From Scario, the SS 562 road resumes its path along the coast, and brings us in a few minutes to the mouth of the River Bussento, where Policastro lies. Policastro owes its current wealth to the many tourists who visit the area’s endless pebble and sand beaches, but the village has also preserved many memories of its thousand-year old history. In ancient times, the existence of a river dock and the important strategic position, thanks to the possibility of moving inland along the River Bussento, led the first Italic people and then the Greek colonists tosettle in this site.
Even today, along the cyclopean walls of the ancient city we can see traces of Italic and Greek inhabitants. During the decline of Ancient Greece, when the silting of the harbour and malaria made it less important, Pixous came under the control of the Lucanian people of the hinterland. At thedawn of the second century BC, the Romans tried to repopulate the area, making it easier for people to settle there.
This was the start of the town of Buxentum, which was declared a Roman municipality in 187 BC thanks to its prosperity and importance. Just outside the village we find the ruins of the ancient aqueduct that once guaranteed the town’s water supply. In the first half of the 5th century, Fabio Livius Severus was born in Buxentum. He went on to become Emperor in 461. From the centre of Policastro, a steep road takes us to the village of Santa Marina in just a few minutes, home of the town council of Policastro.
Located in the hills of Timpone, at an altitude of just over 400 metres, the village was built around the 10th century as a place of shelter for the inhabitants of Policastro, who sought refuge from raiding Saracen pirates and from the malaria that plagued the mouth of the nearby River Bussento. Along the many alleys, the arches supporting the walls are much visited. Among these the arch ‘Ra’Reggia’ is worth mentioning, near the church of Santa Maria, which dates back to the system of fortifications built by the Angevins during the War of the Vespers. Returning to the coast, we see the village of Capitello, the seaside hamlet of Ispani.
The tiny village, originally a small fishing village, grew gradually over the centuries thanks to the proximity of Castellaro, built in the 11th century by the Norman Robert Guiscard, and of the pecoastal quadrilateral tower from the 16th century, which stands on of a small hill located immediately to the east of the village. The arch that gives access to the gardens of the former Palazzo Carafa are of architectonic and historic importance. They carry an inscription which warned malicious persons about the resoluteness of landowners in that era. From Capitello, climbing the hill through a panoramic road, we reach the village of Ispani.
The origins of the name can be traced to the period of Catalan domination in Southern Italy. The small old centre of the village is gathered compactly around the main square. The nearby ancient village of San Cristoforo was built in the fifth century.