Italy’s Amalfi shoreline is numbered among Europe’s most glamorous. That’s perfectly understandable. The 100 kilometres feature unmatchable vistas passing through a series of picture-postcard resorts: Amalfi, Ravello, Sorrento, Positano…
No wonder that since it became a staging post for Victorian moneyed gentlement on the Grand Tour, it has lured the world's jetset. With prices to match too. A property overlooking the coast here can come with a price tag of the best part of US$4m.
However venture a short distance from here an you can have the same beauty and more – but without the hefty prices. Welcome to a barely-known jewel that has been hidden for far too long. Welcome to the Cilento coast. It is a little more than 1hr 20mins to the south and stretches for 160km. It also runs along the Cilento national park, the country’s second largest and – along with Vallo Di Diano National Park – is such an area of stunning natural beauty that it is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
With the exception of perhaps Paestum, its charming seaside towns and villages – Acciaroli, Ascea, Castellabate, Cape Palinuro – are far from high-profile but they offer the same blend of idyllic coastal towns and villages, glorious sun and breathtaking sea views but without the million-dollar price tags of the Amalfi coast – which remains near enough to be seen on a day or weekend jaunt.
Paestum – a town with roots as far back as some 2,700 years ago and boasts imposing and well-preserved Greek temples, walls, towers and gates – is also a World Heritage Site. Yet a 50sq m apartment here may be bought for just $100,000. Broadly speaking, on the Cilento coast you should expect something in the region of $120,000 for a one-bedroom condo and $190,000 for two bedrooms – around a fifth of what you would pay on the Amalfi coast. Furthermore, some digging around – allied to a bit of persistence – can unearth even more deals. For example: in Ascea, one-bedroom sea-view flat was recently made available at $100,000 and another a mere 70 yards from the coast at $85,000.
Two of the most sought-after locations are at almost opposite ends of the Cilento Coast, namely Agropoli and, some 70 miles south, Scario. Prices will be somewhat elevated here, but again, shopping around can unearth a bargain. In Agropoli, a development of newly built flats about 1.5km from the sea recently came up for sale starting at around $145,000 for one bedroom.
If you insist a coastal view, expect around $160,000 for a one-bedroom and a further $10,000-$15,000 for for two bedrooms. As ever, prices drop significantly if you are ready to grapple with a home that may be liveable but needs some work. But for property hunters drawn to the countryside but still want a sea view, the hills overlooking Casal Velino are a budget-friendly choice, with a new-build one-bed home available for purchase starting at just $90,000.