Maratea is a small town of about 5,000 people in the Basilicata region, the only town in Basilicata that lies on the Tyrrhenian coast, giving it the name "the Pearl of the Tyrrhenian". As a tiny town, Maratea is known ironically for its larger-than-life Christ statue. The statue sits at the very top of Mount San Biagio, the patron saint for Maratea. Up here, you can also see an old town center, no longer inhabited. It was created in the 7th century right after the fall of the Roman Empire when the inhabitants along the coast moved to high ground for protection. In the 11th-12th century, this little castello could no longer support the growing population and so the people of Maratea resettled down the hill to where the current urban center lies. Maratea is also known for it's 44 churches, the biggest of which was built in honour of Saint Biaggio in the 7th century near the old urban center.
Every May, the Maratean people celebrate their patron saint by carrying a silver statue of him from the Basilica of San Biaggio down to the historic center. He stays there for a week before being returned, and in that time the people of Maratea party and dance to live music, and eat typical food. To eat the typical foods of Maratea and Basilicata is worth the visit in itself. Our personal favorite is Senise peppers, which are sweet and crunchy and often referred to as pepperoni cruschi (crispy peppers).
Besides visiting the giant Christ statue, the 44 churches, or partaking in the San Biaggio procession and festa, there are many things to do all year round. We recommend the beautiful hikes through the coastal mountains that have breathtaking views of the sea. If you prefer to be in the water, there are kayaking, boating and, of course, swimming opportunities. For the thrilling adventure seekers, we recommend paragliding from the windy high points of Maratea down to the beaches. The weather in Maratea is warm and sunny from May until the end of September, but most people visit in the summer. We encourage visitors to check out Maratea outside of the peak season for enjoying less crowds and mild temperatures, and especially during the San Biaggio festival - partaking in this tradition is a real treat and one of the best ways to learn about the beautiful and rich culture of Maratea.