explore south italy

basilicata - maratea

Maratea - Travel and Holiday to south Italy, accommodation by the sea or rural


Ancient city on the Gulf of Policastro, girdled around by mountains rising above the pleasant valley, echoing the voices of its outlying hamlets, Maratea is the only portion of Lucania on the Tyrrhenian Sea, where it stretches for about 30 km, astride the provinces of Cosenza and Salerno.
Although the birth of the town cannot be dated with absolute precision, there are some unmistakable indications. For example, its name and several other place-names (Calicastro, Racia, Profiti, Filacara, Santavenere) would justify situating it in or around the Greek period, as recent archaeological discoveries appear to confirm. Whereas the name and origins certainly go back to the Greek colonization, the most ancient document on the city, a bull of Alfano I, Bishop of Salerno, dates from the year 1079.



Perched in a strategic position on the side of Mount St. Blaise, at the foot of the age-old hornbeams, still guarded by its three towers - symbols of the City - Maratea stretches out towards the sea, from which it cannot be seen. Under the picturesque mantle of their reddish roofs with chimney pots here and there, the little houses congregate around the white bell tower of the Mother Church.

Reminiscent of a Christmas crib scene, the narrow streets wind along from Capocasale to the small central square, leading the visitor under ancient arches, past stone doorways and up flights of steps, all redolent of history.
The many churches, housing important works of art, the chapels, the convents and the monastery, the crosses and the obelisks, all bear witness to the profoundly religious spirit of the people. Every year, on the feast of St. Blaise, they traditionally renew their faith, re-enacting, in the joyous springtime of the second week in May, a solemn ceremony of liturgy, costume and folklore. Home of a flourishing cultural movement in all fields, Maratea, since the days of long ago, has always followed its own star. It can boast such avant-garde buildings as the Pino Institute, a music school for girls, or the hospital of Lieto, first unit of the present complex.

The versatility of the people and their artistic flair can be seen from their gastronomic and handicraft achievements, which display their skill in hand-weaving. Their friendliness towards others is a sure sign of that hospitality which is the hallmark of happy holidays.

With its commanding and inaccessible position and its fortifications, the Castle has been the true protagonist of the history of Maratea, ensuring the town's freedom from the bonds of feudalism.
Focal point of the old City, of which the ruins still remain, it now stands guard over the Basilica of St. Blaise, formerly a pagan temple dedicated to Minerva. The breastplate of its patron saint, which escaped the ravages of the iconoclasts, has been preserved in the basilica since 732.

In front of the Sanctuary, on the summit of the mountain which rises steeply above the sea, stands the Redeemer, robed in white, a majestic silhouette against the sky. Beneath his arms, outstretched in the Sign of the Cross, lies a panorama of enchanting natural beauty.
The great statue of Christ, resplendent in its facing of Carrara marble, dominates the Gulf of Policastro and rivals that of Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro. It faces a Popal basilica which is a symbol of the town. The historical centre of Maratea took form around the year 1300, and has remained unaltered to this very day. The port of Maratea, a small jewel set between the coastal rocks and the Tyrrhenian sea.


Maratea is a charming town located in the Basilicata region of southern Italy. Nestled between the sea and the mountains, it is known for its stunning beauty, rich history, and unique traditions. One of the most iconic landmarks in Maratea is the Cristo Redentore statue, which stands tall and majestic overlooking the town.

The statue of Cristo Redentore, also known as Christ the Redeemer, is a 22-meter tall marble sculpture situated on top of Mount San Biagio, overlooking the Gulf of Policastro. It was designed and built by Italian sculptor Bruno Innocenti in the 1960s and is the fifth-largest statue of Jesus in the world. The statue is a symbol of faith and devotion for the people of Maratea and has become a famous tourist attraction, drawing visitors from all over the world.

The town of Maratea is filled with narrow cobbled streets, quaint houses, and beautiful churches. Its history can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and has been influenced by various civilizations over the centuries. However, it was not until the 17th century that Maratea became an important center for the production of silk, which brought wealth and prosperity to the town.

One of the most remarkable traditions in Maratea is the annual procession of the Cristo Redentore statue on the first Sunday of September. This tradition has been ongoing since the statue was first erected and attracts thousands of visitors each year. The statue is carried through the streets of Maratea, followed by a long line of devotees and accompanied by traditional music and prayers. The procession culminates in a mass at the top of Mount San Biagio, where the statue is placed back in its original position.

Apart from the Cristo Redentore statue, Maratea is also known for its beautiful beaches. The town has a long coastline with crystal clear waters and pebble beaches, perfect for swimming and sunbathing. The most famous beach in Maratea is Spiaggia delle Grotte, which is surrounded by cliffs and accessible only by boat. The sea caves and rock formations make it a popular spot for snorkeling and diving.

Maratea is also known for its delicious cuisine, which is heavily influenced by the surrounding mountains and sea. The local dishes are simple, yet flavorful, with ingredients such as olive oil, local vegetables, and seafood. The most famous dish is the 'pezzente,' a dish made with stale bread, tomatoes, and oregano, which is a traditional peasant meal.

The people of Maratea are warm and welcoming, and their hospitality adds to the charm of the town. There is a strong sense of community and tradition in Maratea, and this is evident in the many festivals and events that take place throughout the year. The Feast of San Biagio, the patron saint of Maratea, is celebrated with a religious procession and a traditional market selling local products.

In conclusion, Maratea is a town that captivates visitors with its breathtaking scenery, rich history, and unique traditions. The Cristo Redentore statue, the annual procession, the beautiful beaches, and the delicious cuisine are just some of the features that make Maratea a must-visit destination. Whether you are seeking a spiritual experience, a cultural adventure, or simply a relaxing holiday, Maratea has something to offer for everyone.