Lentiscosa, the village on Baia degli Infreschi
Lentiscosa is an ancient medieval village located in the heart of the Cilento, Vallo di Diano, and Alburni National Park, just a few kilometers from Palinuro and Marina di Camerota. Characterized by its typical architecture of the mountainous areas of Cilento, Lentiscosa offers visitors an authentic glimpse of life in the past, with its narrow stone streets and stone houses that climb up the hill.
Cilento is a vast and rich territory with a history of art and culture, and every village, hamlet, and corner of this wonderful territory is a source of stories and treasures to discover. It's not easy to describe Cilento, as there are so many important situations and events to describe, but every discovery of these precious artistic and cultural gems contributes to enriching our understanding and appreciation of the region.
Lentiscosa in Cilento what to see
Lentiscosa, a village named after the mastic plant, is located in a privileged position in Cilento. Its history has been influenced by the presence of Basilian monks, who brought an Eastern style of religiosity to Lentiscosa, still visible in some aspects of the village.
Thanks to its location, Lentiscosa offers visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the unspoiled nature of the Cilento, among hills covered with mastic and breathtaking views of the sea of Palinuro. But not only that: the village is also an important center of spirituality and religious tradition, as evidenced by the numerous churches and places of worship.
Walking through the streets of Lentiscosa, one can breathe the authentic and suggestive atmosphere of an ancient village, with its stone houses and narrow winding alleys.
The historic center of Lentiscosa is a hidden gem in the heart of Cilento, where history and faith intertwine in a charming balance. Here, the colorful dome of the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Lentiscosa is one of the most recognizable symbols of the village, thanks to its covering of two-color tiles that create a singular geometric decoration.
But Lentiscosa is much more than just a postcard from South Italy: among the streets of the old town, there are hidden treasures and places of great charm. The Chapel of Santa Maria ad Martyres, for example, is a small jewel of art and spirituality that is worth visiting. Its rare beauty makes it one of the top ten places not to be missed in Cilento.
Moreover, while strolling through the alleys of Lentiscosa, you can also admire imposing walls of noble palaces, which testify to the history and tradition of this ancient village. Here, every corner is a discovery, every alley a surprise. Lentiscosa is a place to be discovered calmly, to fully savor its authentic and suggestive atmosphere.
Chapel of Santa Maria ad Martyres in Lentiscosa
The Chapel of Santa Maria ad Martyres in Lentiscosa is a charming place where history and art blend in wonderful harmony. This small architectural gem, dating back to the 14th century, is located in the green hills of Cilento, just a few kilometers from the coast. The chapel is famous for its cycle of frescoes, created by Byzantine craftsmen, which represent one of the artistic treasures of Cilento.
The wall paintings that adorn the Chapel of Santa Maria ad Martyres are a true masterpiece, a precious testimony of the Byzantine culture that has influenced the Cilento region over the centuries. The frescoes, still well preserved despite their age, depict scenes from the life of Christ and the Saints, immersing visitors in a mystical and suggestive atmosphere.
But it's not just the art that makes the Chapel of Santa Maria ad Martyres a unique place. Its location, on a hill overlooking the town of Lentiscosa, offers visitors a breathtaking panorama of the Cilento countryside and the sea in the distance. Strolling through the alleys of the historic center of Lentiscosa, among the ancient stone houses and small craft shops, is an experience that will take you back in time, to discover an authentic and unspoiled atmosphere.
The Chapel of Santa Maria ad Martyres and the historic center of Lentiscosa are a hidden treasure of Cilento, a place to visit if you are looking for authenticity, history, and beauty.
The frescoes of the chapel of Santa Maria ad Martyres in Lentiscosa
The Chapel of Santa Maria ad Martyres in Lentiscosa is a true treasure of sacred art, with paintings still in excellent condition that decorate its interior walls. This unified cycle represents a series of saints, interrupted only by a figure that welcomes the "martyrs" under its mantle. Dominating the apse wall is a majestic Redeemer with Saint Roch, Saint Sebastian, the Madonna and Child, and Saint Sophia. A Madonna and Child interrupts the unity of the representation on the right-hand wall, while Saint Bartholomew and a Madonna of Succour follow this cycle of paintings which concludes with a magnificent Trinity.
The vault of the chapel is decorated with the Evangelists and the Fathers of the Church, accompanied by the symbols of the four Evangelists and the faces of Saint Jerome, Saint Gregory, Saint Ambrose, and Saint Augustine. The ensemble of frescoes is a stunning work that testifies to a very incisive artistic wealth. These paintings represent a titanic undertaking for the Basilian monks who created them, especially considering the social, economic, and urban context of 600 years ago.
Lentiscosa where to eat
Lentiscosa is a small village located just a 10-minute drive from Marina di Camerota. Despite its small size, Lentiscosa offers several culinary opportunities for visitors.
Stuffed eggplants, also known as "mulignane 'mbuttunat," are a typical dish of Cilento cuisine, characterized by authentic and genuine flavors. The eggplants are cut in half and stuffed with a filling made of cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, and garlic. After being fried in hot oil, they are then seasoned with a fresh tomato and basil sauce.
This recipe is very simple yet very tasty and represents one of the most representative dishes of local cuisine. The cheese-based filling gives the eggplants a creamy and enveloping flavor, while the tomato sauce provides a fresh and aromatic note.
Stuffed eggplants are ideal as an appetizer or as a main dish and can be enjoyed both hot and cold. You can try them at one of the small restaurants in Lentiscosa. Being a representative dish of Cilento, we have also included this specialty in the menu of our restaurant.
But the typical product of Lentiscosa is the maracuoccio, a rare, ancient legume that is different from the others.
Lentiscosa's maracuoccio, the ancient Cilento legume
Cilento is a true cradle of biodiversity, where unique plants and animals can be found, capable of astonishing for their variety and beauty. Among the many treasures that this land hides, there is a rare and ancient legume, different from all the others, that can only be found here: the Lentiscosa maracuoccio, also a Slow Food Presidium since 2016.
This legume, which was once very common in the area, has been almost forgotten over the years, but fortunately, it has been recovered thanks to the commitment of local farmers who have rediscovered its nutritional and culinary value. The Lentiscosa maracuoccio is extremely nutritious and protein-rich, constituting a valuable source of energy for those who work in the fields or engage in demanding physical activities.
The Lentiscosa maracuoccio is a unique legume, whose name derives from the union of the words "mar" (bitter) and "cuoccio" (pod), due to its particular taste. Many consider it an ancestor of chickpeas, although it is more similar to the roveja of the Sibillini Mountains, both for its irregular shape and for the color that varies in shades of brown. Its unique flavor makes it truly special and appreciated.
The sowing takes place only in the area surrounding Lentiscosa, near the wonderful beaches of Marina di Camerota, between December and March, while the harvest takes place in the summer, usually between June and July. It is a rare and precious product, with a production limited to only about five quintals.
Maracucciata is one of the most representative dishes of the Cilento cuisine, an ancient and hearty dish that has withstood the test of time. Originally from Lentiscosa, where it fed the poorest families for years, today maracucciata can be found in various variations in different local restaurants in the area, but only in Lentiscosa, Camerota, and Marina di Camerota can you taste the authentic and traditional one.
Maracucciata is prepared with maracuoccio flour, a rare and ancient legume that is only cultivated in a small area around Lentiscosa. The flour is mixed with wheat flour and then cooked in salted water. In the past, due to necessity, flour from other legumes was also used, but today it is important to use at least 50% maracuoccio flour to avoid "wrong maracucciate". Once cooked, the flour is served with golden bread croutons sautéed in a pan with oil, onion, garlic, and chili pepper.
Maracucciata is a dish with a rustic and intense flavor that pairs perfectly with a glass of red wine and a piece of Cilento cheese. For those who want to taste the true Cilento cuisine, maracucciata is a dish not to be missed, which embodies the history and tradition of a generous land full of biodiversity.