Maratea and Paestum back on the west coast
Trip Start Apr 17, 2009
58Trip End May 09, 2010
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
Unfortunately, we arrived at the peak of the Italian vacation season (mid August) and the area was extremely packed. The beaches, which we mentioned before did not impress us in southern Italy, were unbelievably crowded with hundreds of chairs, umbrellas, and tourists. The hotel rates had been raised for the high season and restaurants were packed solid at night - assuming you could even get a table.
The old town of Maratea is a very nice hillside village with steep cobblestone streets, fountains, and beautiful mountain and valley views
At night the streets were jam packed with Italian vacationers and we were about the only non-Italian tourists there. On our first night we had not made reservations at any restaurants and went from place to place where we were repeatedly told “sorry, all booked up tonight.” We finally found a place where we ordered a couple of decent pizzas for our dinner.
The next day we took our car up the coast to see some of the other towns in the area and were not overly impressed. The area would probably have seemed quaint and charming if there had not been thousands of beachgoers swarming the streets of every village and town we visited. It made driving a nightmare and just was not much fun.
Also, we were really shocked at the litter issues across southern Italy. This is not the case in northern Italy. However, in southern Italy there is a stunning amount of trash and litter everywhere - even along the country roads
For our last night in Maratea we did make a reservation at a small place that was part bar and part meat/cheese shop. Our hotel desk clerk told us about it. We sat outside at an old wooden table on the cobblestone street. The staff brought us enormous plates of cured meats, sausages, and cheeses from all around the region. They also brought us local vegetables and good wines. The staff was very nice, and we had a great dinner in a very cool setting.
The next day we drove back to Salerno in order to drop our car off, spend the night, and catch the morning high speed train up to Milan in northern (clean) Italy
On our way we stopped to see the ruins of the Greek and Roman town called Paestum. We had heard about the ruins but did not expect much from them. We were wrong. You can wander the old stone streets and along many blocks where ancient houses once stood. However, unlike Pompeii, the ruins of the houses here are just two or three foot high bases- not really much to see. The town’s three 2,500 year old Greek and Roman temples, however, are some of the best preserved temple ruins in Italy. They were beautiful and majestic and we were really glad we had made the trip to see them.
Another side note- that night in Salerno we ate at a small, local restaurant located on a back alley. We had read about it on the internet as having the best local food and pizzas. The place was called Vicolo della Neve and they truly had the best pizza we had in Italy- the sauce was amazing with tons of oregano and the toppings were simply cheese and a few capers. The crust was thin and the flavors of the sauce, cheese, and capers were out of this world YUM!!!!