Just a couple of hours’ drive south of Naples, the Cilento region remains one of Italy’s best kept secrets. A 100km rugged coastline, mountains, Greek temples, the country’s second largest national park and allegedly, Italy’s best buffalo mozzarella .... what more could you possibly need?
Beaches in the Cilento
Caribbean-style clear water and a string of Blue Flag beaches characterise the coastline which ranges from wide sandy beaches around Acciaroli and Palinuro to the smaller hidden bays around Scario and at other points along the coast. Coastal highlights include boat trips or diving excursions to the blue-water caves at the Arco Naturale near Palinuro. Take a look at some of our hotels near the beach in the Cilento.
Cilento’s mountainous interior
Head inland into the Cilento’s rugged interior, into a landscape of dense woods, rivers, waterfalls and dramatic mountains dotted with hilltop towns. If caving is your thing, visit the Castelcivita and Angel caves at Pertosa where you can take a boat trip on a subterranean river.
Olive oil, sweet white figs and a delicious square-shaped local salami, ‘soppressata di Gioi’, are all foodie treats in the Cilento. On the organic Tenuta Vannulo mozzarella farm, the buffalo are elevated to VIP status, with vast pastures and relaxation areas to ensure production of the best milk for the creamy mozzarella, ricotta and yoghurt. For something a little fishier, head to tiny Pisciotta where anchovies, with a spattering of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice, are king. At the Locanda San Fantino farm estate, you can take a course in foraging for wild herbs and plants, and dinners are prepared with home-grown produce accompanied by wine, herbal teas and liqueurs produced on the estate.
The region has strong literary associations with Goethe, Shelley and Hemingway. It is also home to three UNESCO World Heritage sites. Top spot is the Graeco-Roman city of Paestum which contains some of the world’s best-preserved Greek temples, with Velia, founded by the Greeks in around 538-535BC, coming a close second. Inland, Italy’s largest monastery, the Certosa di San Lorenzo at Padula is well worth a visit, not least for its magnificent cloister and library.
Greek temple at Paestum