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Perfect Italian Weekend

A Perfect Italian weekend - Cilento

A perfect weekend in Italy without the limitations of time, budget, or distance. Every week we ask interesting and inspirational Italians, and Italians at heart, to take us along for a perfect, local weekend.

Stephanie Pander is a travel writer and lives partly in Amsterdam, partly in the Cilento region in the far south of Italy. In a small village, high on a mountain ridge overlooking the sea, she works out her travel stories. What makes the Cilento region so special? Stephanie: 'That hardly anyone knows it. Not even Italians. Even if the coastline is as beautiful as the Amalfi Coast and the inlands wild and green as Umbria.'


‘My ideal weekend begins Saturday morning with a cup of coffee on my own terrace. From there, I have a fantastic view over the roofs of our village. Beautiful red tiled roofs that lay like a patchwork in the green landscape. In spring, swallows tumble through the air. In the distance, I can see the sea. Sometimes I grab the binoculars to see if there are waves. 

The church bells ring every 15 minutes and around 9 o'clock I drive down for a morning swim. Usually just at the beach in the dreamy coastal village of Villammare, right down the road. After that, I drive on to the coastal town of Sapri, just two kilometre up the road for a second cup of coffee and a sfogliatella (shell-shaped puff pastry filled with sweetened ricotta) at Pasticeria Casa del Dolce along the boulevard. 

Around lunchtime, I drive down the scenic high coastal road towards Maratea. The opening scene of the latest James Bond film 'No time to die' was shot on this road. At the hamlet of Aquafredda, I turn off the road, park the car at the '70s hotel ‘Il Gabbiano’ and rent an umbrella with lounger on the black pebble beach. Nowhere is the water as clear as here! Before lunch, they serve Campari Soda under the parasol. Il Gabbiano has a beautiful dining room where they serve an excellent spaghetti vongole accompanied by a glass of white Falanghina. When we have something to celebrate - which is actually every day - we drive on to Ristorante Da Cesare a little further down the road in Cersuta for a plate of fried anchovies and tiny squid stewed in spicy tomato sauce.’  



‘Our town is located an hour and a half's drive from the city of Salerno. Well worth the drive because Salerno is underrated as a tourist destination. It is like a small Naples with a beautiful historic city centre and a kilometre long lungomare. Perfect for an end-of-day stroll and an ice cream. Every Sunday (except in the summer months) you can have lunch in Salerno at Sabrina's Osteria Canali. She serves honest, local cuisine using seasonal produce. The wines and olive oil come from their own family estate in San Mauro la Bruca, Cilento.

On the way back, we choose the coastal route that passes by the Greek temples of Paestum, wonderful to visit at the end of the day just before sunset. The archaeological complex is among the most important Greek excavations outside Greece. Along the road you will see buffalo farms and cheese dairies everywhere where the famous buffalo mozzarella is made. You can buy the best mozzarella from the organic farm Tenuta Vannulo.

The weekend is truly ideal when we get to add a day to stay at the Masseria Borgo del Franco in Castellabate. A dream of a coastal town where Franco and Rossana Piccirillo built a beautiful masseria with eight independent studios. Right next door are the vineyards of Alferio Romito's Il Colle del Corsicano where we do a little wine tasting and stock up on some bottles.’  



Borgo del Franco, 8 lovely guest studio’s just outside the coastal town of Santa Maria di Castelabate;


Eat & drink

Il Gabbiano, beautiful seventies hotel in the hamlet Aqcuafredda,

Da Cesare, best fish restaurant on the coastal road along the Costa di Maratea; reservations at tel. +39(0)973871840

Osteria Canali, cosy restaurant serving Italian comfort food, Salerno; @oseria_canali

Pasticeria Casa del Dolce, for coffee and cake, Sapri,

Food & wine shopping

Tenuta Vannulo: shop, bar and restaurant;

Il Colle del Corsicano, winery with a shop and degustation room;


Beach club

CUBO, the best beach club along the Cilento Coast. Great for swimming, cocktails and music Scario, @cubo_beach_bar


Written by Stephanie Pander, travel writer for Vogue, JAN Magazine, FD Persoonlijk. @stephanie_pander_




Shari Wijnhoud