The ancient Maratea Superiore (Upper Maratea) or “Il Castello di Maratea” (Maratea’s Castle)

While going up the road that takes us from the historical center to the top of Mount Saint Blaise, we are caught by the extraordinary beauty of the landscape that in a blink of an eye captures the whole Gulf of Policastro, from the promontory of Punta Infreschi, area belonging to the Park of Cilento in Campania, to the wild mountaintops of Montea, in the Park of Pollino in Calabria. The “Castle” is the area where there once was the ancient Upper Maratea village, of which nowadays we can only see the ruins, full of mysterious and fascinating beauty. The first human settlements on Mount Saint Blaise date back to time immemorial. Recent archeological researches have brought to the light traces from the Classical period with some construction structures and also pottery utensils and Roman coins. According to a few theories, the first inhabited nuclei were settled down by groups of Basilian monks who practiced hermitage and who in a first moment settled in the breathtaking natural cave called Cave of Saint Michael the Archangel, which is situated in a cliff facing the sea, on the southern part of the mountain. Inside the cave we can still see traces of a small fresco representing, on the left side, Saint Michael the Archangel, the warrior, holding a scale while judging the dead. On the right side of the fresco, we can see a crucifixion. Under the fresco there used to be an altar, which of it were left no traces. The cave, according to the parish priest Ianinni, was the first church of Maratea. On the mountain there are no water sources and this has caused the development of a perfect system of gathering the rain water, with an extensive group of terracotta channels, which from the roofs would make the water fall straight into spacious containers. Furthermore, we can still see channels sculptured on the rock that probably had the same function. Few traces were left of the ancient Castle whose defense walls and towers were destroyed after the surrender to the French in 1806. 

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