The Cilento National Park

art & culture, Campania, nature, Unesco World Heritage

The Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park, the second largest park in Italy, extends from the Tyrrhenian coast to the foot of the Campania-Lucan Apennines. The Park is an area of inestimable environmental, landscape and cultural value. It is a paradise for lovers of the sea and nature and the coast is still wonderfully wild.

The magnificent Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park, with the archaeological sites of Paestum and Velia and the Certosa di Padula, were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1998.

Italy,Cilento, archaeological site of Paestum, the Temple of Athena (also known as the Temple of Cerere).

Italy, Cilento, archaeological site of Paestum, the Temple of Athena (also known as the Temple of Cerere).  (foto ©  Shutterstock.com)

Punta del Telegrafo is one of the most evocative areas of the Cilento Coast. Located south of the coast of Ascea, it takes its name from the Saracen tower of the same name on the promontory. On the promontory there is also a very suggestive path, the “Lovers’ path”, one of the most loved trekking paths in Cilento, from which you have a spectacular view over a large part of the coast. It is a path almost exclusively made of steps that offers a breathtaking view of the Gulf of Velia and Punta del Telegrafo, allowing you to also see Capo Palinuro. The Lovers’ path is of unique beauty and plunges into the characteristic Mediterranean scrub of Cilento, including quite challenging ups and downs, and then offers breathtaking views. The Lovers’ path is about 2 km long and has a total difference in height of 140 meters. The path is anticipated by 12 footbridges and 8 wooden platforms that serve to preserve the dunes and the flora of the beach of the Ascea Marina cliff. The path can be faced both by those who love trekking and by tourists who want to enjoy an enchanting view of the Gulf of Velia.

A medieval bridge over the river Calore near Felitto in the Cilento National Park, Campania, Italy

A medieval bridge over the river Calore near Felitto in the Cilento National Park, Campania, Italy.  (foto © Iakov Kalinin / Shutterstock.com) 

The Gole del Calore (Gorges of Calore) are another of the wonders of Cilento. Over the years, the Calore river has carved out the rocks, creating real gorges: the torrential water, during floods, creates eddies of water that dig into the rocks, creating large circular holes. The Gole del Calore are located in the locality of Remolino, a few minutes from the town of Felitto and can also be reached on foot from the town. Here it is possible to carry out numerous activities, from canoeing to trekking, but also refreshments and picnics, as well as swimming into the river Calore. A wonderful place to spend a day immersed in nature.

The abandoned medieval town of San Severino di Centola is another place to visit in Cilento. The town, inhabited until a few decades ago, is a real medieval town, with baronial palaces, churches and ancient houses, castles and towers, even if only the foundations and some ruins remain of the latter. It is an enchanted town overlooking the valley of the Mingardo river, on what is called the Cilento Canyon.

Lovers' path, Punta del Telegrafo on the Tyrrhenian coast of Ascea Marina. Cilento, Salerno, Campania, Italy

Lovers’ path, Punta del Telegrafo on the Tyrrhenian coast of Ascea Marina. Cilento, Salerno, Campania, Italy   (foto ©  Shutterstock.com) 

The Pianoro di Ciolandrea is a wonderful terrace located in San Giovanni a Piro. The terrace was inaugurated in 2019 and is one of the most evocative places in the Cilento area. The Pianoro di Ciolandrea is divided into two parts, the highest part has a stone floor and glass parapets, to allow an even wider view. Below, however, there is a large green lawn with benches and wooden fences. Located over 600 meters high and overlooking the sea almost overhanging, Ciolandrea offers an unparalleled view. The San Giovanni a Piro viewpoint offers a view over 4 regions, starting from Campania with the Masseta Coast and the Gulf of Policastro, but also Basilicata with the Christ of Maratea, Calabria and Sicily.

From the Pianoro di Ciolandrea it is possible to reach some beaches through numerous paths that branch off from the San Giovanni a Piro viewpointThen we also have Mount Gelbison (or Mount Sacro), which is located in the territory of the municipality of Novi Velia, a few steps from Vallo della Lucania and is a must for all the faithful who go to the Cilento area. The Sanctuary of the Madonna del Monte Sacro is one of the highest peaks in Campania, located at over 1,700 meters above sea level and dominates the entire coast, offering breathtaking views and panoramas. The summit can be reached by car, but the last 100 meters of altitude difference can only be covered on foot by a long staircase.

 Text: Luca © Italien.blog

Panoramic view from Pianoro di Ciolandrea, near San Giovanni a Piro. Cilento, Campania, Southern Italy.

Panoramic view from Pianoro di Ciolandrea, near San Giovanni a Piro. Cilento, Campania, Southern Italy.   (foto © Shutterstock.com) 

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