Start | The List | Tentative | Timeline | Connections | Community | Missing | Forum | Map | Blog | About

Cilento and Vallo di Diano

Cilento and Vallo di Diano
The Cilento is a cultural landscape that has blossomed in prehistoric times and the Middle Ages. Because of its geographical location, it played an important role in Mediterranean trade, culture and politics.

Colonization by the Greeks started here in the 7th century BC, as part of the development of Magna Graecia (the towns founded by Greeks along the coast of South Italy and Sicily). Agropoli and Poseidonia were among these new colonies, later followed by Elea.

Most of the towns and trading routes fell into decline after the region became part of the jurisdiction of Rome (3rd century BC). Only in the Middle Ages these revived, and castles and religious buildings were added to the landscape that is characterized by its east-west mountain ranges and favourable climate.

Visit January 2005

From my hotel in Paestum, I explored this rather large area in two stages. On the first day I visited the archaeological remains in Paestum itself. The ancient Greek buildings are in an unbelievable good condition. They are the best examples I've ever seen, they may even be the best around in what's left of Ancient Greece. The local museum is also worthwhile, especially to see the painted coffins like the Tomb of the Diver (as old as 480 BC).

Two days later I got back in the car and criss-crossed the valleys. I had some trouble finding the places I wanted to see (that happens quite often), so I spent more time behind the wheel than I had hoped for. But I did reach ancient Elea, where the round Porta Rosa gate overlooks its surroundings like a medieval tower.

In Padula, on the other side of the valley, the San Lorenzo charterhouse is a mighty building. It shows a far more recent episode in Cilento's history: the design is mainly Baroque. The city of Padula itself is strategically built on a hilltop, which you see quite often in this region. Roccagloriosa and Roccadaspide are two other good examples of these medieval building tactics.


Philipp Peterer (Switzerland):
Paestum is the most underrated place I visited so far on my various trips to WHS. The three temples, especially the Apollo temple, are outstanding. No other Greek or Roman temple I saw so far can match them. Paestum together with Velia would deserve a separate WHS instead of being tucked together with the rather unspectacular villages and places that are included in the same world heritage site.
Date posted: January 2015
john booth (New Zealand):
This site covers a huge area, including a wealth of coastal, rural and mountain scenery. Besides this I took trains to find the ancient Greek enclave of Velia (near Ascea station) with its mosaics. I then returned to Paestum (which has its own station) to see the statuesque temples of Athena, Neptune and Hera, all reminiscent of Athens.
Trenitalia runs a bus service from Battipaglia down the Vallo di Diano to Padula which I took to visit the huge San Lorenzo monastery.
Date posted: September 2011

Have you been to Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park with the Archeological sites of Paestum and Velia, and the Certosa di Padula ? Share your experiences!

Add your own review

Site info

Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park with the Archeological sites of Paestum and Velia, and the Certosa di Padula
Country: Italy
Inscribed: 1998
Cultural Heritage
Criteria:  (3) (4)
Category: Human activity, Cultural landscape

Site history:
1998 Inscribed
Reasons for inscription
Derived from the former TWHS Paestum, Posidonia and Certosa di Padula

Site links

Official website:
»Parco Nazionale Cilento

In the news:
» Crowdfunding to raise 50,000 EUR for Paestum (30-12-2013).

Related links:
» Paestum - Temples.
» The Monastery of Padula.
» Sacred sites.
» Paestum in Campania.

Related Forum posts:
Not available

Getting there

This WHS has 3 location(s).


Cave dwellings .
Cisterns . Libraries . Theatres . Tumuli . Vineyards .
Dripstone .
Mediterranean shore .
Ancient Greek colonies . Archaeological "Type Sites". . Neolithic age . Palaeolithic and Mesolithic .
Human Activity
Grand Tour . Locations for playing sport . Secret Locations .
Religion and Belief
Goddesses .
Built in the 17th century . Built in the 6th century BC .
WHS Hotspots
Campania hotspot .
WHS on Other Lists
Global Geoparks . World Biosphere Reserves .
World Heritage Process
Cultural sites rejected for Natural criteria . Derived from more than one TWHS . Relict Cultural Landscapes .

© WHS 1997-2016