Beaches, Mountains and Ancient Ruins: Welcome to the Cilento

This is real Italy -- from picturesque port towns, to rich culture and everything in between.

The following was submitted by Grand Voyage Italy news staff.

It’s rare that voyagers to Naples and the Amalfi Coast travel much farther south past Salerno, but with its ancient Greek temples, rocky coast, picturesque port towns, sandy beaches, thousands of square miles of national park with its wild orchids, river rafting, mountain trekking and biking paths and even a ghost town or two, the Cilento Coast is a worthwhile destination.

This isn’t a very touristy area–aside from Italians. There won’t be much English spoken in the villages and towns. If you come during the Ferragosto (August holiday), when most Italians are taking a month-long vacation, the sandy beaches will be crowded with Italian families and in some areas, wall-to-wall beach umbrellas. But most other times of the year, the Cilento Coast is laid back and definitely not on the tourist radar, although there are miles of sandy beaches and beach towns along the coast.

This is Middle Class Italy at its best. You will see a mix of quaint towns, abandoned buildings, built-up beach resorts, construction projects seemingly at a standstill, rustic cabins and trailer camping grounds, Greek ruins, fantastic surprisingly great family ristorante, cozy and flowery B&Bs, Norman and Saracen watch towers, hilltowns and mostly fishing boats in place of luxury yachts.

The climate is mild in the Cilento, even at the shoulders of the tourist season. Early spring and late fall will still have temperatures in the mid-sixties, during the day–cold for Italians, but fine for the rest of us. And even in November, the rainy season is not really that rainy–about nine days per month on average. The best news: even in August, the historic averages are in the mid eighties, due to both the sea breezes and the cool air coming down from the mountains.

The sunsets are also better on the Cilento because the sun sets over the sea, unlike on the Amalfi Coast where the sun sets over the mountains in the direction of Capri. And if you love mountain biking, SCUBA diving, fishing, trekking and exploring grottoes and caverns, then the Cilento is a place to explore…

Paestum: Greek Temples Older than Ancient Rome

Paestum (originally named as Poseidonia, honoring the god Poseidon) was founded by the Greek Achaeans around 600 B.C. as a major city and trading port with a system of roads, temples and defensive walls. It was an attractive site due to its fertile fields, sea port and access to the inland mountains. Continue reading at Grand Voyage italy.

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