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The territory

The heart of the Cilento is at about 160 kilometres from Naples and extends from Paestum to Sapri, respectively the northern and the southern borders of the coastal area. The territory covers a surface of approximately 180.000 hectares. It is the second largest National Park of Italy and has been declared by UNESCO as Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage. Behind the official acknowledgements lies a magic strip of land that offers a wonderful spectacle even to the most distracted traveller: the sea, mountains, beaches and woods, are all accessible in this area. The unique qualities of the territory and its magnificent offerings with its amazing panoramas seem to shake the numbness out of people living normally a chaotic daily life. Spending a holiday in the Cilento means discovering new spots of uncontaminated nature and experiencing a close contact with an ancient culture of great hospitality.

The coastal area is certainly a cause of great pride of our territory. The beauty of the depths of the sea, the long seashores of fine sand, the bright inlets and perfumes of the Mediterranean vegetation can be understood and enjoyed only by living in them. Also in full summer it is possible to open the beach umbrella and to enjoy the seashore without being overwhelmed by crowds of tourists or by bathing establishments which fortunately are quite scarce in the area. The incomparable blue of the sea demonstrates the excellent quality of the waters which for years have been awarded both the Sails of Legambiente and the Blue Flag of European beaches.

The Mountains of the National Park of Cilento and Vallo di Diano reach up to 2000 metres height. An example is the Alburni Mountain Range. In Cilento still exist hundreds of footpaths, alleys, mule tracks, stairs and little mountain streets, which not long ago were the only communication roads in this area, that were used by farmers, shepherds and pilgrims. The strong relationship between mountain and sea is deeply inherent in the culture, in the traditions, and in the economy of this area, where very different environments are located at short distances from each other. You are offered the opportunity to travel all over this area thanks to a network of paths and excursion itineraries which are in constant evolution, leading you through a world full of suspense.
Cilento is full not only of wild and breathtaking landscapes, but also of history, art and culture. The magnificent history and amazing varied landscape of the Cilento are exalted by the evocative vestiges of the ancient cities. It was here that brave Greek sailors landed and built prosperous cities such as Poseidonia, then baptized Paestum, and Elea, now called Velia. Visitors who happen upon Poseidonia-Paestum remain speechless by the sight of the temples, the painted tombs and the shrines scattered around the area. The Phoceans landed on Cilento's shores and founded the Greek city of Elea. Italy's first school of philosophy developed exactly here to Parmenide's and Zeno's time.

Elea-Velia was also base of a famous medical school and acquired fame thanks to the healthiness of the thermal springs, the prosperity of trade as well as the efficient laws, but above all, for the philosophical speculation. In this way Cilento marked the advent of civilisation and the beginning of the Mediterranean's multicultural dimension.
On the limestone ramparts of the Alburni Mountain Range, traces of old pagan cults can be found; prehistoric man left a monolith at "Costa Palomba" and many of his utensils can be found while exploring the caves and caverns. The magical "Costa delle Sirene" boasts sandy beaches, spectacular natural archways, inlets and bays. Watch-towers that were built to protect against pirate invasion, are still holding out against the elements and the centuries.
Visiting the inland you will see pretty, little mountain villages with its centres intersected by covered passageways and narrow alleys; ancient squares with rustic inns; manors with turrets and castles often restored and given new life; old churches still showing inside their artistic paintings, frescos and decorations. Some villages like Roscigno Vecchia and San Severino di Centola, have been abandoned lending an eerie atmosphere to these "ghost towns". Some other medieval villages like Cuccaro Vetere and Pisciotta look just like a living museum. Others offer an amazing view on sea and valleys.

  

We could go on and on, but even a thousand images aren't enough to tell Cilento's story.

Just go and discover it by your own

Cilento Arcadia wishes you a good journey!.