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Jun 23, 2010 01:59 PM

Campania recommendations

We are going to Campania for a week in July - staying about an hour south of Naples near the seaside town of Paestum. We will probably make one day trip to the Amalfi coast (Ravello) and perhaps to Naples itself, but will be south of Salerno for the majority of the time.

I'd love any recommendations people might have. Thanks!

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  1. I highly recommend this website, which has many recommendations in and around Paestum as well as elsewhere in Campania. and is amazing for wines.

    that being said, we wound up at a place called Da Nonna Sceppa, Via Laura, 53 and were very happy for our Paestum lunch. We had stuff like local chickpeas but everyone else in the place was tucking into fresh seafood platters.

    If you are driving (maybe there is a boat??, certainly there are boats to Amalfi from Salerno.) the drive from Paestum along the coast to Amalfii takes quite a while, and is not that much fun IMO, the coast drive which is the last bit is breathtaking but very challenging and not for wimps.. If you do it, cut over to the expressway for the first part. to get past Salerno. The expressway is crowded, and not much fun, but its quick.

    You can easily visit the buffalo mozzarella farms which pepper the region, and you may want to head south to Cilento, which is hillier, to catch a breeze.

    4 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb

      We have actually been to the Amalfi Coast before (stayed in a Saracen tower in Positano), and are familiar with the travails of driving in Italy! So we may skip that altogether and head to Naples or Salerno for the day instead. I won't be driving, thank God - far too scary (although not as bad as Greece!)

      Thanks for the website recs - very helpful.

      1. re: greedygirl

        Would you mind telling us where you plan to stay near Paestum? I know you have good taste in lodgings because I have long dreamed about staying in that tower!

        1. re: erica

          It's in a small village a few miles from Paestum.

          The Saracen tower was amazing. It was my first proper holiday with Mr GG and it rather set the standard! It was wonderful waking up to the sound of the waves crashing below. People would stop us (usually American) and ask us how you could rent it. Happy days....

          1. re: greedygirl

            OMG that place looks amazing! I've long wanted to base myself in that area and do some exploring and relaxing. I am sure you know about the mozzarella makers around there, but in case you are looking for an address, we stopped here while on a day trip to Paestum with a driver from our base in Amalfi:


            I cannot wait to read about your exploits! Have a wonderful time!

    2. You might wish to stop at Cetara for lunch on your Amalfi Coast day.

      1 Reply
      1. re: erica

        Yeah, Id love to do that.
        There are some good recent reports

      2. Great location! A caveat, though. It's a haul from Paestum to the Amalfi coast--you can catch the Salerno-Reggio Calabria autostrada at Battipaglia, but I'd plan on at least 2 hours each way. Since you'll be on the edge of the lovely Ciolento peninsula and its relatively unspoiled coast and park-protected interior, why not head south? Agropoli is the gateway town, then the coast road to the amazing hill town of Castellabate (perched on the sea) and beyond--Acciaroli and Pisciotta. For food and wine, Luciano Pignataro's website is a must guide. Close to your spot is Cicerale, where the country food at Agriturismo Corbella is recommended. In San Mauro Cilento, a bit farther south, the Nuovo Cilento olive oil coop has a popular country restaurant. La Taverna del Pescatore in Santan Maria di Castellabate (below the hill town) is also worth a lunch. Buon soggiorno!

        5 Replies
        1. re: bob96

          I think you're right about the Amalfi coast, especially as we've been there before. I guess it's not the actual distance but the coast road that takes the time. The hotel is only 120km from Naples - so an hour's drive on the autostrada by Italian standards!

          Thanks for the great tips. I'm getting excited now!

          1. re: bob96

            I am by no means questioning Bob, but I did take a day trip with a hired driver from my hotel in Amalfi to Paestum a couple of years ago. We visited the ruins, spent about a half hour in the mozzarella caseficio I mentioned above, and were back in Cetara in time for lunch.

            More important, Bob, sound like you know the area well: Which town would you recommend as a base for someone who has a week to explore that area with a focus on food and swimming? I am certainly tempted by GGs "find" linked above...

            There is surprisingly little info here on Campania outside the AC/Sorrento coasts and Naples, considering what a terrific food destination it appears to be.

            1. re: erica

              On the Cilento pensinsula itself, I'd suggest Santa Maria di Castellabate at the northern end, and Pisciotta (upper old town and marina) a bit farther south. In between--heard good things about the Agriturismo Principe Vallescura near town. Between the 2, there are wide stretches of undeveloped coast, with wide beaches south of Pisciotta at Capo Palinuro. Inland Cilento is mostly national park, with untouristed villages and lovely scenery. I can recommend in Castellabate (the historic town above Santa Maria) the small Hotel Il Castello, at reasonable rates, with warm service, great views of the sea, and lovely, abundant, home-cooked local food. Slow Travel has a map and guide to the area:
    , and there are a number of portals--search for "Cilento" or "Cilento Coast" (Travel+Leisure did a nice piece a few years ago.) In addition to Luciano Pignataro's website referred to above, I highly recommend Carla Capalbo's indispensable The Food and Wine Guide to Naples and Campania (Pallas Athene, dist. by Trafalgar Sq.) for all five provinces of Campania, with good coverage of Paestum and the Cilento. Cheers--enjoy your stay.

              1. re: bob96

                What a trove of helpful information! I have the Capalbo book and will now drag out a few maps! I haave Puglia planned for September but perhaps next spring, the Cilento.... Many thanks!


                1. re: erica

                  Here's a link to Albergo Il Castello in Castellabate. Owner Franca diBiasi is a gem.