Travelling along the Cilento coastline, past a succession of rocky cliff faces and caves overlooking the sea, you reach Palinuro, surrounded by green olive groves that cover the hillsides and an eternally clean, blue sea.
Palinuro is in the heart of the Cilento and Vallo Di Diano National Park. It is a limestone outcrop that juts out into the southern Tyrrhenian Sea for approximately 2 km.
Diving to explore the sea bed around Capo Palinuro is one of the most exciting experiences you can have in the Cilento area: the unpolluted sea reveals an unimaginable treasure trove of fauna and flora.
Equally fascinating is the spectacular coastline, broken up into a succession of underwater caves, inlets and capes, all of them worth exploring.
There are around 35 underwater caves and grottos, the most attractive being the Grotta Azzurra (blue grotto), where a myriad of reflections shimmer against long stalactites, the Grotta dei Monaci (monks' grotto), the Grotta del Sangue (blood grotto), which owes its name to the reddish markings on the internal walls, the Grotta Viola (purple grotto) and the Grotta del Lago (lake grotto).
130,000 years ago (during the Riss ice age), the spellbinding grottos of Capo Palinuro, which are now reflected in the crystal blue sea, were surrounded by a totally different landscape. The sea had withdrawn hundreds of metres from the current coastline and left room for thick woods to develop, interspersed with wide clearings. The animal life consisted primarily of ibexes, fallow deer, deer, horses, bears and cave lions, while the grottos provided shelter for Homo erectus. All of this has been documented thanks to fossil finds. In the famous Cala delle Ossa, we can still see the bones of many of these animals lodged into the rocks and smoothed down by the action of the sea.
Palinuro is part of the Municipality of Centola, together with another three districts: San Severino di Centola, Foria and San Nicola di Centola.
Centola's main attractions include the Rinaldi baronial palace where Gioacchino Murat, King of Naples and brother-in-law of Napoleon, stayed in 1814 while inspecting fortresses along the coast to strengthen them against potential enemy attack.
In San Severino, a medieval town centre and castle still survive. Places to visit here include the Lupo baronial palace, built at the end of the 13th century. It was repeatedly rebuilt in subsequent centuries after having destroyed by fire and sacking.
The municipality also includes four coastal towers, built between 1550 and 1600 in various places along the coast, and two defensive forts, which can be found close to Capo Palinuro.
Because it's a tourist resort with a human dimension, surrounded by luxuriant and unspoilt vegetation, benefiting from a mild and refreshing climate: temperate during the day and cool at night. Majestic, century-old olive trees and a thick Mediterranean maquis create a colourful frame for the magnificent coastline, which is a succession of beautiful corners, long beaches of the finest sand and picturesque cliffs. Other rocky cliffs rise from the sea, forming wonderful inlets, heavenly little beaches and fascinating grottos. The whole coastline is washed by a clear blue sea, with bright colours shining through the water, demonstrating the existence of a fertile underwater plant life. The impressive headland, with its wild and aggressive Capo Palinuro, has a legendary and mysterious charm and has witnessed many idyllic events. Inland, in an unspoilt environment that retains the primitive charm of bygone eras, there is so much beauty still to be discovered that it is sure to satisfy lovers of originality and small, intimate places away from the beaten track. .... But Palinuro is also a place for sport, fun... and a frenzied nightlife for people who love to experience the beauty of the night.