Consider The Ciliento Coast…..Holiday and Wedding Destination

Consider The Ciliento Coast…..Holiday and Wedding Destination

Ten Things to see and do in the Cilento National Park

We had a wonderful June break in Santa Maria di Castellabate for 11 days in this unspoilt Italian gem.  We had a hire car, drove  just under 2 hours south from Naples to reach here and explored the Cilento area.  Just wanted to share some things that are possible to do, many of which we enjoyed on our trips out.

ONE

Spend a day in Santa Maria, explore the town with its alleyways, shops and bars and then head for the beautiful sandy beach, have a a pasta or fish lunch at the  Lido Azzuro beach cabin

 

TWO

Don’t drive all the way up to the hilltop of Castellabate, take time to walk up and explore the cobbled alleyways  and quaint piazzas for an aperitif. Watch the sunset up here and look down on the fabulous coastine before having  diner in one of the many restaurants up here.

 

THREE

Stroll along the beach all the way to San Marco and have an ice-cream at the harbourside. Take a boat out to the small island of Licosia and look across to the summer plaace of  the Prince of Belmonte.

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FOUR

Paestum is a must in this area, just some 25km away.  Three huge Greo-Roman temples in a field to explore.  On the way back look out for the buffalo in the fields and stop at one of the local factories and taaste freshly made mozzarella, it just melts in the mouth!

FIVE

A trip further afield to Padula is also worthwhile, you can spend a good few hours exploring the huge monastery, but take some time to explore the old town up on the hill too

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SIX

Favourite trip was to explore the abandonned village of Roscigno Vecchio – deserted after a malaria outbreak. Now just home to the odd cat kittens and  a lone hermit inhabitant who tends a small museum there.

SEVEN

Explore the many hill villages of the Cliento National Park, its so easy by car

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EIGHT

Take a drive down the coast to the ruins of Velia and explore the site there, bit of climbing involved but worth it for the views.

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NINE

A trip to Pailinuro  about 90 minutes away to another beautiful sandy beach, very popular and wonderful beachside tavernas for pizza!

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TEN

You can get married here!! I know the best wedding planner here and there are a variety of places to get married, the beach, a palace tower and then party the night away!
Just ask for details and we can chat!

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Cilento coast Perrotti Tower

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Italy Destination Wedding Workshop: Santa Maria Secret Retreat

Italy Destination Wedding Workshop: Santa Maria Secret Retreat

A picture of a quaint authentic Italian seaside town, Santa Maria, or twinkle town as I later learnt its affectionate name, tugged at my travel-prone heartstrings. Booked a holiday here…and then just a short while later The Secret Retreat workshop was launched. I had to go, simply could not miss this opportunity with 3 fabulous photographers I’ve admired   for a while Claire Penn, Andrea Ellison and Lucy Woodrow in this special place. No lie it sold with an hour … …but yay I got a place!!

As we were flying in to Naples I took some shots of  islands just offshore Naples, I knew it wasn’t Capri…. Mental note to google map later.

So there we were 30 girls all mixing well and having a great time in the sunshine, eating pizza, sunbathing by the pool, we had a party night with music, dancing and surprise fireworks…..oh  yes and we did get t to shoot in two amazing palaces  with real couples head over heels in love with each other and meet the Prince and Princess of Belmonte who were so hospitable to us. What more could we want!

Each day a  leader set up a styled shoot and gave an informative talk and exercises to help with the business planning  side of things, something for everyone whatever level. Even with many years’ experience but I craved new inspiration, new creativity and new guidance on branding and marketing, always developing.

I can honestly say I got all this out of it and so much more – really cannot thank ALL the girls enough for this experience.  Valuable time was also spent networking and bouncing ideas off each other.  Special thanks to Mandy the creative expert from Saddleworth Shindigs for all the goodies she used was in detail heaven!  And to the florist and make up artist who did a fabulous work on our amazing couples Paul and Bev and Luigi and Antonia.  Extra special thanks to Julie McKenzie and daughter Emily of My Secret Italy  they really are the best wedding planners her and go the extra mile for you– can appreciate how much hard work goes into organising such an event, often having to make impromptu changes on the day.

Words are inadequate to fully sum up this amazing amazing experience, we all received motivational kick up the backsides and I know not only myself but everybody else will be buzzing from this magical workshop  and putting things into practice for a good few months yet.

I dared to dream ….and  my dream is coming true I will be back here in May 2016 for a wedding….and as for those islands I discovered it was Ischia and Procdia…places I wanted to visit on honeymoon 30 years ago   …and now we are in less than 2 weeks time carrying on the love affair with Italy.

Santa Maria in the summer

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Want to see more of this amazing workshop – then check out this amazing secret retreat 2015 video

captured by Laura Jane Dale Photogrpahy – huge thanks Laura, fabulous memories