Cilento National Park

A Natural Haven of Beauty and Biodiversity

Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni National Park

Nestled in the southern part of Italy, the Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni National Park stands as a testament to the country’s rich natural heritage. Established in 1991, this sprawling expanse of protected land covers over 1,800 square kilometers, showcasing a diverse range of ecosystems, historical sites, and cultural treasures. Cilento National Park is not just a sanctuary for biodiversity, but also a living museum of the region’s history and traditions.

The Park’s landscape is a symphony of natural wonders, ranging from the rugged coastal cliffs overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, to the rolling hills, and mountains that dominate the inland regions. Olive groves, vineyards, and lush forests contribute to the picturesque panorama that greets visitors at every turn.

The Alburni Mountains, with their majestic peaks, provide a dramatic backdrop to the serene beauty of the park, creating a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Cilento National Park is a treasure trove of biodiversity, hosting a remarkable array of flora and fauna. The park is home to several endangered species, including the Peregrine Falcon and the European otter. The varied habitats within the park, such as wetlands, forests, and meadows, support a rich diversity of plant life, making it a crucial area for conservation efforts in Southern Italy.

Beyond its natural beauty, Cilento National Park is a living testament to the region’s cultural and historical legacy. Numerous archaeological sites dot the landscape, including the well-preserved ancient Greek city of Elea, which was founded in the 5th century BCE. The Greek Temples of Paestum, the best-preserved ancient Greek temples in the world. The Certosa of Padula is another jewel within the park, showcasing the grandeur of Italian Baroque architecture.

In recent years, Cilento National Park has embraced sustainable tourism practices, seeking to strike a delicate balance between preserving its natural wonders and welcoming visitors. Eco-friendly initiatives, such as guided tours focused on environmental education and the promotion of local, organic products, aim to ensure that tourism benefits both the park and the surrounding communities.

Despite its protected status, Cilento National Park faces challenges such as habitat fragmentation, illegal hunting, and the impacts of climate change. Conservation efforts are underway, with a focus on habitat restoration, community engagement, and the development of sustainable practices to mitigate these threats, and ensure the park’s long-term viability.

Cilento National Park stands as a testament to Italy’s commitment to preserving its natural and cultural heritage. This haven of biodiversity and historical richness, provides a unique opportunity for visitors to connect with nature, explore ancient civilizations, and contribute to the ongoing efforts to protect and sustain this remarkable corner of the world. As we navigate the challenges of the 21st century, the importance of places like Cilento National Park cannot be overstated, serving as beacons of inspiration for conservation and sustainable living.

The park offers a variety of hiking trails that cater to different skill levels. Some trails lead to mountain peaks with breathtaking views, while others take you through picturesque villages, olive groves, and along the coastline.

The terrain in Cilento varies, ranging from coastal paths to mountainous trails. It’s essential to choose a trail that matches your fitness level and hiking experience.

Cilento is rich in cultural and historical sites. During your hike, you may come across ancient ruins, medieval villages, and traditional farmhouses.
Take the time to explore and learn about the local history and culture.

s you may understand, the Cilento National Park has everything to make the perfect place for a great holiday, mixing up the different activities of this huge area. You can combine a stunning hike, with a stop to a local farmhouse for the night; visit an olive mill; a vineyard; a cheese farm; learn how to prepare fresh pasta; go fishing at night with locals; check how white figs are processed.

Cilento Tours

Cilento tours are designed to give you a full knowledge of the territory, people, history and traditions of this amazing area.

Food

The Mediterranean Diet

The Cilento region is, also, the place where the Mediterranean Diet started, with Ancel Keys, an American physiologist and nutritionist, who is perhaps best known for his research on the relationship between diet, cholesterol, and heart disease.

In the 1950’s, he conducted the Seven Countries Study, which examined the relationship between diet, lifestyle, and heart disease in different countries, including Italy. This study contributed to the development of the Mediterranean diet concept, and he moved, with his wife, in Cilento.

It’s essential to note that while Ancel Keys’ research had an impact on nutrition science, his work has been the subject of both, praise and criticism. Some argue that his emphasis on the role of dietary fat in heart disease oversimplified the issue, while others commend his contributions to understanding the Mediterranean diet, and the importance of a balanced lifestyle.

The local food in the Cilento National Park reflects the rich culinary traditions of southern Italy. Here are some dishes and ingredients you might find in the Cilento region:

Mozzarella di Bufala Campana

This is a type of buffalo milk mozzarella cheese, that is famous throughout the Campania region, including Cilento. It's often enjoyed fresh in salads or as a topping on pizza.

Aglianico Wine

Cilento is known for its vineyards, and the Aglianico grape is a prominent variety in the region. The wine produced from these grapes is rich and full-bodied, complementing the local cuisine.

Cilento Fig

The region is known for its figs, and you might find them in various forms, such as fresh, dried, or used in desserts.

Cilento Olive Oil

Olive trees are abundant in Cilento, and the region produces high-quality olive oil. It's used in cooking and as a dressing for salads and other dishes.

Pasta dishes

As in much of Italy, pasta is a staple in Cilento. Local variations of pasta dishes might include homemade pasta with tomato sauce, basil, and local cheeses.

Caciocavallo Podolico

This is a type of cheese made from the milk of the Podolica cow, a breed native to the area. The cheese has a distinctive flavor, and is often enjoyed on its own or as part of a cheese platter.

Pesce azzurro (Bluefish)

Being on the coast, seafood is a significant part of the local cuisine. Bluefish, in particular, is popular, and it's often grilled or roasted with local herbs and olive oil.

Zuppa Cilentana

This is a traditional soup in the region, often made with a variety of local vegetables, legumes, and sometimes pasta.

Taralli

These are small, savory biscuits or snack crackers that are often flavored with fennel or black pepper. They make for a popular snack in Cilento.

Sweets and desserts

Cilento offers a variety of delicious desserts, such as pastiera (a sweet pastry filled with ricotta and candied fruit), sfogliatella (a layered pastry), and cannoli (pastry tubes, filled with sweetened ricotta).

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Cilento Tours

Cilento tours are designed to give you a full knowledge of the territory, people, history and traditions of this amazing area.

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