Cilento, South Italy, the hidden treasure
Perhaps you’ve never heard of the Cilento. It’s a secret. It’s just south of the Amalfi Coast in the Salerno province of southern Campania. It has some nice beaches with very clean waters. Unlike the Amalfi coast it doesn’t have those well-known villages spilling into the sea like glitter on an Olympic gymnast’s cheeks. It also doesn’t have the crush of tourists afraid of driving the winding roads. The Cilento, you might be happy to know, has been structured to dismiss mass tourism, while making personal tourism much more compelling. Over 100km of fine beaches, many of them flying the coveted blue flag indicating exceptionally clean water, are ready to embrace your work-suffering body from April to October. In a great part of the territory of Cilento and Vallo di Diano there was instituted, on 1991, a national park, to protect the territory from building speculation and mass tourism. In 1998 the park became a World Heritage Site of UNESCO. In this sparsely populated land of mountains and valleys you’ll come across some of the finest buffalo mozzarella you’ve ever tasted. Yes, this is the place in Italy where the buffalo roam. Sure, you’ve heard of the three stunning Greek temples at Paestum, home to some of the best preserved ancient Greek temples in the world. Paestum is also home to a cluster of buffalo farms that produce Italy’s best mozzarella di bufala. You’re less likely to know about the Cilento’s other compelling archaeological site, Velia, originally founded by Greeks around 538–535 BC and called Hyele. Another bright jewel is in Padula. Recognized in 1998 by UNESCO a World Heritage Site, the Certosa di San Lorenzo, also known as Certosa di Padula, is certainly one of the most beautiful places in the province of Salerno. The wonderful Certosa di San Lorenzo, makes the City of Padula the main destination of religious tourism in Campania as well as being among the most impressive monuments of the Italian artistic heritage. Architectural style is almost predominantly Baroque, in fact there are very few survivors traces of fourteenth century. The complex has about 350 rooms and covers an area of 51,500 m² of which 15,000 involved only the cloister, the largest in the world. Certosa di San Lorenzo, with its vast extension is second only to the Charterhouse of Grenoble in France.