Maratea is one of Southern Italy’s best kept secrets. I have already mentioned while talking about the ghost town of Craco, that Southern Italy is often a black whole on the tourists’ map,but you go there once and you fall in love with it. At least this is what has happened to me, I got totally addicted and won’t stop singing serenades to the improbably beautiful landscapes of Calabria, Puglia, Basilicata and let alone Sicily and Sardinia.
Maratea is one of the gems of the Basilicata region, its only comune situated by the Tyrrhenian sea and is also referred to as “the Pearl of the Tyrrhenian” or the town with the 44 churches…..you can guess why.
It’s also famous for its “spiaggia bianca”, the black beach where the sand is literally black, so beware when packing your flip flops , you migt have some troubles if they are not thick enough. The sand will simply burn your feet. Anyway, Maratea has the Blue Flag waiving in the wind for the quality of its waters and beach services.
The old town has the typical Southern atmosphere with narrow streets, the terraces of the piazza, churches and chapels at every corner, locals on scooter and oleanders everywhere. After taking a long stroll and having a delicious crema di caffé (ice cold coffee) and if you are not afraid of heights, you cannot miss go up on the top of Mount St. Biagio to the statue of Cristo Redentore (Christ the Redeemer). It is similar to the one in Rio de Janeiro. The statue is built on Mount St. Biagio, at 600 meters above the sea, it is 21,20 metres high, the head is 3 metres in height and the arm-span is 19 metres from finger tip to finger tip. With its arms wide open it is inviting us to pray. The interesting thing is that Christ is not staring at the seas as one would expect, but at the mainland. This statue is also different from traditional Christ representations as it has short hair and almost no beard. You will have a stunning view from the statue on the Tyrrhenian coastline.
I always stop by Maratea when I am about and it will never disapppoint me. Do like Mamma. Come to Maratea!