What can I tell you about Santa Maria di Castellabate? Well, it is where many brides and grooms have headed along with their family and friends this year to tie the knot, under the Italian sunshine. Santa Maria is still a secret destination and many people have never heard of it if you blink you will miss it but it is featured is some holiday brochures. Most of the hotels My Secret Italy work closely with are not, however, to be found in any of the brochures, and remain secret spots.
The closest international airport is Naples, and from there you head south for about 2 hours until you come to the resort itself. Santa Maria boasts one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen, and it has been awarded the Blue Flag for many years now. Dotted along the beach there are Lidos (beach bars/restaurants)
One famous one that has been there for many years is the Lido Azzurro, run by my dear friends Franco and Rosanna, a very stylish couple who work extremely hard each summer to welcome guests and cook the most delightful, fresh, lunches whilst you sit and enjoy a glass of local wine or prosecco and marvel at the sea crashing against the shore.
It is now possible to marry on this stretch of beach and then dine under the stars as you and your wedding guests enjoy fantastic local dishes, fresh fish and meat, a groovy local band and also you can end your magical day with some aquatic fireworks. Perfect..
Not only does Santa Maria have a fabulous beach, but the town itself is a treasure. As you arrive in the heart of Santa Maria you will see Bar Belleville in the center, next to the square and the town hall. This is my favorite place to sit and watch the world go by. A great place to be on a weekend before lunch as the locals descend on the bar to enjoy a pre-lunch drink, with nibbles provided by the bar.
The owner is called Tonino and he looks after My Secret Italy guests! This is a meeting place for My Secret Italy and we will all get together when you arrive for a drink and I will introduce you all to Tonino and his family. He likes to offer a welcome cocktail, so of course, we have to take him up on that.
From Belleville you walk along the main high street which is called the Corso. It takes about 20 minutes to wander past the shops until you reach Padre Pio Square at the end of the Corso. Just before you reach the end of the Corso, on the right, there is a cute bar called Pibaro, great coffee, pizza, and TV just in case any football is on!
La Buffalina Deli You will find this along with the Corso, to the right opposite the fish shop. Here you will find friendly owners, and a wide selection of wines, cheeses, local bread, and so much more. If you are going to the beach, they will even make up a delicious Panini for you.
Some local products to try would be of course, Buffalo Mozzarella, it really melts in your mouth. If you wanted to visit a local farm and see how the cheese is produced, then let me know and I can arrange this for you. Local wine to try is Kleos, produced by Luiji Maffini, a local guy from San Marco. Try Kratos (Crisp White) or Kleos red. Another popular Maffini wine is Cenito.
Whilst you wander down the Corso, pass the fish shop to your left, and a tad further on you will find Profumeria Monia. Please stop by and say hello to Monia and ask to sample Aqua delba, one of my favourite scents. Great for a present.
Another divine shop along the Corso on the right, is Amodio.. ladies. .shoes, bags and belts.. heaven in Italy! Pascuale is the owner and he will offer My Secret Italy guests a good discount, last year I bought some sandals with Swarovski crystals in them.