What to see in Palinuro: between history and legend

Visit Palinuro discovering of the coast of myth

The history of Palinuro is rich with legend. Here, where mythology is written in the air between the olive tree groves and the sky, Virgil found inspiration for the sad story of the Aeneas’helmsman, who fell into the sea and was killed by the local barbarians.

Palinuro was founded in primitive times around the hill of Molpa, colonized by the same founders of nearby Elea (Velia), from which the first settlements developed.

Destroyed in the Middle Ages, the survivors took refuge in various monasteries in the area, founding several neighboring  towns as Centola. Subsequently the story becomes intertwined with that of the Byzantines, Normans and Spaniards, until the Cilentan uprisings of 1828 against Bourbonic tyranny.

Recent history has seen the construction of the weather station in 1936, and the birth of a thriving center of industrious inhabitants.

One of its most distinguishing features, “Club Med” opened in the 1960’s and was profitable in Palinuro for many years, until they left the country for more exotic, fashionable destinations.

However, Palinuro isn’t only the sea. The coast is a riot of Mediterranean scrub, including myrtle bushes, gorse and heather. The famous “Primula Palinuri” is a protected species that grows only in this area of Cilento.

If you’d like to visit Palinuro we recommend some must-see places.

Molpa hill

The Greeks used the name Molpé (the graceful) to call the Lambro River and its estuary, the site of the  old town. In Greek times the two of Molpa and Palinuro on the eponymous cape, gave rise to the town of Pal-Mol, as evidenced by the discovery of a silver coin with the image of a wild boar running that has on one side the engraving PAL (Palinuro) and on the other MOL (Molpa).

For lovers of trekking is interesting to take a walk on the hill, covered with wild vegetation overhanging the sea, to admire the beautiful landscape of Capo Palinuro up to the ruins of the Castle of Molpa. Built around 1500, legend has it that even today the ghost of Donna Isabella roams through the ruins in search of her love.

The Antiquarium

For lovers of archaeology, in the center of Palinuro is the Antiquarium, in the “Ficocella” area on a plot overlooking the sea. The building retains not only important evidence and relics from the prehistoric age, but also the ancient coin PAL-MOL used by early inhabitants of the hill Molpa.

The lighthouse on Capo Palinuro

Among the many cracks in the rocks of Capo Palinuro , on Punta del Telegafo, stands the lighthouse and weather station. The lighthouse of Palinuro is the second highest in Italy: it is 70m tall and its light can even be seen in Sicily. A climb to the top offers an unmissable view overlooking the Cape.

Piazza Virgilio and the church

The church of Palinuro is the Parish of Santa Maria di Loreto, located in Piazza Virgilio. A few years ago a miracle occurred here, when the shadow of the Madonna appeared of the on the front of the bell tower.

18th century fountain

Built in an elegant garden in the center of Palinuro at the end of 1700, this is proof of the value that the owners gave to their gardens. The fountain has a rectangular shape with vines painted on the side pillars, with pastel painting.  In the middle of the fountain there is a cavity from which the water flows.

En als je vragen hebt naar een leuke plek, een goedkoop lekker restaurantje kun je daar informatie over krijgen, en geloof me het is dan ook echt geweldig!!   Isabel Vladar, August 2008

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