The Cilento and the Vallo di Diano areas are since 1991 inside the same protected natural oasis, the National Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni Park, recognized since 1998 Unesco World Heritage.
The Cilento area is renowned as the “Land of myth” because in ancient times it hosted Greek, Lucanian and Roman settlements.
All year long, in particular during summertime, those villages along the coast and those in the inland offer performances and festivals, where you can taste typical Cilento products.
FOOD AND WINE TRADITION
Food and wine are features for which you can hardly forget about Agropoli. Its food is linked to fishing tradition and to Mediterranean diet. Legumes, blue fish, milk products and fresh seasonal vegetables never lack on the table in Agropoli, as well as those worldwide known and appreciated excellence products, such as DOC wine and DOP (Protected designation of origin) olive oil and the DOP (Protected designation of origin) white fig from Cilento.
Among local products has to be mentioned Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, originally from Paestum, and the typical figs filled with nuts.
Among traditional dishes you can find fish, especially anchovies, filled or marinated and “murzelletti”, local long biscuits, best to be enjoyed drinking a cup of milk or tea.
The most favorite light alcoholic drinks are, for sure, wild fennel liquors and Limoncello.
Solemn celebrations of the town Patron Saints - on 29th June
On 29th June is a celebration day in Agropoli. From the early morning the Town church dedicated to the Saint Apostles Peter and Paul is crowded with worshippers. The statues of the Patron Saints are carried from the old town down into town among people. It’s one of the most beautiful and suggestive rites Agropoli has.
The celebration of the Madonna of Constantinople – 24th July
On 24th July Agropoli celebrates the Madonna of Constantinople, on this day, since the 70s, the statue of the Madonna is taken on a precession on the sea at night, followed by many fisher boats as a good omen.
At Luisa’s court – July and August
At Luisa’s court is an event that is set in the castle in Agropoli. During the day it is possible to see road shows, visit the costume exhibition, about cloths from 15th century to 1799 and taste traditional Cilento dishes.
The theatre road show play the history of Luisa de Molino, lady from Naples, whose life was strictly linked to the events of the Neapoletan Republic (1799). She lived some years in the Aragon Castle, at that time belonging to the family of her husband, Andrea Sanfelice.
The audience can see six different performances, following a given path. The characters of the six locations, set on the most suggestive places in the castle, will represent Luisa Sanfelice, each from their point of view. After the final scene at which the entire cast of the play takes part, the audience can taste some traditional Cilento food and visit the costume exhibition.
Christmas in Cilento is a family and village experience.
Main events on this day are the preparation of cakes and of the fòcaro, the bonfire.
The night between the 24th and the 25th December is a heartfelt gathering occasion. On previous days young people carry from the land many chunks, that are stapled in a circle on the main place to light the fire after midnight.
At Christmas time (from 25th December to 6th January) a great part of the medieval village of Agropoli is involved to play in a live nativity scene. Along the track that runs through the most suggestive medieval lanes you can admire and learn about ancient crafts, discover trades and locals, taste food of the Christmas local tradition. The track ends in the Angevin Castle, where, in the French hall, Herod’s Court is performed.
Carnival in Agropoli
Carnival in Agropoli has been for years a gay tradition that brightens up the town centre by allegorical floats parades, the dance and the joy of many masks, crowding the streets.
Agropoli, called the gate to Cilento, is an important town on the Cilento Coast.
Sea, nature, history and culture make it a fascinating place where you can spend the whole year.
It was founded in the 5th century by the Byzantines, who called the town “ Akropolis”, that means “upper town” in Greek.
Along the streets in Agropoli you can find plenty of bars and locals, serving traditional local dishes, as “Pizza Agropolese”, served in a wicker basket.
From the Agropoli port, the largest touristic port south from Salerno, you can start a trip along the Cilento Coast and to the Amalfi and Sorrento Coast.
The old village
The ancient town is highly attractive to tourists. Along the many narrow streets and among the numerous monuments there are also shops, bars and locals. You can reach it climbing up the peculiar "scaloni" street, one of the few still existing examples of rise with large steps and its monumental, very well preserved entrance door. The door is an integral part of the ancient walls, built in local stone with a branch stretching towards south and another one towards north that reconnect at the Angevin-Aragon Castle.
The Angevin-Aragon Castle, located on the promontory of the town is the seat of performances and cultural events, its goes back to Greek-Byzantine times and was originally built as a watchtower.
The town Church of Saint Apostles Peter and Paul
The town Church of Saint Apostles Peter and Paul is the oldest church in Agropoli. The church already existed in 590 A.C. when Agropoli became bishop seat. The religious building has three naves and truss ceiling. Last restoration, dating back to 1990, disclosed foundations of the original Paleochristian Church.
The Church Saint Mary of Constantinople
In the middle of the old town there is an important religious building: The Church of Saint Mary of Constantinople, patron of the seamen and dated back to 17th century. In July it becomes the destination of a characteristic procession of the statue of the Madonna arriving from the sea. According to tradition the church was built after the founding of the Madonna statue at sea. At the time of the Turkish incursions that’s in the middle of the 14th century, some infidels had tried in vain to kidnap it.
The need to defend themselves from the continuous pirate, forced the Spanish viceroy Don Pedro de Toledo to issue in 1564 the order to build an uninterrupted network of fortified towers in strategic spots on the coast line between Agropoli and Sapri.
This was the origin of all those watchtowers among which the most gorgeous it the San Francesco one.
The tower, raised sheer to the sea, has a square plant. According to a popular belief, Saint Francis on his way back from the Holy Land, paused at this place and spoke to fishes. To remind this miraculous episode a cross was stuck on the rocks (Saint Francis beach).
One of the most beautiful places in Agropoli is Trentova bay. It is the favorite place for many vacationers and tourists, mainly for its pure water and its clean beaches. It owes its name to the rock with the same name and to a legend, according to which, in ancient times, in the caves under the cliff, there were found thirty gigantic seagulls or sea turtle eggs.
In Trentova bay you can also find the “salt rock”. The cliff was used to produce salt, because its surface was made of several pits filled with seawater, and when it evaporated it left back plenty of salt. The product was collected and sold in the place called “Salecaro” (today a touristic port), because salt was sold at an increased price, including transport costs.
Framed by the natural beauty of the promontory, not far from the old town and the shopping streets, with bars, restaurants and all a pleasure-boat owner may need for his holidays. Nowadays the port in Agropoli is the biggest on the South coast of the Salerno province and can be compared to other ports on a National level, offering all services boats may need.
The slow and gradual development of the port began at the end of the 60s. Previously it was just a small natural docking characterized by a shelter for boats “U Salecaro”, and by a meeting point for local seamen, the "Fortino”, there were few boats and few houses, you could smell the flavor of salt, hear the sounds of the sea and see the sheltered nets on the beach.
The National Park of Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni
The National Park of Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni, established in 1991 became in 1998 UNESCO World Heritage. It is one of the largest protected areas in Europe (over 180 hectares), including 80 municipalities and 8 mountain communities.
The Park is characterized by heterogeneity of the territory who determines the particular diversity between the existing flora and fauna.
The rivers Calore and Tanagro across the territory followed a course which has never been changed by human intervention and, with their waterfalls and natural banks represents an ideal habitat for the largest Italian population of otters, the symbol of the Park.
The Park area is characterized by a system showing particularly interesting natural landscapes and archeological areas matched to sanctuaries and productive settlements that testify history and economy of this land going back to the origins of local population, being now the enchanting scenario of historical, economic, social, cultural, spiritual and religious events.
Cilento Coast starts in Agropoli and ends in Sapri. It’s part of a stretches of coast in Campania between the gulf of Salerno and the gulf of Policastro.
It’s characterized by an alternation of fine sand, reefs, promontories and caves dug in the rocks. There are coastal sections that can be reached only by sea, interrupted by sandy and more easily accessible beaches.
It is renowned for the excellent bathing water quality. Each year, in fact, many places along the coast are awarded the blue flag and the sails allocated by Legambiente (=Italian environmentalist association).