Sitting on a 20km stretch of the stunning Tyrrhenian Coast, Maratea is often called a mini Amalfi. It has several distinct localities - from the ruins of a medieval village, to a stylish, yacht-filled harbour, and its coastal road twists and climbs past soaring cliffs and little turquoise coves. A popular holiday destination for Italians in July and August, it's wonderfully peaceful in the balmy months of May, June, September and October, and so quiet from November to March that many hotels and restaurants close. The locals are genuinely friendly - but keep your phrasebook handy as many speak little English - some none at all!
The highlight is the 13th-century medieval borgo (small town) of Maratea Inferiore, all steep cobbled alleyways, cafe-lined piazzas, softly-clanging bells from 44 churches, and panoramic coastal views. High above stands the 21m Carrera marble statue of Christ the Redeemer, reached by a lovely woodland walk. However thanks to the steep gradients, it's not the ideal town for exploring if you've got weak legs or rickety knees. That said, Maratea is a delightfully gentle place which has preserved its authentic Italian character. The traditional siesta means shops and restaurants tend to close for a large chunk of the afternoon, but then stay open late into the evening, and there are a number of cultural and religious festivals through the summer, too. There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, from trekking and riding through to paragliding, rafting and canoeing, to sailing, diving and snorkelling. There are also the pretty and historic hilltop towns of Rivello, Fiumicello, Nemoli and Lagonegro to explore - all within a 30km radius.