The Centro Storico of Maratea or the historical center is not very typical of what you can expect of Italy. It is indeed a small old Italian town with slow-pace of life. During siesta (1-4pm) expect that all the business establishments are closed except perhaps for a few pizzeria and restaurants.
The town center is quaint and devoid of any kind of traffic. Best way to explore is by feet as it is relatively small and you can easily find your way around.
The statue of the Redeemer is 22 meters high and have a span of 19 meters wide from arm to arm. This Redeemer is the first in Europe and second in the world after the one in Rio de Janiero.
It was idealized by Count Stefano Rivetti and was the promoter of this work. It started in 1963 and was finished in 1965. It was sculted by Prof. Bruno Innocenti, a teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. In the cave of the Angel, which has anciet frescoes inside, under the Statue of the Redeemer, is buried the remains of Count Stefano Rivetti.
(Adapted from P. Gennaro Pacelli- Rector and Parish Priest of Maratea)
Atop the site, one can have fantastic view of the entire town. Bellissima!
This narrow street is found in one of the corners of the historical center of Maratea. Here you can find the local artisans and craftsmen. We found tapestry, paintings and iron works (which Maratea is known for) for sale to tourists as souvenirs. If you are into local crafts, this part of the town center would likely interest you.
Another fantastic view that you can get atop Mt. St. Blaise is the town of Maratea itself. A big part of the town is concentrated on the base of the mountain. But, certainly, there are a lot of residences, inns and trattoria near the top. For those who prefer to enjoy the panorama of Maratea, I suggest that one can stay a night or two atop Mt. St. Blaise.
It is one of the fantastic view that one can get atop Mt. St. Blaise. What you see is what you get. The coast is gifted with a fantastic shoreline with long stretch of beaches with marine-based tourist activities.
The Marina of Maratea is a haven for sailors and yacht lovers.
The church is a Roman-Byzantine structure seems to have been built between 700AD to 1200A.D.
On August 10, 1941, it was appointed "Basilica Pontifica" by Pope Pio XII. On Dec. 22, 1991, it was appointed as the church of Diocesan Sanctuary by Msgr. Rocco Talucci. Inside the sanctuary is found the Royal Chapel where the relics of Saint Blaise are kept.
(P. Gennaro Pacelli - Rector and Parish Priest)
The best way to explore the Medieval period of Maratea is to visit several churches in the Old Town. There are 21 churches open to the public in Maratea including 11 in the Old Town. They are reach in the multicolored marble, decorative plaster, and colored floors.
The 12th church of San Vito, is oldest in Maratea. Nearby, in the Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore you can find the church of the same name built in the 15th century. Down the slope, at Via San Pietro, you can three important churches. In the Church of the Annunciation you will find a marble sculpture and bust from the shrine of San Biaggio (around 600 AD) and interesting oil painting by Simone da Firence (from the school of Giotto). It is easy to find the church due to the obelisk of San Biaggio, standing next to the church. Across the street and next to Piazza Vitolo, there is the Church of the Immaculate (17th century). Its famous ancient crypt with frescoes from the school of Giotto (14 – 15th century) was closed during our visit. At the end of the street is the Church of Addolorata (17th century, Baroque style), with the column next to it. Another church worth visit in the area is Sant’ Anna (14th century). In the Via Cavour you can find the Church of Grieved dating from the 17th century. In the northern part of the town is situated the ex-convent of Padri Minori Osseranti built in 1574.
And after you've paid your respects to Maratea's saints, just wander the narrow streets, alleys, and stairways and soak up the local atmosphere. The old town is compact, so you won't need much more than an hour or two to enjoy the sights.
It is a great pleasure to explore this picturesque mountain town. The historic center of Maratea lies on the slopes of Monte San Biagio, 623 meters above sea level. The origins of the town is Greek. Its name derived from the Greek word Marathus (fennel) due to the abundance of wild fennel found in the mountains.
Virgil tells us that it was here that Aeneas’s helmsman Palinurus washed ashore after falling asleep on watch – and here that the local inhabitants butchered the unfortunate stranger (don’t drink and drive). It may or may not be true, what we know for sure that the first inhabitants arrived in the 6th century AD on the summit of the mountain. Here the Basilian monastery was built on the place of a former pagan temple. The settlement , called Superiore (Upper), rose up surrounded by mountains. During the Middle Ages, the settlement became a fortress. In the basilica, the remains of San Biagio, elected Patron Saint of Maratea, have been venerated since 732. During 11 – 12th centuries part of population began moving down for construction in the town below, in the valley bottom invisible from the sea and so protected from the terrible Saracen raids. To make the things worse, an earthquake destroyed much the original settlement of Maratea Superiore. People called new settlement Borgo or Maratea Inferiore (Lower) - the present Centro Storico. The old part of the town is lovely little houses, churches, restaurants, and shops with leather, colorful ceramics, and handmade cloths hanging outside all made by local artisans. On the picturesque Piazza Vitolo you can find the Town Hall and modern fountain depicting the mermaid. From the square you can walk down to the Largo Mercato where the local market takes place on Saturday morning.
Maratea also includes a settlement on the right bank of the River Noce called Castrocucco with a manor house on the top of the hill.
One day we decided to visit the basilica on the top the Monte San Biagio (in English, Mt. Saint Blaise). Rising up from the resort terraces, the road was like a huge black snake. On its lower part the road coiled tightly around the mountain slope but close to the summit it raised up on the mighty pillars. We walked up slowly because the views that unfolded were spectacular, in front the hard San Biagio face, behind the sea with the harbor and below the villas and houses. From the road it is possible to admire the valley, the Maratea’s historic center and the fascinating ruins of the old settlement.
On the summit (643m) we found the San Biaggio basilica (6 – 7 century). Inside of the preserved interior of the chapel lie the remains of the patron saint of Maratea. There is a small restaurant and the gift shop next to the basilica. The footpath from the church leads you westwards, to the impressive 22m statue of Christo Redentore (Redeeming Christ). The statue was constructed in 1965.
After watching this show we made our way back to old settlement and made our descent. On our way down we pointed out the things we had missed on the way up, as the statue on the mountain grew smaller the buildings grew larger. From the houses above the Pianeta Maratea we turned right following the ancient footpath. They say, it was build by the monks centuries ago.
The path encircles the mountain and brings you to the upper part of the Old Town. The scenery was breathtaking, with several mysterious caves on the way, charming creeks immersed in lush vegetation and enchanting mountain panoramas.
Enjoy basking under the mediterranean sun in this part of Italy. The beach line is backdropped by the mountains. A nice sight to behold!