The Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park, the second largest Italian national park and World Heritage site, is maintaining unchanged the harmony between nature and thousand years of history and will enchant visitors with its amazing landscapes.
Cilento is a territorial area in the province of Salerno, in southern Campania. Together with the Vallo di Diano, in Roman times Cilento was part of Lucania;
from the Middle Ages onward it belonged to the Principato Citeriore, also called "Western Lucania" but under the city of Salerno.
In ancient times, the Cilento territory was identified among the towns at the foot of Monte Stella (1131 m); this area is referred to as "Cilento antico" and is partially included in the national park.
The name Cilento, from the Latin "cis-Alentum," meaning "on this side of the Alento River" appears as early as 994 A.C. and was given by the Benedictines, who erected churches and monasteries there, which became population centers.
The Cilento was taken over by Prince Guaimarius IV, who was later ousted by Roberto il Guiscardo in 1076. Thus arose the barony of Cilento, which, at the beginning of the 12th century, passed to the Sanseverino family (princes of Salerno), who held Cilento until 1552.
Beginning in the late 1800s the place-name attracted the area of the former barony of Novi (Vallo della Lucania and its neighbors) east of the river. For objective reasons it was intended to extend Cilento to a large part of the southern coastal and inland province of Salerno.
Since 1991, as a result of the establishment of the Parconazio Nale del Cilento e Vallo di Diano, much of Cilento's territory has been protected. Some 181,000 hectares of land, 8 mountain communities and 80 municipalities fall within the protected area. The institutional headquarters of the park authority is located in the most important center of the area, Vallo della Lucania.
Flora and fauna
Cilento's climate is classified as warm and temperate. Winters are wetter than summers in Cilento. This climate is considered to be Csa according to the Köppen-Geiger climate classification.
Fees and permits
- Agropoli is a large coastal town which offers a good base for exploring the Cilento. It has a quaint old town perched upon a promontory, with a medieval castle and picturesque port. Along its coastline 'Lungomare' there are a lot of restaurants, hotels and shops.
- Santa Maria Di Castellabate is a very popular tourist resort with a good selection of beaches, hotels and restaurants.
- Paestum is a 6th-century BCE Greek town with 3 large impressive temples. The ruins are open all year round, along with a museum nearby.
- Castelcivita has some spectacular caves called 'Le Grotte Di Castelcivita'. Guided tours take around an hour and cost €10 per person.
- Velia, near the coastal town of Ascea has interesting archaeological remains from the early Greek settlers, and later the Romans. Admission is €3 per person, and takes around 3 hours to explore.
In August many Cilento villages celebrate Sagras, which are eating festivals where you can try all kinds of typical local dishes. Zeppola/Zeppule are ring doughnuts covered in sugar. Fiorilli/Sciurilli are egg and flour fried courgette flowers. Lagane e Ceci is chickpeas with long flat pasta strips. Mulugnane m'buttunate/ melanzane imbottito is eggplant stuffed with breadcrumbs and flavouring, and pan fried.
- In Agropoli, good restaurants are 'Il Buttero' on via Pio Decimo, 'La Brace' on Via Risorgimento, and 'La Barracuda' on lungomare.
- At Paestum, visit a traditional Casereccio (dairy) to buy fresh Mozzarella buffalo cheese, popularly known as Bocconcini.
- Lacrima Cristi (the tears of Christ) from Naples, is a strong red wine.
- Paestum produces a couple of local wines.
- Grappa is a very strong clear spirit which is made locally in all the villages.
- Amaro Lucano is a local aperitif.
- Borgo Riccio, ☏ +39 0974 831554, email@example.com. Strada Provinciale 86, n°56. A great bed and breakfast with private rooms in the tranquility of the Cilento and Vallo del Diano National Park. Clean, cozy and friendly. Cooking facilities, English speaking staff, library.
- B&B Baia di Trentova, Via Filippo Patella 13, ☏ +39 0974 829444. The warm family atmosphere, the small number of guests, the peacefulness of the country setting, combined with the intense scents of the sea and the countryside make “Baia di Trentova” the ideal location in which to spend your holidays throughout the year.
- B & B Le Gatte, Via Salita San Giuseppe, 9 84060 Prignano Cilento (It is easily reached by the SP 430 Superstrada, and 10 minutes drive from the coastal town of Agropoli.), ☏ +39 333 3170898. A small lodging house. It is open all year round.
- [dead link] Oliveta Agriturismo. Oliveta Agriturismo is a bed and breakfast located in Prignano Cilento. It offers good food, and four double bedrooms. Full- and half-board holidays may be booked. It is open all year round.
When hiking in the Cilento, be aware that there are some natural hazards. There are vipera (Vipers) and cinghiale (Wild Boar). Vipers are poisonous and need to be identified and avoided. They are around two feet long and grey/green in colour. Wild Boar are numerous in the Cilento, and can attack if they are with their young. Wild Boar are nocturnal, and can be seen after sundown.