And it is precisely here lies the magnificent National Park of Cilento and Vallo di Diano, with the archaeological sites of Paestum and Velia , and the Certosa di Padula, incorporated in 1998 in the UNESCO world heritage list.
Cilento National Park and Vallo Diano
The National Park of Cilento and Vallo di Diano , the second biggest one in Italy, goes from the Tyrrhenian coast to the border with Basilicata and still retains many traces of human presence. The Park includes the peaks of Mount Alburnums , Cervati and Gelbison , and the coastal Mount Bulgheria and Mount Stella.
The floristic population of the park is made up of about 1,800 different species of wild native plants , but also the fauna is highly diversified thanks to the variety of environments in the area.
Coastal and mountainous areas , rivers and streams, cliffs and forests are the habitat of many wildlife communities where they often reveal the presence of species of high natural value , such as the peregrine falcon. On the peaks, on the prairies of altitude and mountain cliffs, frequent animals that we can see are wolves, golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) and their prey of choice: the Rock Partridge ( Alectoris graeca ) and the Apennine Hare (Lepus corsicanus ).
Alongside with the extraordinary natural features, due to the considerable heterogeneity of the territory, we find the mythical and mysterious character of this land rich in history and culture : the call of the nymph Leucosia, the beaches where the destinies of Aeneas and Palinuro have separated, the remains of Greek colony of Elea / Velia and Paestum, and the Certosa di Padula. These three sites are the main cultural attractions of national and international importance which allowed the park to boast the prestigious award of World Heritage granted by UNESCO.
One of the most important memorials of Ancient Greece called by the founders Poseidonia in honor of Poseidon, but devoted to Hera and Athena .
In Paestum there are countless artifacts and decorative artifacts, many of which are preserved in the National Archaeological Museum of Paestum. Of immense beauty are the three temples of the Doric order saved in excellent conditions, as to be regarded as unique examples of Magna Graecia: the Temple of Neptune (530 BC) actually dedicated to Hera and constructed in sandstone is the largest among the temples of Paestum; the Temple of Athena ( 500 BC) , also known as the Temple of Ceres; Basilica (540 BC) which is actually the temple dedicated to Hera.
Elea / Velia
In the city of Velia, from the greek Elea, an ancient center of Magna Graecia, founded in the 6th century BC, only remain the port area with Porta Marina, Porta Rosa , the Hellenistic thermal Baths and the Roman thermal Baths , the Agora , the Acropolis, the Southern district and the Archaic district.
Porta Rosa, and its undisputed value, is a prestigious monument that held the dual function of linking the two districts of the city and the viaduct joining the two summit of the acropolis. Among the several reasons that made Velia a world heritage site, should mention the Eleatic school, a school of philosophy which among its exponents had Parmenides and Zeno, born here.
The Certosa di San Lorenzo di Padula
It is the biggest monastery in Italy, and one of the most famous, and is located in Padula , in the province of Salerno.
Founded in 1306 , this monastery has the largest cloister in the world (about 12,000 sqft) and it is surrounded by 84 columns.
The main part is in Baroque style and occupies an area of 51,500 m² on which are built over 320 rooms . Today, the Certosa di Padula hosts the Provincial Archaeological Museum of Lucania, which contains a collection of discovers from the excavations of the necropolis of Sala Consilina and Padula
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