Roccagloriosa is a country rich in history. Its history traces its roots back to the ancient civilizations such as those of the Ausones, Enotri, Osci, Greeks and Romans. Nearby there is the archaeological site of the ancient Leo (Orbitania to the Romans), dating back to the 4th-5th century B.C.
The city was built by Leo Sybarites on a slight slope, protected by the Mount Capitenali, which its position allowed control of vast territories. In 1412 it was founded again by Stilitani and Bulgari, the fortress was erected on top of a castle, surrounded by walls that enclosed its village inside. A chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary with the title of Gloriosa was built on the castle: since then Rocca was named Rocca Roccagloriosa. In 1512 the village was destroyed by the pirate Dragut Low and in 1806 was burned by the French.
The current town is built on two levels. The new section, at 200 m. above sea level, is the shopping area. Not far away are the Town Hall with Fire Brigade and Emergency Medical Services. From the Town Hall you go up and, after a series of squares and hairpin bends, you get to the top of Rocca (450 m above sea level) where there are the ruins of the castle, the archaeological site and the viewpoints.
From the top you can enjoy a spectacular 360 degree view over the sea and the Gulf of Policastro to the south, Mount Bulgheria to the west, the valley of Mingardo to the north and the hillside area of Cilento to the east.
Places to visit: the archaeological site, Palazzo Balbi, Palazzo De Curtis, Palazzo Quercia, the ruins of the castle, The Monastery of San Mercurio, the Church of San Nicola, The Church of S. Maria la Greca, The Chapel of Santo Spirito with the beautiful sarcophagus dating back to the 1400’s, The Fontana dei tre cannelli and The Antiquarium.
From Roccagloriosa you can enjoy the view of the Gulf of Policastro, with Sapri on the left, Maratea and the giant statue of Christ in front and Calabria on the right.
To go to the beach there is a convenient and never crowded motorway, which starts just outside the village of Roccagloriosa and leads in both directions to the Tyrrhenian coast. The stretch of coast goes from Scario to Palinuro (and beyond, rising towards Pisciotta). The coast between Scario and Marina di Camerota is accessible only on foot or by boat.
The stretch of motorway that leads from Roccagloriosa to Policastro is 6 km. Policastro is the nearest sea spa. From Policastro down to Sapri, the beach is narrow and stony. However, if you turn right towards north at the exit of the motorway in Policastro, you can go towards Scario (3-4 km). Scario is a tiny and beautiful seaside village which is worth visiting several times. At Scario it is very easy to leave your car in one of the 2 secured car parks near the sea. At the small port, you can go aboard one of the boats that takes you to the most beautiful beaches on this stretch of coast. Two different companies offer fast boats that run every hour between Scario and Punta Infreschi.
Every day there are multiple depatures to and from “I Gabbiani”, “Risima”, “Sciabica” and “I Francesi”. The first departure is at 9.00 a.m. The last return is at 6.00 pm. The journey lasts about half an hour, that is enough to admire the stunning caves and inlets along the coast. From Scario a boat leads to “Punta Infreschi”, a small and beautiful natural harbour with a tiny sandy beach, where there is even a refreshement bar. There are smooth rocks and caves to be explored or swimmed through all round. The trip takes an hour. Punta Infreschi is a place not to be missed.
On the contrary, the other motorway section leads to the part of the coast between Palinuro and Marina di Camerota. The road ends shortly after the village of Poderia and gets onto the “Mingardina” which follows the Mingardo river in its last stretch to the mouth. 18 km of good road and a breathtaking landscape (the Canyon, which rises on either side of Mingardo, the ancient village of San Severino perched on the ridge to the right) will make you want to stop before you reach your destination. At the end of the Mingardina you will be at a crossroads: the road on your right goes towards Palinuro and the one on your left leads to Marina di Camerota. Take a right towards Palinuro and slow down a few hundred meters ahead, when you see an IP petrol station on your right. At this point you should be seeing signs for several camps and villages on your left. Follow the sign “Beau River” and you will find on a narrow dirt road that runs along a channel that will take you to the sea. At the end of the channel, the road ends in a large parking area near the sea. You can walk up the last stretch to get to the famous beach “Arco Naturale”. Overhanging rocks above your head, fine sand under your feet and a rock arch connecting one beach to another are awaiting for you. Of course, the Arco Naturale beach is a place not to be missed, but sometimes is a little bit too busy.
If you would rather spend your time on secluded beaches, at the end of Mingardina turn left to Marina di Camerota. You will have the sea and a beautiful pine forest on your right. After the Pineta camping you will find the directions for various “lidi”, park along the road paying attention to any “no parking” signs or in the secured car parks. Follow signs through the pine forest to a wide and long sandy beach. Here nobody will disturb you. Toward Marina di Camerota are sandy beaches, surrounded by rocks and easily accesible by road.
Then you cannot miss the boat tours such us the tour to Palinuro caves. It includes a trip stop at the Bay of Buondormire (overhanging rocks at the bay). The service will be departing from Palinuro / Lido Ficocella or Palinuro / Porto. You had better to start from the Arco Naturale or the Lido il Viottolo. You can negotiate the price for a slower journey with the boatmen.
The boatmen will take you from the port of Marina di Camerota to the beaches (Cala di Luna, Pozzallo, Cala Bianca), ranging from Marina di Camerota to Scario or you can reach Punta Infreschi visiting the many caves along the coast.