They say that there are proportionally more people over 100 here than anywhere else on earth. People seem to live forever and I know why....
Experts will tell you it is because of their wonderful diet. In fact the whole concept of the "Mediterranean Diet" is based on the diet here.
The initial study was done in Acciaroli by American nutritionist Ancel Keys in 1950. He was a nutritionist with the US Army in World War 2 and was amazed how elderly locals seemed healthier than many soldiers.
After the war he returned, realized the folks of Acciaroli were onto something and decided to stay, saying that he'd add twenty years to his life by moving here. He likely did as he lived to 102.
The diet Ancel discovered is nothing like I expected, it includes very little red meat or chicken, little dairy and pretty much no sweet treats. Mostly, it consists of lots of fruits and vegetables, olive oils and unrefined grains; fish (not shellfish though) makes up most of the protein and they drink mostly water and red wine.
There is a museum dedicated to Ancel Keys, and the Mediterranean diet, which you'll find in nearby Pioppi. I took the photo of the food pyramid in the museum and I really recommend you visit.
Why do they live to 100? My theory:
Spend any length of time here and you realize you are living in the nearest thing you'll find to heaven here on earth.
If I lived here I'd want to live forever too.
In fact many visitors stay for a long time... often forever.
Some say Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea was based on his time spent here and that he was forever drawn back to this quiet little town where time seems to stand still and life is lived stress free.
Inspired by the sea and lived according to the seasons you'll find no glitz or bling here.
Leonardo Da Vinci once said: "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
They live by that here in Acciaroli.
Try the Residence Ancora - it comes highly recommended and is only short walk away from the beach; they've a lovely swimming pool too.
What is there to do here? Well quite a lot actually. You've great beaches, fascinating churches, a Norman tower or two and an old town of stone cottages.
Great news too is that only a small number of Italian tourists, and an even smaller number of foreign tourists, have discovered Acciaroli. The result is that apart from July and August it will pretty much be you and the locals.
Definitely stroll around the old town, take it slow and stop and talk to locals, sit on a bench and soak up the atmosphere. Even if you don't speak Italian you can get by with lots of hand-waving, laughter and smiles.
This is the oldest church in town dating back to the 12th century. It sits looking out to sea with its doors open towards the town. Step inside for a moment, get down on your knees and pray and, Catholic or not, you'll feel a sense of peace come over you.
It always happens in these old Italian churches.
If you're here on the second Sunday in August join in the local festival (Festa di Maria SS. dell’Annunziata). It starts off with a Mass in the church, followed by a procession of boats across the water and then a parade through the town.
It's a great way to celebrate Acciaroli's culture together with the locals.
The beaches in town and just outside are all blue flag and the water here is often voted as the cleanest and clearest in all of Italy. The sand too is soft and clean - very little of that gravel that characterizes the Amalfi Coast beaches.
The main beach is the Spiaggia Grande, located to the right of the marina as you look out to sea. It's a huge beach of soft sand with everything you need for a great day at the beach - no matter your age.
There are a fair number of free sections too. So, if you don't want to pay for a place in the deckchair and umbrella section, just lay your towel down in one of these and claim your spot in paradise.
The second biggest national park in Italy and arguably the most varied in terms of scenery - encompassing as it does both the coast and inland mountains.
Hiking the trails is a real pleasure here, none of those crowds that you'll find in the Cinque Terre, on the Amalfi Coast or even in the Dolomites. Most of the time it is just you and pristine nature.
For more on the park visit the website of Italy's National Parks.
Our Tip: If you enjoy hiking and want to explore the park then visit in May when you'll be able to enjoy the beautiful wild flowers and avoid the summer heat .
You'll find the village of Pollica on a hilltop, a little inland from Acciaroli. It's a quaint village of stone houses and a little castle offering spectacular views of the sea far below. Well worth a morning exploring.
In a town with probably the healthiest diet on earth you'll not find any McDonalds or Burger Kings.
I know that's not going to worry you.
For you I recommend a visit to Braceria Marsili. Here you'll feast on local dishes cooked the way nonna would cook for her family. Go with their recommendations on everything. You'll find whatever you eat to be wonderful.
Getting to Acciaroli is really easy:
By car: arriving from the north, take the E45, the SS18 and then the SS267. It's an easy and pleasant drive.
By train: there is no station in Acciaroli but you can get a train to the Agropoli-Castellabate station from pretty much anywhere in Italy and then catch the bus to Acciaroli. The number 34 is the one you want.
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