Departure point of our itineraries is Santa Maria di Castellabate, hamlet of Castellabate, together with San Marco and Ogliastro Marina.
Castellabate, the oldest town of the district, is located on top of St.Angel hill (280mt), from which is possible to admire a stunning panorama on the Gulf between Punta Tresino (on the northern side) and Punta Licosa (on the Southern side).
Castellabate is made mainly of narrow stone-paved streets in-between of rich families properties and small old stone houses; interesting is the Castello dell’ Abate (Abbot’s Castle, from which the town takes its name), built in 1123 AD by Costabile Gentilcore, abbott of Cava and originally from Tresino area, to defend the population from the Saracens and Turks raids. It was military and political headquarter, as well as trading station among the most important of Southern Italy.
Also interesting is the Church dedicated to Holy Mary of Gulia (in medieval terminology, de gulia means “from/of the top”).
Today, this beautiful town and its hamlets is one of the most visited destination of Southern Italy.
Monuments and visit-worthy locations
– Basilica of Santa Maria de Gulia: built in romanic style during the 12th century AD
– Sanctuary of Santa Maria a Mare: built in 1826 in Santa Maria di Castellabate on a pre-existent chapel of 12th century.
– Church of St. Mark Evangelist: built in 1911 in Giuseppe Comunale square in San Marco di Castellabate.
– Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie: built in John Paul II square in Ogliastro Marina in 1896, enlarging the existing chapel built in the 17th century. Dedicated to the Holy Mary after the numerous “miracles” and graces towards the sailors of the area. In 2011 the facade has been upholstered in stones and a sign laid on the same saying “Ave Stella Maris” (Hail star of the sea).
– Church of Sant’Antonio da Padova: built in 1925 in Lago.
– Church of Santissima Immacolata: built in modern style, with a four storeys bell tower and numerous glass windows, in Mother Teresa’s square in Lago.
– Church of Santa Rosa da Lima: located in the namesake square in Alano, on its bell tower there is a statue of Holy Mary of Lourdes.
– Church of San Giovanni: built in 957 AD by Ligorio di Atrani in Tresino. The building annexed to the monastery, deconsecrated, has been abandoned.
– Chapel of Santa Maria del Soccorso: built on Punta Licosa harbor to offer shelter to sailors, beside Granito Palace.
– Chapel of Piety (16th century): name comes from a sculptural group portraying Michelangelo’s Piety.
– Chapel of San Pasquale (18th century): incorporated to Perrotti Palace.
– Chapel of San Biagio (17th century):built by Luzio Matarazzo in 1628 to bury his son, dead young, and his family until 1930.
– Chapel of San Leonardo (17th century): property of Antico family.
– Chapel of San Giovanni (18th century): property of Forziati family.
– Chapel of Santo Rosario (16th century): property of the namesake brotherhood. Previously dedicated to St. Bernardino, is located on the parvis of the Basilica of Santa Maria de Gulia.
– Chapel of Santa Maria della Scala (17th century): patronate of Perrotti family.
– Chapel of San Cosimo (16th century): once property of Tata family and used as shelter for plague-ridden in 1656 and cholera-ridden in 1836.
– Chapel of Santa Maria della Pace (17th century): property of Perrotti family.
– Chapel of Santa Maria del Piano (16th century): once a Dominican monastery property of Perrotti family.
– Chapel of Santa Sofia (19th century): property of Pepe family and located in the center of Santa Maria di Castellabate.
– Chapel of San Marco (16th century): restored in 2012; property of De Angelis Family and located close to the harbour of San Marco di Castellabate
Civilian Architecture highlights:
– Belmonte Palace: is a nobiliar building with an annexed park of 5ha, property of Princes Granito Pignatelli of Belmonte, built in Santa Maria di Castellabate in 1733, unifying pre-existent buildings; originally a hunters’ house, as per the typical spanish architects style under the Borbone family, King of Naples.
– De Angelis Palace: a nobiliar building built at the end of 19th century in San Marco di Castellabate. On the main gate, made on local stone, there is a epigraph written during the 19th century in latin saying: “Inveni portum. Spes et fortuna valete. Sat me lusistis. Ludite nunc alios” (Found the harbour, goodbye hope, goodbye luck, you cheated me enough, now cheate others); the epigraph might be originating from one written on a Greek tombstone, infact the same area was once a necropolis.
– Granito Palace: a hunters’ house built during the 18th century by Parise Granito which, together with the closeby Chapel of Santa Maria del Soccorso, faces Punta Licosa; it was once of the holiday homes of King Charles of Borbone, a hunting and fishing enthusiast and Granito family friend.
– Perrotti Palace: residence of baron Perrotti, located on the namesake seafront promenade of Santa Maria di Castellabate
– Porto Travierso: also called “Porto delle Gatte”, is a small harbor located in Santa Maria di Castellabate and built in the 12th century AD by abbott Simeone; it has been of primary importance for the growth of the area, for trading and military purpose. Under the stone-made arches there were some storage rooms used to store local merchs (cereals, wine, olive oil, etc…) frequently traded with Cava dei Tirreni and Naples. Today it hosts small recreation boats, mainly during summer period, and small fisherman boats.
– Torretta: located in the namesake area of San Marco di Castellabate, is a fortified farm of the 17th century AD, property of Granito family, used to produce and store various agriculture products. The tower (Torretta means literally “small tower”) was used as sighting spot and defence against potential raiders. To the “Torretta” are linked the legends about the “ius primae noctis” spent by the Marquis Granito with the local young wives of his subjects; ius primae noctis is the right, executed by the nobiliar and lords of the times, to spend the first night of marriage of every newly-wed with them.
– Villa Matarazzo: it was the summer estate of the Count Francesco Matarazzo, whom emigrated to Brazil during his childhood and there became an important entrepreneur until reaching the title of Senator. It has a large park around the main building which is today used, especially during summer time, as location for events, displays, open-air cinema projections, and shows.
– Villaggio San Giovanni: is an old village founded in Tresino around year 1000 AD, unhabitated since the 18th century due to the development of the closeby towns of Castellabate and Agropoli, and the consequent abandon of the farms. The area is now frequented only by tourists, as the area was the born place of Costabile Gentilcore, founder of Castellabate and abbott, and farmers.
10th October 1123 square
The medieval inhabitated area is located on Saint Angel hill and has five accesses: Cavalieri and Di Mare gates from sea-side, La Chiazza and Saint Eustachio gates from the land-side and De Li Bovi gate from the back-side. The main access is from “Saint Costabile belvedere”, a large terrace with a great view on the Gulf of Salerno, Capri and Ischia islands. The town is developed around the walls of the Abbott Castle, founded in 1123AD by abbott Costabile with the aim of protecting the local population and its trades from attacks from Saracens. The castle has perimetral stone-made walls with four round-shaped towers at the corners and has rooms, kitchens, storages and all necessary to survive potential enemy invasions, including underground tunnels to reach the marine hamlets to allow escape in case of necessity. The structure, completely restored, is now a primary importance location for art displays and other cultural and social events, while the closeby town, with its stone-paved narrow streets and small bridges connecting the houses, is location for healthy tourists which in some cases have bought properties here.
The Coastal Towers
Torre Pagliarola and Perotti Palace on the beach of Marina Piccola:
The defensive system of Castellabate was made of numerous coastal towers, built to sightsee any potential danger from the sea, in particular Saracen ships, as a first barrier against foreign invasions. The best kept is the norman tower of “Pagliarola” or “Perrotti” which, with the closeby Perrotti Palace, dominate the Marina Piccola in Santa Maria di Castellabate; it has a circular base, surrounded by a smaller tower, built later. The oldest towers, of which is possible to see the ruins, are the “Tresino”, “Licosa”, “Ogliastro” and “Torricella” towers, all built in the 16th century. These stationings, located in strategic points of the territory, were communicating to the “mainland” through smoke or fire signals and, in case of attack, all the population was rushing to the abbott Castle.
Fusilli alla cilentana
Il principale collegamento stradale è la ex strada statale 267, declassata in strada regionale.
I tratti che collegano il territorio ai comuni limitrofi sono:
Strada regionale 267/b Agropoli (ospedale)-innesto SP 430 (svincolo Agropoli sud)-innesto SP 15 (San Pietro)-innesto SP 237 (Sant’Andrea), principale collegamento con Agropoli e la strada provinciale 430;
Strada regionale 267/c Innesto SP 237 (Sant’Andrea)-bivio Montecorice-bivio Agnone-Innesto SP 15 (Acciaroli), principale collegamento con Pollica, Casal Velino e la strada regionale 447
Le strade provinciali che attraversano il territorio sono:
Strada provinciale 15/a innesto SR 267(San Pietro)-Madonna della Scala-Perdifumo-Mercato Cilento-Sessa Cilento-innesto SP 116;
Strada provinciale 61 innesto SP 15-Madonna della Scala-Castellabate-Santa Maria-Innesto SR 267;
Strada provinciale 70/a innesto SR 267-San Marco di Castellabate-Porto turistico;
Strada provinciale 70/b innesto SR 267-Torre di Ogliastro Marina-Ogliastro Marina;
Strada provinciale 151 innesto SP 70-Piazza San Marco-Pozzillo di Castellabate;
Strada provinciale 237 bivio Sant’Andrea-Contrada Lago;
Strada provinciale 336 innesto SR 267-Annunziata;
Strada provinciale 359 innesto SR 267-Alano.
Il Comune è servito dalla stazione di Agropoli-Castellabate, situata nel comune di Agropoli (distante circa 12 chilometri da Castellabate) sulla linea della Ferrovia Tirrenica Meridionale.
Porto di San Marco
La struttura portuale (con capitaneria dipendente dal circondario marittimo di Agropoli) è stata realizzata nel 1954 a San Marco e ospita la flotta da pesca locale e barche da diporto. Contiene circa 413 posti barca per imbarcazioni di lunghezza entro i 16 metri. I fondali oscillano tra i 2,5 e i 3 metri. Il porto, completamente banchinato sul lato interno, è riparato ad ovest da un molo di sopraflutto a tre bracci e ad est da un moletto di sottoflutto a scogliera. È uno scalo estivo del metrò del mare, che collega con partenze giornaliere Castellabate con Napoli, Capri, Positano, Amalfi, Salerno, Agropoli, Acciaroli, Casal Velino, Palinuro e Sapri.
I trasporti urbani tra le varie frazioni comunali vengono svolti con autoservizi di linea gestiti dalla società cooperativa SMEC autotrasporti. Il servizio interurbano è garantito dalle linee del CSTP.
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