city on the Gulf of Policastro, girdled around by mountains rising
above the pleasant valley, echoing the voices of its outlying hamlets,
Maratea is the only portion of Lucania on the Tyrrhenian Sea, where
it stretches for about 30 km, astride the provinces of Cosenza and
Although the birth of the town cannot be dated with absolute precision,
there are some unmistakable indications. For example, its name and
several other place-names (Calicastro, Racia, Profiti, Filacara, Santavenere)
would justify situating it in or around the Greek period, as recent
archaeological discoveries appear to confirm. Whereas the name and
origins certainly go back to the Greek colonization, the most ancient
document on the city, a bull of Alfano I, Bishop of Salerno, dates
from the year 1079.
subsequent centuries Maratea would have followed the political fortunes
of southern Italy, always, however, managing to obtain from successive
dynasties of the Kingdom of Naples numerous privileges for its freedom-loving
in a strategic position on the side of Mount St. Blaise, at the foot
of the age-old hornbeams, still guarded by its three towers - symbols
of the City - Maratea stretches out towards the sea, from which it
cannot be seen. Under the picturesque mantle of their reddish roofs
with chimney pots here and there, the little houses congregate around
the white bell tower of the Mother Church.
Reminiscent of a Christmas crib scene, the narrow streets wind along
from Capocasale to the small central square, leading the visitor under
ancient arches, past stone doorways and up flights of steps, all redolent
The many churches, housing important works of art, the chapels, the
convents and the monastery, the crosses and the obelisks, all bear
witness to the profoundly religious spirit of the people. Every year,
on the feast of St. Blaise, they traditionally renew their faith,
re-enacting, in the joyous springtime of the second week in May, a
solemn ceremony of liturgy, costume and folklore. Home of a flourishing
cultural movement in all fields, Maratea, since the days of long ago,
has always followed its own star. It can boast such avant-garde buildings
as the Pino Institute, a music school for girls, or the hospital of
Lieto, first unit of the present complex.
versatility of the people and their artistic flair can be seen from
their gastronomic and handicraft achievements, which display their
skill in hand-weaving. Their friendliness towards others is a sure
sign of that hospitality which is the hallmark of happy holidays.
its commanding and inaccessible position and its fortifications, the
Castle has been the true protagonist of the history of Maratea, ensuring
the town's freedom from the bonds of feudalism.
Focal point of the old City, of which the ruins still remain, it now
stands guard over the Basilica of St. Blaise, formerly a pagan temple
dedicated to Minerva. The breastplate of its patron saint, which escaped
the ravages of the iconoclasts, has been preserved in the basilica
In front of the Sanctuary, on the summit of the mountain which rises
steeply above the sea, stands the Redeemer, robed in white, a majestic
silhouette against the sky. Beneath his arms, outstretched in the
Sign of the Cross, lies a panorama of enchanting natural beauty.
The great statue of Christ, resplendent in its facing of Carrara marble,
dominates the Gulf of Policastro and rivals that of Corcovado in Rio
de Janeiro. It
a Popal basilica which is a symbol of the town. The historical centre
of Maratea took form around the year 1300, and has remained unaltered
to this very day. The port of Maratea, a small jewel set between the
coastal rocks and the Tyrrhenian sea.