Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page
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Informazioni turistiche e commerciali sul Cilento (only in Italian)
Il Parco Nazionale del Cilento e Vallo di Diano

Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 1998
Size of heritage: 159,110 ha
- Buffer zone: 178,101 ha

Longitude: 15,267°
Latitude: 40,283°


The Cilento is an outstanding cultural landscape. The dramatic groups of sanctuaries and settlements along its three east–west mountain ridges vividly portray the area's historical evolution: it was a major route not only for trade, but also for cultural and political interaction during the prehistoric and medieval periods. The Cilento was also the boundary between the Greek colonies of Magna Graecia and the indigenous Etruscan and Lucanian peoples. The remains of two major cities from classical times, Paestum and Velia, are found there.

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The Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park, along with the Archeological Sites of Paestum and Velia, and the Certosa di Padula, is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Province of Salerno, Campania, Italy. This remarkable site encompasses a vast area of natural beauty, ancient ruins, and a magnificent monastery, offering visitors a unique blend of history, culture, and stunning landscapes.


The history of this UNESCO World Heritage site dates back thousands of years. The Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park is an area of exceptional biodiversity and has been inhabited since prehistoric times. It was an important region during the Greek and Roman periods, with the ancient cities of Paestum and Velia playing significant roles. Paestum, originally known as Poseidonia, was founded by Greek colonists in the 6th century BC. It flourished as a major city and became an important cultural and commercial center. The city was later conquered by the Romans and eventually abandoned in the Middle Ages. Today, the well-preserved ruins of Paestum, including three magnificent Doric temples, provide a fascinating glimpse into the ancient world. Velia, another ancient city within the national park, was founded by the Greeks in the 6th century BC. It was a prosperous city and an important center for philosophy and science. Over the centuries, Velia was ruled by various civilizations, including the Romans and Byzantines. The archaeological site of Velia showcases the remains of ancient buildings, including the impressive Porta Rosa, an ancient city gate. The Certosa di Padula, a grand Carthusian monastery, was founded in the 14th century. It became one of the largest monasteries in Europe and a center of art, culture, and spirituality. The monastery complex features stunning architecture, beautiful courtyards, and an impressive library. It is a testament to the religious and architectural heritage of the region.

Current State

The Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park, along with the archeological sites and the Certosa di Padula, is meticulously preserved and protected. The national park covers an area of approximately 1,800 square kilometers and is home to diverse ecosystems, including forests, mountains, and coastline. It is a haven for wildlife, with numerous rare and endangered species. The archeological sites of Paestum and Velia are open to the public, allowing visitors to explore the ancient ruins and learn about the rich history of the region. The temples of Paestum are particularly impressive, with their well-preserved architecture and intricate details. The site offers guided tours and educational programs to enhance the visitor experience. The Certosa di Padula continues to function as a monastery, with a small community of monks residing within its walls. Visitors can explore the monastery's stunning architecture, including the grand church, cloisters, and courtyards. The monastery also houses a museum that displays religious artifacts and artworks. The Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park, the archeological sites of Paestum and Velia, and the Certosa di Padula collectively provide a unique and enriching experience for visitors. The combination of natural beauty, ancient history, and spiritual heritage make this UNESCO World Heritage site a must-visit destination for those seeking a deeper understanding of Italy's cultural and natural treasures.