Amalfi coast without the crowds!
Hotelier Loredana Toscana on why she loves Maratea
EARLY SUMMER IS THE PERFECT time to savour Italy’s scenery and sunshine without the holiday crowds.
Maratea, a hidden gem 90 minutes south of the Amalfi Coast, offers Italian charm without the hustle-bustle and makes a super – and affordable – holiday destination.
Loredana Toscana, owner of the beautifully converted convent La Locanda delle Donne Monache picks her favourite sights for early summer visitors: “Take in the stunning views on the 40-minute climb up to the medieval ruins and bright-white, 21m statue of Christ the Redeemer at the very top of Maratea - it's well worth the climb!“
She also recommends popping down to the lively little port with its old fishing trawlers, luxury yachts, shops, cafes and chic bars and restaurants. “You can rent a boat from there and explore the surreal caves and grottoes of the Maratea coastline, as well as finding secluded little coves."
The World Heritage Site streets of historic Maratea – an area few British visitors are familiar with – also beg exploration. Loredana suggests wandering through the narrow alleys of the old town, shopping for pottery (prices are lower here) and visiting some of the town's 44 churches. There are also archeological finds in the Convento dei Cappuccini and Palazzo de Lieto.
Visitors to Maratea can also try horse riding in one of the nearby stables, or taking a boat trip along this stunning part of Italy's coastline to the well-known towns of Amalfi, Positano and Sorrento.
And further afield? "There's so much to do!" says Loredana. "I would suggest a visit to the pretty hilltop towns of Rivello with its nice Lake Sirino, or a trip to Nemoli and Lagonegro (all 20-30km), and the wonderfully preserved Greek ruins of Paestum (108km). There's also the medieval Caracciolo Castle in Brienza (90km), and the Roman ruins of Grumentum (70km). In 45 minutes you can even reach the famous San Lorenzo Charterhouse in Padula (60 km), a UNESCO World Heritage Site.”
A one-time convent, La Locanda delle Donne Monache makes an ideal and highly affordable base for exploring the Maratea region's many riches. This chic little jewel sits 90 minutes south of the Amalfi coast, with knockout views over the town and surrounding area. There's a cliff-edge pool surrounded by loungers, and a flagstone terrace perfect for sipping an aperitivo. Il Sacello is one of the best restaurants in town and there's also a sleek little cocktail bar, L'Alambicco. La Locanda provides a shuttle to the beaches at Marina di Maratea, with complimentary towels and parasols, so you won't miss out on a tan!