Agropoli, known as the Citadel of the Cilento, is a lively town on the Cilento Coast, south of the famed Amalfi Coast. On a clear day you can see the Amalfi Coast and island of Capri in the distance and during summer ferries connect Agropoli with Salerno, Naples, and the island of Capri.
Although Agropoli is well set up for tourism, it sees fewer foreign tourists than the Amalfi Coast and is still off the beaten path, making it a good place to enjoy the local lifestyle. Agropoli makes an excellent base for visiting the sights of the Cilento area (see day trips below) and it’s on the rail line between Naples and Calabria, making it easy to get to even if you don’t have a car.
Agropoli Old Town
The charming old town of Agropoli was built on a hill on the rocky promontory above the harbor as a defensive measure in the 5th century. It’s reached by a stairway of wide, shallow steps leading up from the pedestrian street, Corso Garibaldi., to the old gate that was originally the only entrance to get into the town walls. At the top of the stairway is the pretty 16th century Church of Santa Maria di Constantinopoli.
At the highest point of the old town is the Aragonese Castle, originally built in the 6th century but enlarged and embellished during the Aragonese period about 1000 years later. Art exhibits and special events are often held inside the castle. In 2016, entrance to the castle was free and it was open all day. From the castle there are great views of the sea and surrounding area.
Between the castle and the gate, are several narrow streets where you can wander, a couple more churches (which aren’t often open) and a few bars and restaurants. In October the restaurants were only open on the weekend but dining in the old town is a nice experience and many tables have good sea views.
Agropoli Harbor and Lower Town
At the foot of the staircase leading to the old town is the pedestrian zone, an area filled with shops, bars, and restaurants. During the evening Corso Garibaldi is usually the scene of a lively passeggiata with many people out for a stroll and a visit with friends. It’s a nice place to sit at one of the bars for an apertivo and enjoy the ambiance.
Agropoli’s large tourist harbor, that’s still used by fishermen as well, sits right below the old town to the west of the promontory. Here you’ll find boats to rent, kayak rentals, and excursion boats in summer. There’s also a small beach but the main beaches are along a seaside promenade on the opposite side of the old town in the San Marco area.
Agropoli’s small civic museum, Palazzo Civico delle Arti, is in an old palazzo on Via Pisicane, just above the harbor. It has archaeological finds from the area and art exhibits are held upstairs. At time of writing, admission was free.
A short uphill walk west of the harbor goes to the Church and Monastery of San Francesco, part of which houses the San Francesco Resort Hotel, and one of the old watchtowers. From the panoramic walkway there are nice views of the harbor and old town.
Where to Stay
We stayed at Apartments La Boungaville, comfortable vacation apartments perfectly located just a block off the pedestrian street and a short walk to the harbor.
Palazzo Dogana Resort, a renovated palazzo with sea views, garden, terrace, swimming pool and a restaurant, sits on the small beach by the harbor.
Hotel Serenella is a 3-star beachfront hotel on Via San Marco with a private beach, restaurant, night club, and sea views.
See and compare more Agropoli hotels.
Recommended Places to Eat
In Agropoli, seafood is the star and you’ll find good fish served everywhere. In the old town we had an excellent meal on the terrace overlooking the sea at Ristorante U’Sghiz, on Piazza Umberto 1, just past the gate.
In the pedestrian zone, we dined twice at both Ristorante da Ciccio, Via Crispi 5, and Ristorante Pizzeria Borrelli, Corso Garibaldi 76, enjoying both a very good meal and good pizza at each of them.
Our Sunday lunch was at the inexpensive and lively Ristorante Pizzeria Dea Dell’ Abbondanza, completely filled with locals. It’s at via Alcide de Gasperi 31, on the road between the pedestrian zone and the train station.
Agropoli Day Trips
Near Agropoli is the excellent archaeological site of Paestum, with both Roman and Greek remains including 3 well-preserved Greek temples, that can be reached by train or car. Another extensive archaeological site to explore is the Roman and Greek site of Velia, reached by car.
A short drive from Agropoli is the charming hill top town of Castelabbate, designated one of the Most Beautiful Villages of Italy, where the movie Benvenuti al Sud was filmed.
Along the coast to the south are several nice towns including Acciaroli (a pretty town visited by Hemmingway), Pioppi with the Museum of the Mediterranean Diet, Polinuro where excursion boats take visitors into sea caves in summer, and the walled medieval town of Policastro (which can be reached by train).