malaria that afflicted the mouth of the Bussento river.
Rio di Casaletto
The river that gives rise to the most evocative place of Casaletto Spartano: “Il Capello”. This locality is part of a spring complex characterized by a high environmental value and takes its name from the “Capelli di Venere” waterfall, whose name derives from the luxuriant growth of the Capelvenere plant. Near the watercourse there is also a well-preserved mill and a ruin called “Sorgitore”, which allows the diversion of the waters coming from the source that originates in the locality of Melette, so that part of the water feeds the mill and the rest some end up in the river. Il Capello has several internal paths that allow you to visit scenic places that the waterway creates along its route.
Caselle in Pittari
Caselle in Pittari stands on a basin of the Bussento river in southern Cilento. The town was built in the Middle Ages by the inhabitants of the Gulf of Policastro. The main religious building of Caselle is the Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo. The territory is also rich in naturalistic and archaeological beauties: the “Bosco Ficarola”, populated by Neapolitan chestnut and alder trees with a rich undergrowth, the “Bussento River”, which is enriched by the waters of 13 springs called “the 13 fistulas” , the artificial lake in the Sabetta area, very rich in freshwater fish. Of great interest are the archaeological areas found in Lovito and in Kythera and the suggestive caves of San Michele, dell’Angelo and Orsivacca are also unmissable.
The ancient city of Elea, which derives its name from the local source Hyele, was founded around 540 BC. by a group of exiles fleeing the Greek city of Phocaea, in present-day Turkey, besieged by the Persians. The city, known in the 5th century BC. for being the birthplace of the philosophers Parmenides and Zeno, it reached a period of great development in the Hellenistic and Roman times when its name was changed to Velia. In the Middle Ages the town retreated to the Acropolis where the small of Castellamare della Bruca was built, whose structures overlapped the ancient ones and where, between the 11th and 14th centuries, the large cylindrical tower was built which still today constitutes the hallmark of the Velino landscape. Among the main monuments it is possible to admire the famous Porta Rosa.
Certosa di Padula
The Certosa di San Lorenzo, dating back to the early fourteenth century and then restored in the sixteenth century, was founded by Tommaso Sanseverino, lord of Teggiano and feudal lord of Cilento. It covers an area of 50,000 square meters and is one of the most important religious complexes in Europe. Its original structure dates back to the fourteenth century, while much of the current layout dates back to the sixteenth century, when it was significantly enlarged. The Charterhouse is striking for its large external courtyard, for its Church, containing paintings of great value and for the various buildings inside. The visit to the Charterhouse ends with the large garden of the cloister, of great beauty. The Provincial Archaeological Museum of Western Lucania is located inside the Certosa.
Perched on the top of a hill on the western side of the Vallo di Diano, Teggiano already evokes its strategic position over the centuries. Existing, perhaps, already in Greek and Lucanian times, and certainly in Roman times, during the Middle Ages it assumed, with the new name of Diano, a predominant role in the whole valley, so much so that the powerful Sanseverino family built the castle there to make it the extreme stronghold in case of danger. Apart from the impressive artistic richness contained in nine of the fifteen churches in Teggiano that can be visited, the town is a very important medieval center located on a hill that stands almost isolated in the plain below the Vallo di Diano. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Eboli, in the Sele area, has a mild climate, rolling hills rich in history, strips of unspoiled nature and suggestive streams, and above all a rich and fertile plain, where fine food products are produced (mozzarella, artichokes, strawberries) . The favorable position between the Salerno coast and the hinterland in the Piana del Sele offers the opportunity to walk along the hilly paths of San Donato, inserted in the chain of the Picentini Mountains, where the Eboli Natural Park is present and the main sources of the river are born. Select flowing through the hills of Contursi, Campagna and Serre. The cultural and archaeological journey to discover the city continues with the National Archaeological Museum of Eboli and the Media Valle del Sele located in the Monumental Complex of San Francesco.