For those who are coming from the nord, Agropoli is actually the access gate to Cilento. The name of the town comes from the Greek “Acropolis” and clearly refers to its location on the hill along the coast, about 70 meters above sea level.
The early signs of inhabitants are dating from the 10th century BC. The Greeks established here a trading post and built a temple to Poseidon. In the fourth century AD the area was inhabited by the Lucanians who predominantly engaged in agriculture. In 1967 a double tomb, adorned with images of the funeral of a soldier, has been discovered in a grave. It is currently kept in the National Museum of Paestum.
In subsequent centuries came the Byzantines, Vandals, Saracens, Normans and the Swabs. In the late Middle Ages the region was plagued by raids of the Ottomans and the plague (1656).
We recommend a visit to the town starting at the port. There is ample parking, although not free. You can walk on the port walls and get from there a first view of Agropli.
When you walk to the historic center, up the stairs and through the medieval access gate you get on
the square of the Chiesa di Santa Maria Costantinopoli (16th century), with its beautiful bronze
doors, portraying the Madonna as protector of the seafarers. From the square you have a nice view
of the harbour. On July 24 there is here a procession dedicated to the Madonna.
Past the church you come into the narrow streets of the historic centre. Via Piazza San Umberto.
As you go towards the castle, you will pass the Chiesa di San Pietro e San Paolo, of which the earliest references date back to the 6th century AD. Again bronze doors, depicting Peter and Paul, patron saints of the city.
At the top of the hill lies the Castello dei Sanfelice. The castle is named after the family Sanfelice that controlled the city in the 17th century. However, the first castle was built in the 6th century AD by the Byzantines.
Walking around the castle you will see that walls are really impressive. There is still restoration going on. Some parts are already open to the public. When we visited the town in mid-September, it was closed. So we missed also the view of the Gulf of Salerno and of the coastal area to Paestum.
In the immediate vicinity of Agropoli we stayed a few days at Luigi, in the Villa La Colombaia: a stylish accommodation with stunning views over the coast, a nice pool and a warm welcome.