History of MarateaFrom the beginning until today - the name
Legends, or rather the stories handed down through traditions, have given us many explanations about the origins of the city of Maratea.
For one of these most probably the first steps of the city should be placed in the times of the ancient Greeks, that is in the VIII century BC: the origin would go back to the foundation by the Greeks in search of new colonies of a small nucleus inhabited on the slopes of the mountain which overlooks Maratea southwards, today called San Biagio.
For others, Maratea is nothing but the one that has come to us in the famous city of Blanda, which is of great importance for the Christian world - in fact it has its own bishop's place - and whose traces were lost in the VIII century AD .
The most plausible hypothesis, according to our opinion supported by the thought of various scholars and historians, is a mix of the two most important hypotheses, namely that the inhabitants of Blanda have united with the first inhabitants of Maratea, in the place described above, that is Monte San Biagio; all this, probably at the end of the history of the city of Bland.
THE ORIGIN OF THE NAME
Also with regard to the name there are no unanimous opinions.
For a part of the historians the name would come from "Thea-maris", that is, "Goddess of the Sea";
for others instead of "Mar-an-thà", which means "God has come";
others still from "Marathus" meaning ground of fennel.
This last argument seems to be the most plausible,
supported by the very large presence of wild fennel on the territory today.
TOWERS AND CASTLES
During the centuries, Maratea has never actively participated in the revolutions, but underlined the various dominance over the years, such as the Normans, the Angevins, the Spaniards.
Nevertheless, Maratea has always maintained in all those centuries the strategic value of its geographical position, a condition of privileged status.
The same geographic position has facilitated Maratea's defense of the numerous raids of Arab pirates that have swayed Italian coasts for several centuries.
Between the sea and the mountain, defended by a system of seven towers, some of which today are restored and inhabited, and an imposing castle, now in ruins, after that in September 1806 by order of Gioacchino Bonaparte the upper town was iron and fire by General Lamarque with about 6,000 men, despite the strenuous defense of a prominent official, Alessandro Mandarini head of a small contingent.
From that moment on, slowly the original town center located on Monte San Biagio has started moving to the valley and the sea, creating a whole series of activities such as fishing and silk, cotton, linen and leather processing, while maintaining a discreet production of wine, citrus fruits, oil and vegetables, and of course cheeses, for which Maratea has always been rightly renowned.
In the eighteenth century, Maratea was famous for the high cultural level of its citizens due to the low rate of illiteracy, which continued to distinguish it even after the Unity of Italy.