Maratea is the only village of Basilicata to face on the Tyrrhenian Sea. For its picturesque coastal landscapes and mountain areas, and for the peculiarities of art and history, Maratea is also known as "the pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea" and "City of 44 churches" for its numerous churches, chapels and monasteries were built in different eras and different styles. Its coastline is varied creeks and caves, cliffs and dry. Numerous coastal beaches, in front of one of which emerges the island of Santo Janni. Worthy of attention are the seabed and the 131 marine caves and land, of which some have returned fossils and prehistoric. On all stands out the cave of Marina with stalactites and stalagmites. The name is clearly of Greek derivation, from the Greek word marathus ("Wild Fennel") and then with the meaning of "land of wild fennel".
In the era eneolithic the promontory called Capo La Timpa, placed close to today's marina, becomes a stopover of an exchange. From the XV-XIV century B.C. hosts an indigenous settlement within huts built with a floor to beat coated with decorative pebbles and central fireplace. This village, the conformation of which falls within the parameters of the so-called "Apennine culture", survives thanks to trade relations instauratesi following the first mycenaean navigation in Italy. With the advent of the Greek colonization, village life on Capo La Timpa stops; to resume in the VI century B.C. following the so-called "indigenous colonization of the coast" wrought by peoples of culture Enotria. The commercial vocation of the village pushes the traffic from the colonies magno greek-The Siritide, up to Greece itself. After the Roman conquest of Lucania, which took place between the III and II century B.C., the promotorio Capo La Timpa is abandoned for ever. The territory hosts then other small nuclei, which is flanked by the great villae marittimae patrician palaces of the wealthy Roman. It is in fact been rediscovered a Roman villa, with annexd Pescheria, in the locality of dry Castrocucco, the history of which extends from the I century B.C. to the IV century A.D.; which is accompanied by a distant necropolis used until the beginning of the Middle Ages. The barbarian invasions subsequent to the fall of the Roman Empire of the West and the first Saracen raids urge people present on the territory to take refuge on the top of Monte San Biagio, where was born the ancient Marathìa (name that makes its first appearance in the document of 1079).
This citadel, impregnable and safe from any attack, receives the relics of San Biagio of Sebaste in the year 732, transported according to tradition on a ship by men Armenians. In the 850 Maratea joined the Gastaldato of Laino of principality of Salerno and then to move, perhaps in 1077 in domains Normans. In 1284 Maratea is involved in the War of Vespers. In 1324 the parish of the sanctuary of San Biagio is the arcipretura of the territory. But the one on the top of Monte San Biagio is no longer the only center of the territory: during the centuries if n is developed another, on the slopes of the same which makes it invisible from the sea and safe from the Saracen attacks. This new Maratea is nicknamed with the name of the village, to distinguish it from the ancient that since fortified, will be called a castle. At the beginning of the XV century Maratea, which according to tradition was never subjected to the power of a feudal lord, is part of the lands to the direct dependencies of the crown. On 21 May 1626 the village is attacked by a band of one hundred and sixty bandits, which bring siege the homes of families more affluent of Maratea. The XVIII century is a time very fortunate for Maratea. In 1734 is opened the first civil hospital, the work of the benefactor John De Happy. In 1799 Maratea is involved in the motions that led to the constitution of the Neapolitan Republic. In August 1806 the French Army begins the invasion of the Kingdom of Naples. After the Calabrian uprising, the nearby town of Lauria, rebelled to the French, is put to iron and fire. The French, you accept the conditions of mandarins not harming the population, discarded part of the walls and the towers of the Castle, to avoid new insurgency. This event accelerates spopolazione of the ancient core of Maratea, whose municipalities is suppressed in 1808, to be merged with that of lower Maratea, after almost three hundred years of double municipalities on the territory. In 1860 Also at Maratea is constitutes a committee of insurgency for action lucana for the unity of Italy; organized, among others, from the citizen Raffaele Ginnari. In contrast to the rest of the region, Maratea is never involved in the phenomenon of brigandage. At the beginning of the XX century also the citizens of Maratea are forced to sustain thanks to emigration. The main destinations for the marateoti are Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil and the United States of America. Counted as "resort" already before the world wars, the beauties of Maratea buy great visibility on the national field after 1953, when the industrial Stefano rivets of Val Cervo installs one textile plant and a farm.
The two cores of Maratea is developed in times and ways. The upper town, located on the top of Monte San Biagio, is for immemorial tradition the oldest, and its inhabitants founded the lower on the northern slope of the same mountain during the medieval age, i.e. the castle. The houses of the ancient Maratea had characteristics of "miniaturization", completely unknown in the rest of the territory: each compartment was about 1/4 smaller than normal, in order to save space and reduce to a minimum the dispersion of heat, guaranteed by an oven for baking which were available to all the houses. In each dwelling was also placed a water cistern, as on the top of the mountain there are no sources. There were however palaces and residences larger confidential, families most wealthy, and on all stands Palazzo Ventapane, grandiose building of which can still be seen the hexagonal loggia. The roads inside consisted of streets, alleys, angiporti and staircases and only two ports permitted access to the fortified town: Porta Santa Maria, located to the southern walls, and Porta dei Carpini, situated on the northern ones. The difficult living conditions of the site, exposed to the weather and the lightning, unite to commuting of farmers who cultivated lands in the valley below, were the prerequisites for the birth of new Maratea.
The village (most frequently indicated as the country) is the current historical center of Maratea. Is perched on a rocky cliff of Monte San Biagio that makes it invisible from the sea, and then, in antiquity, safe from the snares of Saracen pirates. This position has the serious disadvantage to isolate the town from the direct rays of the sun in the month of December and January, blocked by the top of the mountain above. Born as a suburb of the ancient Maratea, this is from 1808 the only municipal capital. The Village has an urban structure uneven and chaotic, due to the roughness of the site: palaces and larger homes even some churches are formed with the union of small houses and other structures. In addition to the sacred buildings, including the ancient church of San Vito, the eighteenth-century church of the Annunziata, the seventeenth century church of Our Lady of Sorrows, the church of the Immaculate Conception and the church of Sant'Antonio; the architectural emergencies main are the ancient palaces of the nobility marateota: Palazzo De happy, that from 1734 it hosted the first hospital of Maratea, Calderano Palace, Palazzo D'Orlando, Palazzo De Filippo, Palazzo Heirs Picone and Palazzo Gennari. The viability, closed in tortuous but picturesque alleys, opens in a long course, said the Piazza, at whose ends are located two votive columns, enlarged in the twentieth century with the opening of two squares: Piazza Biagio Vitolo and Piazza Buraglia Gennaro.