You know that land, her lemon groves in bloom?
A land boasting millennia-rich history composed of fragrant olive trees, unspoilt bays and coves, secluded cliffs, and tropical beaches, which once fascinated illustrious artists, writers, and other historical figures – and still enchants visitors today with its humble yet unparalleled beauty. Our own history also finds its roots in this land, beginning in the 1920s, when artists and painters would visit Palinuro; artists who, like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, had embarked on a journey to discover southern Italy and the Mediterranean.
A captivating (hi)story
Palinuro’s beauty didn’t stay a secret for long: Many German artists who were residing on Ischia or the Amalfi Coast would head out to discover as yet unexplored places, such as Cilento. One of these was painter Walter Herzger and his wife Gertrud, who stayed at our hotel until the mid-1950s. They and many others were guests of our great-grandparents Felice and Alessandra Pacelli. The present Santa Caterina Hotel hosted all travellers who passed through Palinuro, including nobles and aristocrats. It was a small, welcoming hotel where – as told by Guido Piovene in his documentary “Viaggio in Italia” (Travel through Italy) – host Pacelli would tell local anecdotes and the cook, married to a Venetian, masterfully brought together the flavours of southern and northern Italy in a perfect blend.
The courage of a man who changed our destiny
In 1949, Pietro Pacelli transformed the Pacelli guesthouse into a hotel. The war had just ended and at that time Palinuro, a small town of mariners, was difficult to reach as there were no roads; people moved around by boat or riding a donkey. Pietro Pacelli’s entrepreneurial spirit was therefore not seen in a positive light. In response to people’s scepticism, he announced that the hotel would be called Santa Caterina, named after Saint Catherine of Alexandria, patron saint of the “insane”. His vision and his love for his region were the driving forces that drew tourism to Palinuro. Santa Caterina was followed by San Pietro – dedicated to Pietro Pacelli and inaugurated by our parents Domenico Cerullo and Rita Corradin –, and Odissea Camping Village.