Agropoli is a small town in the south of Italy of very ancient origin. On the coast of what is now St. Marco there was an ancient Roman maritime settlement called “Ercula”.
The Byzantines fortified the village in the Sixth Century giving it the name of Agropoli, the “upper town”. Beetween 1660 and 1806, the fief of Agropoli belonged to the St. Felice, an aristocratic Neapolitan family. Only at the end of the nineteenth century the nightmare of the invasions was over and the Agropoli began expanding beyond the old walls designing the new and modern part of the town.
Today Agropoli preserves its ancient centre, with its narrow streets, its square and its medieval walls. The ancient village is within walking distance, through the typical light straicase, with a wide and low cobblestone step. With limited effort in fact the stars leads to the monumental gate, very well preserved, topped with five ramparts with stone balls.
The famous seventheenth century gate is the emblem of the town. In the old town there is also a Castle “Angioino Aragonese”. The summit of the triangle inserted in the old village, while the base of the triangles lies towards the hilly area.
During the fifteenth century, the Sanserino undertook extensive restoration which gave the castle its current form.
The Castle is currently a venue for important cultural events and may be visited free of charge all year round. During the summer a reception service is available for cultural tourism, with a bookshop open from April to June, Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 10 am to 1 pm and from 5 pm to 8 pm, in July until September the office is open from 10 am to 1 pm and from 5 pm to 10 pm All Day.
Palace ” Civico Belle Arti”, built in 1892 as the summer residence of Cirota family, today is exhibition centre dedicated to art and archeology. It is house the archeological museum when visitors learn about the history of colonization, evolution and trade of population that have inhabited the stores of the Mediterranean Sea. In fact, there is a lot of the artefacts from the necropolis in St. Marco.
The first floor of the Palace is home to an exhibition of painting, sculpture and photography featured at regular intervals throughout the year. The palace is open all year and can be visited From January to June and September to december from 10 am to 12 pm, from 4 pm to 8 pm, in July and August is possible to visit from 10 am to 12 pm, and from 6 pm to 11 pm.
Another thing to do is for sure to see the coastal Towers, built in the 1564, with the aim of spotting early warning of potential invaders. The Spanish Prince Don Pedro de Toledo ordered the construction of a chain of coastal towers in communication with each other. Numerous watchtowers, in strategic locations, may be sighted along the Agropoli coast from the sea. The Tower of St.Marco provides a link between the Casle and the tower of Paestum. Tower of St.Francesco, overlooking the sea on the south of the village, communicated to the north with the Castle and the Tower of St.Marco, and to the south with Trenotva Tower and the Tower of Punta Trestino.
In Agropoli there are many churches to visit, as Madonna delle Grazie, in the centre of town, Madonna di Costantinopoli, that has been founded in 1583, SS Pietro e Paolo and Santa Maria della pietà o dell’Addolorata.
Agropoli is the gateway to the Cilento, Vallo of Daino and Alburni National Park. A wonderful place site in the landscape of the Cilento, a land of great culture and history, combined with a beautiful and primitive wildlife. The city is a fantastic place to go on holiday, with nature, relax and beautiful beach.
The National Park of Cilento, Vallo di Daino and Alburni was created in December 1991 and in 1995 the Authority for its management was instituted with head office in Vallo of Lucania. The Protected Area extends for about 180.000 hectares and is entirely included in the province of Salerno. In 1998 UNESCO listed this territory (with the monumental sites of Paestum,Velia and Chartreuse of Padula) among the World Heritage Sites, and in 2010 it became Geopark joining the European and world network.
The toponym Cilento “Cis Alento” (on this side of Alento), in the past designated the part of territory, know as the Barony of Cilento, that stretched from this river that flows into the sea between Ascea nad Casal Velino. What strikes more of this territory is the mutability of its colors and landscapes. You can go from the beaches that alternate with cliffs, to high mountains, from which to enjoy breathtaking views.
Archaic land, always in contact with the Orient, has totally Mediterranean charm also revealed in its nature. The landscape, dominated by olive groves, fig trees and grapevines bordered by dry walls, is sprinkled of villages and hamlets that conserve at least a fortrees, a church, a palace, a monastery of their past.
Cilento, land of myths and legends, of ancient religious and secular rites, unveils in its celebrations, that recur unchanged since hundreds of years.