Itineraries...

As well as days on the beach, La Francesca is also a base for interesting and original excursions.

A wealth of routes take the visitor from sea to mountain, in this harsh and wild land where history and memory remain in caves inhabited by prehistoric man, in the architecture of villages nestled on hilltops, in noble palaces and ancient monasteries rich in spirituality.

You can leave the Village on age-old mule-trails which clamber high above the coast, among the heady perfume of rosemary and Mediterranean plants; discover the ruins of ancient towers between tantalising glimpses of the infinite sea that bewitched Ulysses and Palinurus.

The picturesque town of Scario nearby deserves a visit too; with its enchanting promenade of elegant residences and the old quarter of Sant’Anna.

Taking a road steeply uphill through the green olive groves brings you to San Giovanni a Piro at the foot of Monte Bulgheria, with marvellous views down over the Gulf.Lungomare Scario

 

Exploring its tangle of narrow streets you can admire beautiful houses with arches, coats of arms and portals in local stone; its churches, and, just outside the town, the ancient Monastery. Above the town, perched on a rocky spur, is the Santuario di Pietrasanta, destination of votive pilgrimages in thanks for a miraculous spring.

Santuario PietrasantaNearby, a paved road leads to the "Pianoro di Ciolandrea”, a striking natural terrace overlooking the Tyrrhrenian Sea and Calabria; on a clear day you can see as far as the Aeolian Isles.

On the way back, the little village of Bosco is worth a detour. Sprawled on a hillside facing the sea, it is famous for being burned down by the Bourbons during the Cilentan revolt in 1828; but also because it was home for over twenty years to the Spanish painter Josè Garcìa Ortega, friend and pupil of Picasso, who came here after being persecuted and imprisoned in his native country by the Franco regime. In memory of the townspeople who fought for freedom, he left a wonderful ceramic mural. Many of his works are on show at the newly opened "Casa Ortega" museum.

 

Quadro OrtegaIn the distance, almost like a nativity scene, is the ancient town of Roccagloriosa, on the slopes of the Capitenali mountains. Just outside the town is the site of Osca di Leo, dating back to the 4th - 5th century BC, and the ruins of a vast necropolis; numerous grave goods can be seen in two small museums.

Diving back into the green we reach the WWF Oasis of Morigerati, a small medieval settlement; olive groves give way to oaks and chestnuts. Here the landscape is almost lunar, eroded by wild watercourses into deep gullies leading to Europe's largest sinkhole, that of the river Bussento, which runs underground for 6 km.

Further north the same limestone phenomenon appears in all its glory in the awesome galleries of the Pertosa and Castelcivita cave system.San Severino

On the return journey, a modern highway leads to Marina di Camerota and Palinuro, famous for their natural beauty, with stretches of coastline peppered with numerous caves alternating with wide golden beaches, where myth and legend blur.

Before reaching the sea, the abandoned village of San Severino di Centola clings to the rock, its castle and tumbledown houses bear witness to life in days gone by.

 

Porta Rosa VeliaEvidence of this area's links to Ancient Greece can be found in the archaeological sites of Elea-Velia, founded by the Phoceians of Asia Minor for whom it was an important base for philosophy and medicine. 
In this evocative site the famous Porta Rosa can be seen, as well as the remains of the theatre, the holy well, the acropolis and the foundations of many houses.Ori di rocca museo

La-Certosa-di-PadulaTravelling a little further north we find Paestum, a flourishing city founded by the Greeks who named it Poseidonia, with its monumental and well-preserved Doric temples and imposing boundary wall. 
An impressive museum tells the story of the city and reconstructs the tale of its discovery.

 

teggianoNot to be overlooked, and forty-five minutes away by car, the Vallo di Diano has two important sites. La Certosa di San Lorenzo a Padula is one of the biggest monasteries in the world, founded by Benedictine monks and magnificent in its architecture, size and artistic treasures; and the splendid town of Teggiano, with its Castello dei Principi di Sanseverino (9th to 12th century) and its ancient churches ranging from 9th to 14th century.

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