From Maratea to Metaponto, among lush vegetation and wide open beaches
Maratea is the only town of Basilicata by the Tyrrhenian Sea. It has 9,32 miles of beautiful rocky coastline, covered with more than 20 beaches. One of the main characteristics of Maratea is the variety of its landscapes: Maratea is a sea town, but it has also great hills and mountains (whose slopes fall down into the sea). Maratea’s Old Town The principal urban centre of the town (called Maratea Centro-Storico, which means “Maratea’s Old Town”) is situated on the north hillside of mount San Biagio, but there are also others outlying districts: Acquafredda, Cersuta, Fiumicello, Porto, Marina, Castrocucco (situated on the coast), Massa and Brefaro (situated on the overlooking hills). The principal vegetation of Maratea are oaks, pines, bushes of rosemary, holm oaks, and wild fennel.
The port, an ancient centre connecting Maratea and its hinterland with the rest of the world, offers a harbour for both old fishing boats and modern sailing vessels and is surrounded by a handful of multicoloured houses. The town, perched on the side of Monte S. Biagio, stretches out towards the sea under the red roofs embattled with chimney pots and grouped around the main church’s white bell tower. The narrow alleyways wind along towards small squares, like in crib scenes, and feature ancient arches, stone portals and worn down staircases.
Follow this itineraries:
Maratea to Metaponto
Pollino National Park
Just behind Maratea is the town of Padula (exit Padula-Buonabitacolo of the A3 Salerno/Reggio Calabria highway) where you can admire the magnificent Carthusian Monastery of S. Lorenzo, one of the most important yet least well known monuments in the south of Italy and the largest Carthusian monasteries in Europe.
The whole religious establishment including church, convent, cloisters, courtyards and gardens stretches out over a total of more than 5 hectares. To have some idea of its size and accommodation capacity, just remember that in 1535 Charles V stayed there together with all his followers and legend would have it that to feed them all, the monks had to prepare an omelette using 1,000 eggs. The Baroque facade dates back to the 1700s and is decorated with statues of saints. The church features a number of altars and chapels and the complex boasts choir lofts, refectories, kitchens, guest quarters, libraries, fountains and even a cemetery. Some will undoubtedly remember that Francesco Rosi’s wonderful film “C’era una volta” with Sophia Loren and Omar Sharif was set there.
A second itinerary covers the other side of the coast, the one facing the Ionian Sea.
The nature changes completely from Maratea to Metaponto, which looks onto the Gulf of Taranto. Woods slowly give way to endless pine forests and wide stretches of beach running out to the sea, and small towns and villages, hidden among the flatland vegetation. Some rare, protected species of tortoises live in this still unspoilt environment that forms the Metaponto Nature Reserve. This is another of the region’s treasures. Here you will not find the jutting, breathtaking landscapes of the western side, but rather endless, linear, horizons facing east.
In Metaponto itself, to the north of the modern city, you can find the ancient archaeological site of Metapontum (Visits – summer 9am-7pm, winter 9am-4pm). The city was founded by the Greeks in the 7th century BC and present day digs occupy an area of approximately 200 hectares where you can admire th e remains of the Park of Apollo Licio which included the 6th century BC Ekklesiasterion Theatre, the Temple of Apollo Licio, the Temple dedicated to Hera and another erected in honour of Athena. If you carry along the main road, you come to Matera, the city of “stones” or rocks from which the city gets its ancient name.
The city is of Neolithic origin and has two neighbourhoods, Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano, which have made it famous thanks to the book – “Christ stopped at Eboli” – by Carlo Levi. Two areas where the houses are dug out of the ravine on which the city stands.
A visit to Pollino National Park (Information: Palazzo Amato, Via Mordini 20 Rotonda -Pz – Tel 0973 661692). Our trip aims to immerse you in a wonderful, unspoilt, natural kingdom, capable of provoking strong emotions in visitors. The landscape of Maratea is a surprise in itself: it quite simply takes your breath away when seen from on high.The road that leads to Pollino National Park, which is about an hour away from Maratea, is an unforgettable experience.
The road is enveloped in strong, penetrating fragrances and contrasting colours with the emerald green Mediterranean vegetation and cobalt blue sky. Wherever you look, the natural environment is gentle and at the same time impressive – an unspoilt miracle to be enjoyed at your leisure.
The park is the largest, new, protected area in Italy and includes the areas of th e Calabrian and Lucan Southern Apennines where trekking trails – ‘Between the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas’ are organized.
The trails cover the upper Via dei Pini Loricati. ‘Pino loricato’ (loricate pine), a rare type of tree, perhaps the oldest in Italy, is extremely common in this area and has become the symbol of Pollino Park. In ancient times this street formed the commercial axis between the two sides of Italy. The trail is followed with the help of a guide, with stops in shelter and monasteries, and is recommended for experienced trekkers.
Filed under: Maratea itineraries | Tagged: a maratea, campania, del pollino, maratea, metaponto, national park, natural tourism, natural tourist, nature reserve, padula, padula italia, parco del pollino, parco nazionale del pollino, pollino, roman finds | 4 Comments »