Agropoli and its medieval village
Place: Agropoli (SA)
Distance from Pilaccio: 16 km
Journey time: 20 minutes
Time to visit: 2 hours
Agropoli with its typical Medieval old town has very old origins which date back to the Neolithic Age. From a Greek commercial centre famous for a Temple dedicated to Artemis, goddess of Hunting, it became a small sea village, called Ercula under the Romans, owing its prosperity to the slow, steady silting up of the neighbouring Paestum harbour. The violent barbaric invasions from the sea forced the population to move inwards to the promontory. The first works of fortifications were made by the Byzantines as a defence against the attacks. The town, now known as Acropolis for its strategic location, became an important bishop’s residence until the Saracens raided the area and built a ribàt, a fortress from where savage plunders were set against the neighbouring towns, including the near Salerno. The old walls rounding the town are almost intact today, access is through a monumental door up a flight of steps which connect the modern town at the bottom to the medieval village on the hill. Through the antique door you can reach a terrace viewing over a small harbour from where it is possible to admire the wonderful Gulf of Salerno and, if the weather is fine, also Capri and the Amalfi coast. The old city is scattered with small shops selling home-made local products and with typical restaurants where to taste some old recipes of Cilento dishes such as the pizza agropolese served in characteristic wicker baskets. Through a maze of alleys and little squares which characterize the old town you can reach the ancient Castle, triangular in plant and furnished with three circular shaped towers and a wide ditch as a defence. The castle barrack square is now used as a theatre in the open air.