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Cilento National Park

Italy's second-largest national park, the Cilento and Valley of Diano is a UNESCO World Heritage site that features wild forests, verdant hills, and unspoiled coastline. It's also close to Paestum and other sights in Southern Campania.

Major Sights & Activities

  • Hiking - see the Cilento Hiking Page
  • Beaches - beaches with very clean water
    • Acciaroli (along coast S of Castellabate)
    • Marina di Casal Velino and Marina di Ascea 
    • Marina di Camerata
    • Palinuro has good beaches (e.g. Spiaggia della Marinella, Spaiggia Marmelli)
  • Palinuro - beautiful promentory with caves you can explore by boat
  • Grottos - a number of caves are in the region such as Castelcivita, Pertosa (the largest caves in southern Italy), San Michele
  • Velia Greek Ruins - an old Greek town that was part of Magna Grecia
  • CastlesCastel del Abate in Castellabate and Castelnuovo Cilento
  • Cute towns - vairous towns, among the most recommended are Pisciotta, which has an old-school anchovy fleet and hilltown
  • Certosa di Padula/Certosa di San Lorenzo - the largest monestary in Italy and a World Heritage Site
  • SCUBA Diving - various places near Palinuro offer great diving opportunities

Places to Eat

Roughly from north to south
  • Trentinara - East of Paestum (1:00)
    • Locanda Lu Vottaro - “rustic, romantic eatery” with fresh seasonal ingredients, wild greens/herbs, open for lunch if you book ahead, popular on TripAdvisor, Slow Food Planet 2016, Osterie d’Italia 2016 [Antiche Mura also popular on TripAdvisor]
  • Agropoli - old town founded by Greeks, has market, just S of Paestum (:38)
    • ?Il Ceppo - restaurant/hotel, via Madonna del Carmine 31 (outside town on road to Vallo), 097-484-3036, closed Tues, sea view, rec'd by Carla Capalbo, Gambero Rosso, Espresso, Michelin, and TCI, ~€40-50 or lunch ~€18-26.
    • Polito - cheesemaker rec'd 2015 Repubblica
    • Agriturismo Marino - rec'd Carla Capalbo for house-made wines (nearby is another producer, Botti)
    • Ristorante La Veranda - rec'd Carla Capalbo
    • ...also a branch of Gelateria Antica di Matteo on via Patella 22, rec’d TCI for nuts, ricotta/pear/fig, prickly pear, lemon, wood strawberries...see Torchiara (below) for more
  • Castellabate - hill town near the coast in the Cilento, S of Agropoli (:25)
    • Giacardandia - Località Cenito San Marco, 097-496-6130, restaurant/hotel, rec'd by Alice
    • I Due Fratelli - Località Santa Maria, Via Sant'Andrea, 097-496-8004, rec'd by Espresso and Michelin
    • La Taverna del Pescatore - Località Santa Maria, Via Lamia 1, 097-496-8293, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia and Michelin. 
    • San Marco di Castellabate: Ristorante K Cilento, rec’d 2015 Repubblica
    • Castellabate: Il Chiostro Vineria rec’d 2015 Repubblica
    • La Taverna del Pescatore in Santa Maria di Castellabate - rec’d by CH
    • Arlecchino (rec’ Lonely Planet for views, popular with families, good grilled sepia and ricotta/pear cake)
    • Lido dal Pincio (rec’d Lonely Planet, informal beachside)
    • Il Caicco - rec'd NYT for seafood and white figs
    • Il Capriccio (rec’d Lonely Planet, popular with locals)
    • ?Agriturismo Giacaranda / Trattoria Lyceo Mediterraneo - rec'd Carla Capalbo ("one of Campania’s loveliest"), Conde Nast Traveler, and Luciano Pignataro
    • Luigi Maffini - winemaker rec'd by Carla Capalbo
  • Area inland of Agropoli/Castellabate:
    • Prignano Cilento - town known for figs, E of Agropoli (:44)
      • Santomiele - rec’d Golosario di Paolo Massobrio 2016 and 2015 Repubblica
    • Torchiara (:38)
      • ??Sant’Antonio di Torchiara: Gelateria Antica di Matteo - Piazza A. Torre 13, rec’d TCI, Luciano Pignataro, Scatti di Gusto, Dissapore in 2013 and 2015 (ranked #6 in all of Italy!), Golosario di Paolo Massobrio 2016, Slow Food Planet 2016
      • Casa Albini B&B - rec’d Carla Capalbo
    • Valle dell'Angelo - hill town *well* inland from Paestum/Agropoli (1:46)
      • ??Osteria La Piazzetta - Piazza Canonica Iannuzzi 2, 097-494-2008, 097-494-2747, rec'd Slow Food Osterie d'Italia (still in 2016), 2015 Repubblica and Mangiarozzo forsimple, hearty dishes, homemade pasta and dishes, rooms for rent, warm welcome
    • Cicerale - hill town inland from Agropoli (1:00)
      • Osteria Arco Vecchio - Via roma, 097-483-4187, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia
      • Casale Denazzano - Golosario di Paolo Massobrio 2016 rec's for chickpeas
      • ??Agriturismo Corbella - rec'd Slow Food Planet 2016, also rec’d Carla Capalbo, Agrodolce, Luciano Pignataro in 2012 and 2011, cilento food, aromatic herbs like borage, in wild valley
    • Rutino - east of Castellabate (:43)
      • Cantine Barone's Pietralena Aglianico was named one of the three best red "everyday" (<€10) wines in Campania by Slow Food, Via Giardino 2, 097-483-0463
  • Montecorice - seaside town just S of Castellabate
    • ##Paisà - Via Marina Nuova 12, 347-102-8926, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Osterie d’Italia 2015 & 2016, not in Slow Food Planet
  • San Mauro Cilento - further inland from Agnone Cilento/Acciaroli/Montecorice (:25)
    • ###Cooperativa Nuovo Cilento/Al Frantoio - Località Ortale, 097-490-3243, a "laboratory" trattoria with great, innovative food, ocal produce, wild herbs/greens, farming cooperative, handmade pasta, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia (still in 2016), Luciano Pignataro, Carla Capalbo ("honest, rural food" cooked by ladies who run the place), and Espresso, ~€20.
  • Acciaroli (:17)
  • Casal Velino (:31-:38)
    • Locanda Le Tre Sorelle - “quiet, romantic restaurant” with good fish, view of sea and open-air terrace, rooms for rent, Slow Food Planet 2016, Luciano Pignataro
    • (Marina di) Casal Velino: I sapori della terra, grocery store that has cilento figs, olives, etc.
    • Il Molino: place with gluten-free baked goods/flours
    • I Moresani Agriturismo - has horses, farm/store with slow food presidium (in Osteria d'Italia 2016/Slow Food Planet 2016) goat cheese, olives, rec'd Lucian Pignataro in 2011 and 2014, Scatti di Gusto
    • La Dispensa di Teodora - food specialty shop rec'd Carla Capalbo
    • inland in Acquavella: L'Arenaro - goat milk cheese rec'd Carla Capalbo
  • Ascea (:46)
    • Caseificio Chirico BenedettoGolosario di Paolo Massobrio 2016 rec’s for mozzarella nel cesto
    • 2015 Repubblica rec’s agriturismo Aurella 
    • Agriturismo Le Favate - rec'd Carla Capalbo for olive oil and 1600s villa (they also have produce, jams, limoncello made on the property), also rec'd 2015 Repubblica
  • Pisciotta - cute hill/seaside town just N of Palinuro (1:00)
    • ?Da Angiolina - open 50 years, traditional, local fish, popular on TripAdvisor, rec'd by TCI, Gambero Rosso, Mangiarozzo, 2016 Slow Food Planet, Carla Capalbo
    • Perbacco dal 1987 - Osterie d’Italia 2015 & 2016, 2015 Repubblica (although not in Slow Food Planet)
    • Principe di Vallescura
    • Villa Mare Luna
    • Osteria del Borgo is popular on TripAdvisor
    • Angiolina - 3 shrimps by Gambero Rosso in 2015 Ristoranti d’Italia
    • Alici de menaica - slow food presidium producer
    • A’Machina / La Locanda del Fiume - rec'd Luciano Pignataro
  • San Mauro la Bruca - inland from Pisciotta (1:17)
  • Torre Orsaia - hill town in NE of Palinuro (1:24)
    • Slow Food Osterie d'Italia rec's Da Addolorata - Via Pulsaria 15, 097-498-5669, ~€15.
  • Palinuro - seaside town with good beaches an sea caves (1:17)
    • Da Carmelo
    • Da Isidoro
    • Lido Ficocella
    • Sant'Agata
    • Bar da Siena (Lonely Planet says best gelato in town)
    • Pasticceria Egidio (Lonely Planet rec’s for pastries)
  • San Giovanni a Piro - a bit inland/south/east from Palinuro (1:27)
    • Incontro, on Lungomare Marconi, Località Scario, 097-437-1009, rec'd Gambero Rosso
  • Camerota - town in Cilento, south/east of Palinuro (1:33)
    • ?La Cantina del Marchese - Via Marchese 13, 097-493-2570, rustic restaurant serving typical Cilento food, <€25/person including wine, rec'd by Carla Capalbo ("rustic-style but simpatica"), Slow Food Osterie d’Italia 2015 & 2016, not in Slow Food Planet
    • Rianata 'a Vasulata - via San Vito 25, 097-493-5427, another rustic, cheap restaurant rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia and Mangiarozzo
    • Ristorante Brera - most popular Cilento restauarant on TripAdvisor
    • Antica Trattoria Valentone - rec'd Carla Capalbo as oldest trattoria in Marina di Camerota that serves "simple, flavourful dishes"
    • inland in Celle di Bulgheria: Arcella Coop - a place working on saving heirloom fruit trees, rec'd Carla Capalbo
  • Vallo della Lucania - hill town in the Cilento, SE of Castellabate...much further inland than Montecorice/San Mauro Cilento (~45 min S on SP430 from Paestum)
    • la Chioccia d'Oro - Bivio di Novi Velia, 097-470-004, closed Fri, Alice says it may be "the most loved restaurant in this area", rec'd by Gambro Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Ialia, Espresso, Michelin, 2015 Repubblica, and TCI, ~€22-25, lunch special €15.  Also has rooms for rent. ...we ate there in 2012 and enjoyed it (don't miss the view from the tower in the historic center of Novi Velia)
    • U' Parlatorio - Via San Pietro Celestinio 66, Località Massa, 097-476-210, closed Mon, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Espresso, ~€22-25.
    • Oleificio Emilio Conti - Via Naionale Massa 11, Località Massa, 097-475-826, 333-226-7684, Carla Capalbo calls Emilio Conti "one of Italy's true olive oil experts"
    • Vineria Lo Spechio - Piazza Valenzani 57, 097-475-636, wine shop rec'd by Carla Capalbo
  • Padula - town deep inland, near A3 on the way to Calabria, has Certosa (monestary) (2:00)
    • Fattoria Alvaneta - Corsa da Alvaneta, Località Pantagnoni, 097-577-139, closed Tues, family restaurant, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, ~€18-22.
    • ?Taverna del Lupo - Luogo Municipio 8, closed Mon, Sun evening (except summer), near San Lorenzo monestary, great ingredients, family-run Cilento specialties, good torta di cioccolata, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Slow Food Osterie d'Italia, Lonely Planet, and Mangiarozzo, 097-577-8376.
  • Caselle in Pittari - hill town deep in the Cilento (1:34)
    • Slow Food Osterie d'Italia and Carla Capalbo rec'd Ristorante Zi' Filomena on Viale Roma 11
  • Policastro Bussentino
    • Il Ghiottone - rec’d 2015 Repubblica, was Osterie d’Italia 2015 & 2016, not in Slow Food Planet
    • Torre Orsaia (N of Policastro Busentino): Da Addolorata (Osterie d’Italia 2016)
    • Morigerati (N of Policastro Busentino): Osteria dei Compari (Osterie d’Italia 2016, 2015 Repubblica...also rec’s Rosella restaurant and salumeria Cellito)
  • Ispani - inland/east of Policastro Bussentino
    • Cantina Carlino - rec’d 2015 Repubblica
  • Sapri - all the way south, just north of Maratea (in Basilicata) (1:32)
    • ??Crivella Gelati & Dessert - named by Dissapore in 2015 as one of the top gelaterie in Italy; also rec'd Golosario di Paolo Massobrio 2016
    • Forneria Zicca - Golosario di Paolo Massobrio 2016
    • Restaurant Tintobrace - rec’d 2015 Repubblica
    • ’A Cantina i Mustazzo -  rec’d 2015 Repubblica
    • La Chocolatera - Carla Capalbo

Resources

Where to Stay

  • Via Forana 1 - in Laurito, a small village in the Cilento mountains (not to be confused with Positano's Laurito Beach); beautiful villa run by an English-speaking couple (wife Suzanne is American) www.viaforrania1.com --> alas, closed!
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