Pisciotta is one of Italy’s undiscovered localities and it is quite possibly one of its most beautiful. It is moreover part of the Cilento and Vallo di Diano Natural Park. The medieval borgo sits atop a hill and lightly tumbles down the gentle slope that rolls down to the water’s edge. Caught between the sea and the sky on the border of these awe-inspiring mountains, you will thus find Pisciotta in an idyllic bubble of paradisal nature.
Such is the settlement’s seclusion that it boasts extremely well-preserved medieval exteriors. Wandering around this town it may even appear to be frozen in time. Its traditional and characteristic atmosphere transports you back to a different era completely. On the summit of the hill you will also find a castle; in its center you can visit a beautiful church dedicated to the Saints Peter and Paul. Within this you will moreover find a painting of Saint Francis that miraculously survived a fire in the mid-17th Century during a Turkish siege.
The houses of Pisciotta seem to almost sit on top of each other, leaving only very narrow vicoli to navigate between them. In the past, this had a very practical purpose. Such streets made it very difficult to penetrate and navigate the town for any pirates or plunderers wishing to sack the area. Today, all that remains of this strategic planning are the pastel-colored façades and enchanting little back streets. In fact, the peace that pervades this settlement is undoubtedly one of this area’s greatest pulls. Here you will find the older inhabitants catching up with neighbors over a game of cards and housewives chatting away whilst hanging their laundry out to dry.
All around this settlement you will find olive groves that date back centuries to the time of Pisciotta’s Greek colonization. The olives here are an intrinsic part of the town’s heritage, and to this day the local farmers hand pick their products come harvest. The breed that grows here is the Pisciottano olive. It is famous for its longevity and its incredible resistance to drought-like conditions. Many centuries back, the olive oil produced here was a great source of commerce and income for the town. Today you can still taste and purchase this typical Pisciottano product.
As mentioned just above, Pisciotta first belonged to the Ancient Greeks. According to legend, Trojans fleeing from their destroyed city found their way to Sires and then headed westwards. They eventually arrived at what is now Seluce, and then continued to the Tyrrhenian Sea. Here they created the colony of Pixous in the Gulf of Policastro. This colony has since had various rulers and thus a variety of different names, too. Pixous became Pixocta, then Pissocta, Pichotta and finally Pisciotta.
One of Pisciotta’s most beautiful locations, and arguably one of the surrounding area’s too, is the stunning Marina Pisciotta. This beach is one of many along this stretch of coastline with crystal-clear waters and sandy or white-pebble beaches. In fact, the area bears the Blue Flag for to its cleanliness and natural beauty. What is more, the undiscovered nature of Pisciotta means it is a space of national importance. Other beaches that you can find in the area include the sandy Pietracciaio, and the pebbled Torraca, Gozzipuodi and Acquabianca.
In the summertime, you can take boat tours around many of the island’s little coves and grottoes. For example, you can make a visit to the vibrant Grotta Azzura. As the name suggests, here you will find bright azure and turquoise waters within a small grotto-cave. The light that forces its way through the entrance lights up the water as if it were illuminating it from below. This creates an ethereal azure glow between the water and the cave’s walls.
One of the fantastic things about Pisciotta is the fact that it lies in such breathtaking surroundings. Sitting within the Cilento Natural Park, you have a vast expanse of protected nature to explore on your doorstep. There are countless opportunities and activities throughout this park. That said, even by staying within Pisciotta you will not be at a loss for what to do. You can simply soak up the tranquil atmosphere of this untouched area of Italy by taking a book down to the marina and dipping your feet in the sea. This is the perfect place to reset completely in a location far away from Italy’s otherwise tourist-ridden cities.