Cilento National Park
It is the second largest park in Italy for its territory, reaching from the Tyrrhenian coast up to the base of the Campanian-Lucanian Appennine Mountains and contains about 80 municipalities of the Salerno province. Appennine vegetation on the peaks (its major is the Monte Cervati, 1868mts.) alternates with Mediterranean on the coast. The area is home to more than three thousand botanical species. Its fauna, too,is manifold, you may watch golden eagles, peregrine falcons, rabbits, otters, weasels and wolves.
Along with its extraordinary natural landscapes, where due to its considerable territorial heterogeneity the sea and the mountains are in constant contrast, go mythological characters and mysterious stories in a land rich in history and culture. Pollica is in the area of the Monte Stella with its characteristic peak rising over Agropoli, Punta Licosa, Velia and the landside road of the Vallo. This orographical element shapes the entire territorial structure.
The holy mountain, with its sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin on its top, symbolizes the encounter between Earth and Heaven. And is characterized by an important system of medieval boroughs nestled on the coastal slopes and a strong geographical and historical individualism; Ancient Cilento.
From the temples of Paestum to the ruins of Velia, town of philosophy and medicine, to the Vanvitelli-style splendour of the Padula Charterhouse, from breathtaking cliffs to hidden gorges, from caverns characterized by traces from the Palaeolithic man to mysterious rupestral sculptures, from the temples to the coastal fortifications, from Parmenides to Gian Battista Vico, from the Sirens to outlaws, from the myths of Palinuro to the Saracens, from revolutionary plans to conspiracy, from the peregrinations of the Argonauts to the valleys blooming with wild orchids and to the caves dedicated to the cult of water: the Cilento offers to its visitor an outstanding memorable tour rich in emotions. It is an amazing mosaic of particular cultural and natural value, 1998 declared World Heritage by Unesco.
The hamlet, bound into nature, is characterized by the church dedicated to Santa Maria dell’Acciarolo on the shore, already mentioned in 1187, as well as the tower that the Normans constructed about the end of the 12th century. All this belonged to the mighty Sanseverino princes of Salerno, together with a stretch of land along the Iandolo river to the Monte Stella, passed on to the Capano of Pollica in the 12th century.
Acciaroli was first mentioned in 1165, its name referring to a pritchy shrub of the rose family, similar to the hawthorn, or to the Greek azale, which means disembarkation “without tempest”. The place’s importance is due to the fact that until the 19th century there was a customs post. The church dell’Annunziata is an antique building. There is a very interesting composition of decorated maioliche on the tympanum which represent the Annunciation scene, and the bell tower. The campanile was erected in 1926, when Acciaroli was elevated to the rank of parish.
The tower in the port, a private property, is a building with its own appeal. Constructed on a square base on the guidelines to an ambitious project to a complex defense system of the coast wanted by the Angioini (Anjou) family, it was indispensable already in the 12th century when Frederick II included it into his system designed to defend the coast against attacks from pirates. The bell tower, the church and the tower in the port have coined the image and become the symbols of this unique touristic location, famous far beyond Italian borders. The Caleo tower is an notable construction built in 1520 slightly south of the current village on behalf of the Lord of Cannicchio.
The famous French writer Alexandre Dumas landed in Acciaroli on September 5th, 1860 on the schooner “Emma” in order to deliver 400 guns to Leonino Vinciprova, trustful man to Giuseppe Garibaldi, in order to sustain the Redshirts of the Hero of Two Worlds. Acciaroli’s inhabitants also like to remember the fact that due to several ancient fisherman the American writer Ernest Hemingway had dwelled in the village for some time in the 1950ies, whereupon a Japanese TV team arrived to interview the fisherman said to have had conversations with the “big wise man from abroad”.