Maratea: discover this medieval town lying halfway up a mountain, with great views, beaches, and a rich history.

marateaMaratea is a charming little shore village in the Basilicata region of Southern Italy. Its commune is the only one in this region to border the Tyrrhenian Sea. Its coastline extends for around 32km, and features over twenty beaches. Much of it is rocky, however its waters are clear, and it does also have sandy beaches. As such, it is a simple, though well-rounded, beach resort.

Other than the sea, the area has a very varied landscape. Here you will find steep cliffs, tree-covered hills, and even mountains. The landscapes even extend underground. The Grotta di Maratea displays many fascination stalagmite and stalactite formations. Such is its scenery that the cave is sometimes nicknamed “cave of wonder”!

Maratea, the medieval old town of the eponymous commune, lies on the northern side of Mount San Biagio. It sits so far up the mountain because of the Saracen control of the Tyrrhenian Sea in the 900-1000s AD. When these troops started to sack local villages, inhabitants fled up the mountain. Thus, more settlements began to appear in the higher parts of the mountain. Today you can still visit Acquafredda, Cersuta, Fiumicello, Porto, Marina, Castrocucco, Santa Caterina, and Massa Brefaro.

In the old town you will find the Maratea Basilica. This is actually built over an Ancient temple to the Roman goddess, Minerva. It arose in the 6-7th Centuries AD. It moreover holds the remains of Saint Blaise, in honor of whom the inhabitants processes through the town every year.

The area is great for nature lovers! The surrounding region has plenty of hiking opportunities, greenery, and breathtaking views. Over the town itself you will see the impressive statue of Christ the Redeemer. There are also paths that will take you up to where it stands, from where you can look out over the town.

The nearest airport to Matarea is Salerno-Pontecagnano. It lies on the Naples-Reggio di Calabria train route, and also offers a few local buses that will take you to the surrounding villages.

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