Campania. Castellabate – Benvenuti al Sud, or Welcome to the South

The small, sleepy town on the southern end of the Campania region, terraces situated high on a hill, but at the same time suspended just above the long sandy beaches, rich in a tangle of narrow streets, that surrounds the medieval castle, narrow passages, a countless number of steps and stunning view of the mountains and the sea, extending from every corner. It’s here, in the charming little town the action of his film put Luca Miniero creating one of the best production of Italian cinema in recent years – „Benvenuti al Sud”, or „Welcome to the South”. Come and see Castellabate, listed at Borghi Piu Bella di Italia, which is the most beautiful small towns of Italy.

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On the hill visible Castellabate © simona meola

Before I take you a walk through the Castellabate, I remind plot of the film and trailer. The action begins in a small town in Lombardy region in northern part of Italy, in which the main character lives, the head of the local mail Alberto Colombo and his wife Silvia with son. Under his wife pressure he tries at all costs to get a transfer to the prestigious Milan, which would impact on raising the standard of living of the family. Alberto resorted to fraud posing as a disabled person, which would have priority in applying for a promotion. When deception comes out character gets an ultimatum: disciplinary dismissal or transfer to the south, to the small town of Castellabate in the Campania region up to two years. For the inhabitant of the north it’s a drama, because Naples and its surroundings are considered to be the center of the mafia and the place where, in broad daylight on the street, you can lose your life. It’s eloquent scene when Alberto moving to a new place of work is stopped on the highway by the traffic police, for driving too slowly. When policewoman heard that he’s going to work to Naples policewoman with horror in her eyes says that she understands, because her brother serving in Kosovo. After arrived Alberto is charmed by the beauty of the area and kindness of inhabitants, and after difficult, complicated but brilliantly written out in script moments, befriends with his subordinates Mattia Volpe, the local postman.

When I first saw Castellabate was a beautiful, sunny day in mid-March, and the vegetation just waking up to life after winter. Tree buds and sprinkled with citrus of passing season, saw potted violets, asters and azaleas in full bloom. Green meadows tempted to spread a blanket and enjoy the lush greenery. Like the long, sandy beaches, turquoise waves wrapon completely empty beaches. Intense blue sky from time to time for a moment conceal the clouds, from which often fell short lasting, but strong rain. In the town I was twice day after day, so my pictures also come from two different days with little different weather. In addition, I browsed the internet for other interesting photos, which I used in the post. Every picture which not belong to me is signed with the name of the author. So we start the tour 🙂

The first and one of the biggest attractions is the Castellabate Belvedere San Costabile – a panoramic terrace located at the entrance to the town, just below the castello. Panorama, which extend from it, is breathtaking. On a clear day you can see on the horizon outline of the Amalfi Coast and Capri. It’s not surprising that the place after the success of the movie has become an attraction not only for tourists but also for young couples, which even have the wedding ceremony by the sea, the photo session should be on the terrace in Castellabate.

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The view from the terrace – the town of Santa Maria di Castellabate

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Santa Maria di Castellabate 

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© Emilio Incerto

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© antonio

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Stairs near Belvedere will lead you down, to the restaurant with sea view © Grazia Terenzi 

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Belvedere San Costabile in frames of the movie © cilentiamoci

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Belvedere San Costabile in frames of the movie © cilentiamoci

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Belvedere San Costabile at the sunset © Vito Parlato

Just over Belvedere San Costabile is the Abbot Castle  – Castello dell’Abate, whose construction began on October 10 1123 starting the history of the town and its name. Today, in the castle is located, town hall which I had the pleasure to visit. Sea view, roofs of Castellabate extending from the windows are amazing. See for yourself.

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We move on Piazza Nicola Perrotti, on which leads the street from the Belvedere is another obligatory point at visiting Castellabate. Why?

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© AIFa08

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Remember the scene from the film, when Alberto arrives for the first time to Castellabate late in the evening and it was raining? He comes out from the car and the first thing sees searching for a street name, is a stone plaque, from which he reads the inscription „Qui si muore,” or „Here I die”, which, given its concerns about life in this part of Italy is very eloquent and it stimulates the imagination of a new postmaster. As it turns out late, vegetation covered the word „non” or „no” with the phrase „Qui non si muore.” History of the table explains Mattia. These are the words of King Gioacchino Murat, who in 1811 visited Castellabate. Plaque hangs on the wall near the castle, the Piazza Nicola Perrotti.

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Plaque in memory of Murat. Frame from the movie © cilentiamoci

Coming down from the castle to the piazza, I marveled medieval streets and small gardens hiden between the old, stony buildings. This town has something magical. Amazing beauty and the feeling that time has stopped here accompanied me in every corner.

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„Who goes south cry twice: once on his arrival and once at his departure.”

The plaque of this memorable sentence uttered by Mattie to Alberto you’ll find at Piazza 10 Ottobre 1123. This square is the heart of Castellabate and the place where most  scenes from the movie was filmed here. But one thing doesn’t fit. You already know which?

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Frame from the movie © cilentiamoci

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Frame from the movie © silenzio in sala

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Frame from the movie  © cilentiamoci

The building, in which was located the post office in fact is – and always was – a bar! Poste Italiane has established there only for the film, and the real post office in Castellabate is located on the outskirts of town. I must admit that when I discovered this fact, I was saddened. But only temporarily.

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Frame from the movie © cilentiamoci

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Frame from the movie © cilentiamoci

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In Castellabate we hosted with Arthur at the invitation of the company Sposa Mediterranea, dealing with the organization of weddings in Italy, both for residents of Italy, as well as for foreigner. Castellabate was one of the points of the program because – as I mentioned earlier – it became fashionable among young couples. The organizers really care about us, always was something to eat and drink. Everywhere we appeared, prosecco and limoncello flowed freely. We have not even finished shooting piazza when the organizers collecting for orders  to the bar just asked what you want to drink? Twice we were in Castellabate and twice sat at the bar enjoying the atmosphere of Castellabate and enjoy the views and awakening to life nature. This is one of the most pleasant experience I have mentioned during this trip. Typical dolce far niente in the sleepy medieval town. Such Italia I love the most!

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Aperol Splitz for me and limoncello for Artur

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The next day we sat in the bar before noon, so the coffee was a better choice 🙂

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Time to leave the piazza and move into the maze of narrow streets, where Alberto was running away from his subordinates, willing – according to his imagination – to kill him. Standing on the Piazza 10 Ottobre 1123 with face toward to the bar you’ll notice the alley, which starts on the right side of the film post office. Just enter inside and leave the rest to your imagination. Necessarily is to look „Benvenuti al Sud” before coming to Castellabate. In whole our team – not counting the organizers – me and Arthur were the only ones who saw the movie, so sitting at the bar I tried to tell the story to others showing the movie trailer. But this’s definitely not enough to fully enjoy the discovery traces Alberto and companies in the narrow streets of the town.

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© Lexmark52

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© Toxa Abramov

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© Paul Barker Hemings

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Frame from the movie © cilentiamoci

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frame from the movie © cilentiamoci

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 Frame fro the movie © cilentiamoci

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The action of „Benvenuti al Sud” sometimes was fought on the sea: the restaurant, the beach, even in the boat, when Alberto and Mattia was fishing and talking about life. These scenes were filmed in near  town of Santa Maria di Castellabate, to which I will take you in one of the next posts. And now, one last look from Belvedere San Costabile.

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Santa Maria in Castellabate and nearby buildings after getting dark.

Additional information:

  • you reach the terrace heading to Via Gioacchino Murat;
  • main photo © Veduta da Castellabate

All new readers I invite to like my page Italia by Natalia on Facebook and follow me on Instagram.

I’ll also be proud if you add a comment or you share this post with your friends.

Natalia

Post is the result of cooperation with the company Sposa Mediterranea, on the invitation of which we stayed for ten days on the Amalfi Coast and Cilento Coast in March 2016.

The copyright to the text belong to Italia by Natalia. Copy text or fragment, as well as rewriting with the change of the individual words in accordance with the blog regulations will result in law – financial consequence to the thief and also with stigmatization on the internet.

 

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