Maratea, Basilica, Italy
Maratea has a variety of hotels, including three that I've stayed in or visited:
Santavenere Hotel (5 stars) in Fiumicello di Maratea, a short walk uphill from the port. If you can afford the rates at this luxurious yet friendly hotel, stay here--and request a ground-floor room in the main building with a stone terrace that overlooks the sea.
Locanda delle Donne Monache (4 stars), a converted convent in Maratea's historic center. The rooms are comfortable, the kitchen is first-rate, the hotel has a private pool, and the location couldn't be better for sightseeing. (Wi-Fi and parking are free.)
Other noteworthy hotels that I haven't visited include La Dimora del Cardinale in the historic center, the Hotel Settebello in Fiumicello di Maratea, the Hotel Villa degli Aranci (near the train station), the highly-rated Hotel Ristorante Borgo La Tana south of Maratea, and--10 km north in Acquafredda--the Villa Del Mare and the romantic Villa Cheta Elite, which is housed in an Art Nouveau villa facing the sea.
Many of Maratea's best restaurants are in its hotels. Here are three hotels where I've dined:
The five-star's main dining room offers superb food, including some of the best fish that I've enjoyed in a lifetime of travel. (You'll love the buffet breakfast, where--if you're lucky--you'll find fresh-picked wild strawberries from the hotel grounds.) The Santavenere's views are as wonderful as the food, whether you're eating indoors or on the terrace. Another option is the hotel's alfresco bar-restaurant on the beach, which is accessible on foot or in a chauffeured electric cart.
In town, thealso has an outstanding kitchen. The cozy dining room has rough stone walls, a beamed ceiling, and windows overlooking the hotel's pool.
A few miles inland in Massa di Maratea, Il Giardino di Epicuro is an unpretentious but exceptional restaurant that has attracted locals and visitors for decades. When I dined at Il Giardino, my companions and I shared orders of antipasto and pasta followed by individual main courses of lamb chops (see photo), pork, and veal.
I haven't dined at Zą Mariuccia, but this long-established seaside restaurant in the Porto di Maratea has an excellent reputation. The last time I checked, the house specialty was still ravioli di ricotta dolci in ragł d'agnello ("ravioli of sweet ricotta cheese in veal sauce").
Finally, Fred Plotkin's superb book, Italy for the Gourmet Traveler, recommends an establishment that I haven't had the chance to try: Ristorante Da Cesare, a moderate to expensive restaurant in Cersuta (between Fiumicello and Acquafredda on the coastal road) that specializes in fresh seafood such as grouper and tuna.
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