We fancied a seaside weekend away from Rome, for some sun and beach time now that it’s a bit quieter but the water is still warm. So this time we picked Cilento, south of Salerno, in Campania. I’d heard it was pretty, so we chose San Marco Castellabate and off we went for a long weekend. Here we are at the public beach, with the town of Castellabate visible up the hill. That’ s where most of Benvenuti al Sud is set, the Italian remake of “Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis”. The neighbouring small town, Santa Maria Castellabate, can be seen further along the beach.
Castellabate, up the hill. It was relatively easy to get to San Marco Castellabate. Train from Roma Termini to Agropoli-Castellabate (about 3 1/2, 4 hours, 19 euros each). Then local bus CSTP to San Marco (1.60 euro). It took a while to find the right bus stop, as it is not right outside the station and mid-afternoon buses are once an hour…. But with the help of locals, we found the right stop (two blocks down from station, then main road to the right). The bus is blue, and stops at a roundabout just outside town, but handily next to the most divine pastry shop/tavola calda, so that was lunch sorted.
Gorgeous pastries, at bivio San Marco. La Toretta, I think? People kept popping in to buy trays of pastries, which is always a good sign. Well-fed, we strolled down the road to the town centre and our hotel (Hotel Mareluna). My friend had chosen it for the pool, but it was also just a stairway away from the public beach. Lovely clear water, despite being near the harbour.
Cilento sunset. Very pleasant cliff path. It was a low-key weekend, maybe as people with older kids were back in town for school. It may be very busy in high season, but we had a lovely tranquil time. Most of the time in the water, either at the beaches or the pool. Not many tourists, and not that many hotels or restaurants, but really relaxing. The next town (Santa Maria) over has more tourist infrastructure, but we just wanted to swim and relax, so we were happy.
We were lucky. Coldiretti (Confederazione Nazionale Coltivatori Diretti), the big farmers’ association, was having an event in San Marco Castellabate this weekend, on the Friday and Saturday. Hugely popular.
They were frying up masses of plates of gamberi (shrimp) and some small fish, served in heaps with lemon wedges and a glass of local white wine on the side. It smelled just amazing! You can see the line, these people have already paid and are waiting for their food. Really nice atmosphere.
There were also some stands with local producers, and this is a lovely wild strawberry liqueur. We bought one bottle for us, and some small bottles for gifts. Then we bought clover honey, local hazelnuts in honey, hazelnut spread, hazelnuts with chocolate (as you may have gathered, they grow hazelnuts there), wild oregano, and some aged goat ricotta….. Those may not survive long enough to be gifts! Here you can also see some soppresata, a local salami from the butcher’s the last day.