Cilento coast

The Cilento area it is most famous for the Bufala mozzarella, but not just for that! In Cilento you will find beautiful farm-houses, tasty restaurants and gorgeous views.

My tip for try the best food is just try out the Vannulo Estate and order their yogurt, the ice cream and everything that it is available on the menu.

 

THE PADULA CHARTERHOUSE

Recognized in 1998 by UNESCO a World Heritage Site, the Charterhouse of Saint Lorenzo, also known as Charterhouse of Paudla is certainly one of the most beautiful places in the province of Salerno.

The wonderful Charterhouse of Saint Lorenzo makes the City of Padula the main destination of religious tourism in Campania as well as being among the most impressive monuments of the Italian artistic heritage.

The predominant architectural style is the Baroque one. The complex has about 350 rooms and covers an area of 51,500 m² of which 15,000 involved only the cloister, the largest in the world.

The monastery

You can divide the architectural structure of the Charterhouse of Padula in two areas: first the workplace and second the monk’s residence. 
The structure of the Charterhouse, as for all other monasteries, follows the Carthusian rule of preaches and contemplation. For this reason there are different places in the Charterhouse for their implementation, like the cloister and the library where you can still see the floor made from ceramic tiles of Vietri, but also the chapel decorated with precious marbles, the large kitchen, the wine cellars and the neighboring fields where the fruits were cultivated for the sustenance of the monks.

How to get to the Charterhouse of Padula?

The municipality of Padula and the respective monastery of S. Lorenzo can be reached by car, for those coming from the North, along the Salerno/Reggio Calabria highway, take the  Buonabitacolo exit, and then continue along the national road SS 19.

The nearest railway station is to Sicignano degli Alburni.

The Velia’s excavations

Paestum is not the only archaeological treasure of the National Park of Cilento. The excavations of Velia, in Ascea Marina, are a true paradise to explore. Located between Agropoli and Palinuro, in a Mediterranean vegetation of lush olive groves, they form a splendid combination of archaeology and nature.

Origins and History of Velia's excavations

The ancient city of Elea derives its name from the Hyele source. Founded around 540 BC by a group of Greeks from Focea, Velia’s name in the Latin era. Here, philosophers as Parmenides and Zeno decided to establish their Eleatica school, while Cicero and Horace, found here an ideal destination for their holiday.

The archaeological path of the Velia’s excavations

The archeological path starts from the lower city where most of the buildings date back to the Hellenistic and Roman times. The driveway leads along the 5 km long city walls, built in the 6th- century BC. In front of the city walls you can admire a necropolis dating back to the 1st-century.

Porta Rosa street has the only example of Greek arch of the fourth century, a true patrimony of the architecture of the time. Crossing it, you can visit the Adriane Thermal Baths, where various rooms of the calidarium and the frigidarium are still visible today, decorated by a splendid sea monsters and animals. Continuing walking you will find a sanctuary of Asclepius, a healer divinity.

Walking in the Velia’s Agorà is a unique experience. Going up to the Acropolis, where there was an area sacred to Poseidon, there is a theatre, built in the Roman age above the remains of an ancient Greek temple, where the sanctuary of Zeus is preserved. There are also some buildings damaged in the Middle Ages when a castle was built in this site. From this period the Angevin tower and two churches are preserved: the Palatine Chapel and the Church of Saint Mary.

The decline of Velia came with the progressive shelving of the ports that caused the end of trade and economic wealth. With the advent of Christianity, the city became an episcopal center, until the definitive impoverishment following the Saracen raids. Thanks to its privileged position on a promontory, in Norman times a tower was built for the sighting of the incursions from the sea.

The ancient city has rediscovered a new life thanks to the excavations started in 1921, that  brought to light the architectural beauties. In 1996, it’s been declared a UNESCO World Heritage.

How to reach Velia's excavations, prices and timetables

By car from Paestum: Take the SS18 and exit at Ascea than continue until Via Porta Rosa/SR447.                     

By train from Paestum: Take the regional train towards Reggio Calabria and exit at Ascea.

From the train station take a bus towards Velia's excavations.

Opening hours

July to September from 9:00AM to an hour before dawn (Weekly Closing: Thursday)

October to June: from 9:00AM  to an hour before dawn (Weekly Closing: Tuesday)

Price €3

National Park of Cilento

The National Park of Cilento, Vallo of Diano and Alburni is the second largest park in Italy. It stretches from the Tyrrhenian coast to the foot of the Apennines in Campania and Basilicata, and it includes the peaks of Alburni Mountains, Cervati and Gelbison and the coastal buttresses of Mt. Bulgheria and Mt. Stella.

The extraordinary naturalistic richness of the heterogeneous territory goes hand in hand with the mythical and mysterious character of a land rich in history and culture: from the call of the nymph Leucosia to the beaches where Palinuro left Aeneas, from the ruins of the Greek colonies of Elea and Paestum to the wonderful Charterhouse of Padula. And everything else you can find in such an unexplored territory.

The National Park of Cilento and Vallo di Diano houses many animal species. Their undisputed queen is undoubtedly the golden eagle that nests on the highest peaks. But, other birds fly over the territory of the Park, including peregrine falcons, buzzards, sparrow hawk and owl. The territory is also inhabited by wolves, wild boars, foxes, martens, badgers, weasels and other mammals that bear witness to the progressive enrichment of the ecosystem of the Park.

Equally, important is the floral heritage of the National Park of Cilento and Vallo of Diano. The approximately three thousand plant species found associated in a mosaic of plant landscapes ranging from the rich and varied Mediterranean scrub to the coastal pine forests of Aleppo pine and so on.

Visit the Park of Cilento and Vallo of Diano certainly it does not take just one excursion, so I recommend it as an exclusive destination for a regenerating nature’s trip.

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Palinuro

Palinuro is one of the most appreciated tourist’s seaside resorts of the Cilento. The crystal clear sea, the many sandy beaches and the central location in the Cilento National Park make Palinuro an ideal place to spend the summer holidays where there are numerous resorts and tourist villages on the sea as well as the areas equipped for camping.

Among the olive trees and the crystal clear blue sea, Palinuro has always fascinated travelers of all times, like the poet Virgilio.

Among the most beautiful beaches of Cilento there are the beaches of Palinuro, wide and sandy, as well as Blue Flags awarded beaches. Among the most recognized beaches of Palinuro there are the Saline Beach, Dune Beach and the Beach of Arco Naturale. The most famous is the Buondormire (Good Sleep) Beach, accessible only by sea.

My suggestion: you cannot spend the holidays in Palinuro without take a trip to the caves of Capo Palinuro, that have nothing to envy to the Blue Grotto of Capri.

By night, Palinuro becomes a pedestrian area with bars, night clubs, ice cream shops and various attractions as well as typical restaurants where you can taste sea food dishes and typical Cilento cuisine.

One of the most important events in Palinuro is for sure The Myth Night, which falls on August 23rd of each year and celebrates the passage of ships running from the city of Troy. One of the many opportunities to have fun on the beach between nightly swimming and camping.

The Capo Palinuro lighthouse is worth visiting especially for the magnificent panorama that opens in front of you. It is the second highest in Italy over 70 meters.

Therefore, Palinuro is one of the most sought-after summer destinations of Cilento, ideal place for those who want to relax at one of the many tourist villages, but it is also the ideal destination for those who love to get around in a group and have fun together.

HOW TO GET TO PALINURO: Palinuro is located in the heart of Cilento and is the third largest town you meet coming from the South. It is 10 km from Marina di Camerota and 37 km from Sapri.

HOW TO GET TO BY TRAIN: Palinuro is connected to major cities of Campania such as Naples and Salerno thanks to the Salerno-Reggio Calabria railway network. The train station stop is Pisciotta-Palinuro, which is 8 km from the city center.

HOW TO GET TO PALINURO BY CAR:

From North: for those coming from Milan, Rome and Naples take the Highway A3 Salerno - Reggio Calabria and exit at Battipaglia. Continue on the SS18 towards Agropoli / Vallo della Lucania and then the still SS 18 direction Futani.

Exit then at Poderia and from there proceed towards Palinuro on the SS 562 which runs along the river Mingardo.

From South: for those coming from Calabria or Bari, from the A3 Salerno — Reggio Calabria, exit at Buonabitacolo and continue on the SS 517. Once in Policastro Bussentino turn right and take the SS 18; continuing on this road exit at Poderia and from there proceed towards Palinuro on the SS 562 which runs along the river Mingardo.

PALINURO BY SEA: Palinuro is also accessible by boat from Salerno thanks to the Sea subway.

WHAT TO SEE IN PALINURO

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  1. Walk and relax on Good Night Beach.

  2. Boat trips to the sea caves of Capo Palinuro.

  3. Diving in Capo Palinuro.

Going on vacation to Palinuro without take a boat excursion to the caves is really unforgivable.


With stalagmites and remains of prehistoric animals, the most popular is the Blue Grotto, then there is the Blood Grotto where the waters take on mostly reddish shades and the Monks Grotto, characterized by limestone formations that recall the appearance of “monks".

Among the interesting things to do in Palinuro there is a very curious rock shaped like a Rabbit! An islet topped by a thick forest that resembles a lying rabbit.

The caves are also the ideal place for diving.

After spending the time in the tourist villages and sea camps and have walked on the most beautiful beaches of Palinuro, you'll definitely want to find out what are the other things to see in Palinuro and surroundings.