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Maratea, Province of Potenza, Basilicata

The territory of the town, the only center of Basilicata on the Thyrrhenian, occupies the 30 km between Sapri in Campania and Marina di Tortora in Calabria. Situated at the foot of Mount San Biagio in a wonderfully panoramic position on the enchanting Gulf of Policastro, it is deservedly known as "the pearl of the Thyrrhenian Sea".

Info

  • Altitude: 310 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 5,400 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 85046
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0973
  • Frazioni and Localities: the municipality includes the popular seaside resorts of Acquadredda, Cersuta, Fiumicello, Porto, Marina and Castrocucco, and in the mountainous hinterland Massa, Brefaro and S. Caterina, while to the west of Mount San Biagio are Curzo and Campo.
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Provinces of Basilicata
Basilicata region
Matera | Potenza

The Territory

The landscape is various and outstandingly beautiful, with green vegetation everywhere, small beaches and rocky bays, the mountains behind as a protection from the cold winds. The old medieval town centre of Maratea Centro, also called "Castello" rises at the foot of Monte San Biagio, and still has its original medieval street-plan with narrow streets and stairways. On top of the "Castello" around the Santuario-Basilica, there are the ruins of the ancient Greek Maratea.

History - Antiquity

The earliest historical settlement took place on the Mount San Biagio, where the Greek colonizers founded a town. Some hisotriand also identify this colony with the Roman Blanda Julia that disappeared in the 8th century AD. More recent excavations would however identify the location of Blanda on the souther border of the territory, at the mouth of the Noce river. Some unknown event brought about the destruction of Blanda Julia, and the refugees founded the medieval Maratea in a higher position.

An ancient settlement was found also along the coast at "Santavenere", where items and documents show the presence of a temple to goddess Venus. It is therefore possible that both Santavenere and Castello joined in one center. In Roman times the small isle of Santo Janni was used to produce the "garum", a fish-based salty sauce in great demand in Rome, used to flavour dishes; on the sea bottom around the island naby anchors have been found, and on the island there are still the stone basins used to produce the garum.

History - The Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages the population most probably moved to live to the Castello, for a better defense. The fortress at top, originally a military garrison, was enlarged to include within its walls most of the houses of the town; two main doors were opened in the walls: Porta Santa Maria, the main entrance, and the Porta dei Carpini leading through steep paths to the hinterland where the orchards and farming lands were situated. Under the Anjou Maratea enjoyed many privileges and was granted an independence from the feudal lords.

What to see

    The Christ of Maratea
  • 11th–12th-c. church of San Vito
  • The Castle, the center of the medieval town now mostly in ruins
  • The Basilica di San Biagio, next to the castle, on the spot of a former temple to Juno, preserving since 732 AD the chest of the saint.
  • on top of the promontory the giant statue of Christ, covered in Carrara marble with arms wide open in a cross sign, second only to the Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro.

Where to stay