Planning your next weekend escape? Why not to explore the hidden treasures of Cilento, the perfect destination to combine some relax in a beautiful landscape, visit impressive monuments and taste some specialties for an awesome food experience. Check out here the top things you can not miss!
"Colors are the smiles of Nature" - Leigh Hunt
Our itinerary in a nutschell
Day 1: Salerno
Day 2: Paestum - Agropoli
If you have more time and you will be there in summer, we suggest you to to add one day in Palinuro to swim in the crystal blue waters of Cilento as well as take part to one of the boat tour from Arco Naturale beach and lead to the wonderful Blue Grotto, less famous than the homonymous one in Capri but no less beautiful. we recommend to choose a boat tour in the afternoon from 3 to 5 pm, when the light is better and makes the blue of the sea inside the cave even more intense.
Listed in the UNESCO WW heritage list, Cilento is a hidden pearl of Southern Italy rich of beautiful natural landscapes and important archaeological sites revealing the millennial history of these places which inspired poets from ancient times.
Our 2 days itinerary starts from Salerno and continues to some of the unmissable places you can easily reach with a daily tour, perfect for all seasons.. let's start!
The best place to start the visit is without a doubt Salerno.
For this short holiday we opt for a self-drive trip with our Caravan to be free to explore the surroundings in complete authonomy and enjoy some time en plein air; anyway the city can also easily reached by train thanks to several high speed trains (for more info visit ITALO or TRENITALIA) connecting the city center with some of the most important cities (and airports) of Italy.
Our visit starts right in front of the train station, with a walk along the pedestrian area of Corso Vittorio Emanuele (a good opportunity also for a shopping tour or to sit down in one of the several bars to taste a good coffee with a slice of cake). Salerno is a charming and quiet city and it is possible to reach all the main attractions with a small walk. From here we get in few minutes to the iconic alleys of the historic centre up to the splendid Salerno Cathedral. The inner court of the church is characterized by a romanic style with a colonnade and the bell tower but the most beautiful view is surely inside in the crypt, with some amazing ceiling frescoes representing scenes from the Gospel of Matthew as well as some episodes of the history of Salerno.
From the Cathedral we continue our walk up to the beautiful "Giardino della Minerva". This amazing (and totally unexpected) botanical garden is organized in 6 different terraces and offers a huge variety of plants combined with a lovely views of the seaside. The garden was founded in the Middle age and it was used to cultivate plants with therapeutic use thanks to their active ingredients. Today it is absolutely the perfect place to take a break, relax under the sun and to taste some infusions or the typicall lemon water ice drink.
A visit of Salerno can not be considered ended without a pleasant seaview walk along its beautiful promenade.
Admiring the majestic ruins of Paestum, one of the best preserved examples of Greek Temples in Southern Italy is an umissable experience.
With a 30 minutes drive direction South we easily get to the car parking zone which is located right in front of the archaeological area. Arriving early in the morning we park our caravan without issues and with a small walk flanking the perimeter of the site we reach the ticket office, located inside of the Museum building.
Arriving early in the morning is a good choice to avoid the crowd of tourists during the visit of the arhaeological area and leaving the museum at the end.
The site itself is not huge but we spend here a full morning enjoying the quiet of the place and the several photography opportunities offered by the well preserved temples.
From the main entrance we turn left and we start our walk up to the iconic temple of Hera, also knwn as "Basilica"; a surprising architecture characterized by a strange plan and proportion, with 8x18 columns in Doric style but where we can see the temptative to soar toward the sky its columns by making smaller their diameter close to the capitals.
The building was built arund 530 BC and stands next to the temple of Nettuno.
These constructions are contemporary of some of the famous Sicilian temples of Selinunte and prove the vitality of the Greek settlements in Italy and the rich heritage they left in our territory.
Susequent is the majestic Atena temple, built around 500 BC and characterized by a more harmonious style with a 6x13 columns peripter, with higher Ionic influence.
The archaeological site is wonderful and it recall to our memory the myth of Jason and the Argonauts: the Argo's ship crew of heroes in search of the Golden Fleece. According to the tale, the Argonauts stopped in Paestum and built close to the Sele river's mouth a sanctuary dedicated to Hera to ingratiate the goddess' favour for the perilous journey.
A visit of Cilento (even if for just a weekend) can not be considered concluded without a taste of the famous "Mozzarella di Bufala" of Battipaglia area and other delicious food specialties prepared from the female buffalos milk.
The best way is to stop in one of the several farms and try these delicious products. Our choice is the "Azienda Agricola San Salvatore - La Dispensa", a nice place where we can buy excellent food and decide to take it away or to taste it directly in the lovely picnic area in their garden. There is also a restaurant if you prefer to have a served lunch.
Before leaving we decide to spend a couple of hours and to enjoy a relaxing view from the top of Agropoli, a tiny village close to Salerno with a small castle dominating the bay. During sunny days it is possible to see Capri island and the blue of the Salerno Gulf and if you want to have a walk you can get to Baia Trentova and have a swim in its beautiful bay.
To discover more about these place, have a look to our posts and stories dedicated to Cilento dated April 2019 and August 2020 on our Instagram page @2intour
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