We were really taken by all the old towns in this region that are built into hillsides in the most amazing way. I guess this is a common thing but I had never experienced it before. I’d been to Europe back in college days and seen lots of old towns but nothing quite like this before.
The first town we stayed in, Sperlonga was built this way and then Agropoli, where we stayed for a week at the B&B was like this too. Then we went to Castellabate and Cicerale….all the same style.
The buildings are 1000 or more years old and nestled into the hillside, spiraling up in cobblestone walkways to the top of the hill. These days, some are occupied, some are empty, some are being renovated and sold to wealthy Europeans looking for an exotic vacation hangout.
Speaking of renovating…..while we were visiting a hill town called Castellabate we met the gentleman on the left, Luigi. He was shlepping 5 gallon buckets of sand into his house for some project. We were wandering around feeling hungry, and we asked him in our limited Italian…”Sa dove restaurante perforvore?” (is there a Chipotle around here?” Of course, everything is closed because it’s 1 o’clock, even restaurants in small towns, so the answer was no. But he invited us in and showed us around his little house and served us Espresso made in his little mocha coffee maker. Who needs lunch when there’s Espresso, right?
It was really interesting to see the inside of one of these places. It’s a tight space, kind of dark, lots of peeling paint, tiny stairway….then you crawl out of the upstairs bedroom and onto the little terrace/flat roof (no railing of any kind) and you see the view in the photo to the left. Not bad. We managed to communicate some basic things, found out he was a train conductor in Naples, enjoyed our espresso, talked about remodeling a very little bit. Great guy and a fun experience.
From there we headed down the big hill to the seacoast town of the same name, Santa Maria Castellabate. We were actually still hungry and there was a cafe/bar/pizzeria that was open. That’s where we met the woman pictured here who ran the establishment. She was a doll. They were done serving food but she found us a piece of pizza and heated it up for us. We got to chat with her for a while and she was just something special
She had such a warmth and depth about her. One of those serene kind of people that you feel right at home with. She told us a little about her family….her husband had been a fisherman, she had kids in the area, etc. We wanted to take her home with us. After chatting with her for a while we wandered down the plaza and checked out all the cool little shops.
Later, we had dinner at a nice restaurant that was right on the beach….don’t have a picture of it but it was right on the other side of the buildings at the end of this wharf that you see to the left.
Below you’ll see some more photos of some of the other Hill Towns that we visited.