Sunday, August 4, 2013

Oasis among the Oaks

Castle on the hill nearby

Back in May, when I was waiting for the Giro d’Italia cyclist boys to ride into my photo ambush, I noticed the sea shore below me was very rocky with no beach. I told Di that we should check it out someday as it could be good snorkeling. Of course I forgot about it until Di suggested we go look. This past Monday we took a drive there and oh boy howdy (mamma mia), are we glad that we did because
we discovered the two small resorts of La Secca and Il Mirto.  “Secca” means a shoal or shallows. “Mirto” is the shrub myrtle that grows there.

Both have a lido/bar, and La Secca has rooms and B&B rentals. We returned Wednesday to experience the place ourselves and we truly found an oasis – an area of shading vegetation that creates a beautiful setting for both lidi. This location is just 18 km north of Scalea on SS18 headed to Maratea. It is just barely into the Region of Basilicata. The old castle is visible as you climb the hill from Tortora. You can see the surrounding hillsides are quite arid and barren, but when you turn into the driveway of the resort, you are instantly in a cool forest all the way to the sea. Flowers line the path to the resorts.

If you ever consider staying at the La Secca facilities, be aware you’ll have to drive a little ways north to the restaurant “White Horse”. Otherwise it is Praia a Mare south, or Maratea north for places to eat. I didn’t spot air con boxes anywhere on their seaside building, so best to ask about that as the sun is intense there and air con would be a must for most people. The B&B has air con. Both places are open June-September.

This view to the south shows Dino Island near where we normally go, and also Monte di Caccia – the double peak in the clouds that we see most mornings from our kitchen. 

Di took this with her Ipad--from her lounge chair at Il Mirto

Both of these places are delightful. Pure tranquility and beauty. If you follow our posts, you may have noticed that we like to snorkel and we don’t prefer crowds. Scalea does not offer help in either summer category. The two lidi that we have relied on for years are Gabbiano and Paradiso, in San Nicola Arcella. We swim back and forth between them. But come August when Italy moves to the beach, both places have crowds, loud music, etc. 

Steps down to the sea
This discovery may become our new “place”. It certainly has potential for the best snorkeling in the area (although the water was choppy Wednesday). We saw lots of fish among the rocks and sea grass, but on a calm day it has to be even better.

Snorkeling area
A quiet game of electronic chess
The relaxed beauty of Il Mirto immediately takes you in. It is well landscaped with native trees and plants as well as geraniums. You the have the choice of sun beds in full sun with un ombrellone, or you can find a spot among the live oaks and olive trees. It was beautiful and peaceful. I think about 50% of the people there were just relaxing in the shade of the trees with the lovely views and others did both – a little swimming followed by reading and napping. You must take my word for that because it is not good manners to point cameras at people in swimming gear! 

La Secca management says their buildings have been there since 18th century, so it may have been a “resort” since then. Their olive trees certainly are that age. The two businesses share the same parking lot which is €8 per day. A bit expensive, but shaded and just a 100 metre walk to the resorts. Lido prices were €15 rising to €18 next week for peak season. Oh – there are no free public beaches in this short stretch of coast. 

If you like peace and quiet, if you like to snorkel, these gems are right for you! When I asked about availability in August, the lido guy said if we come early again like we did (about 9,00) we will find a place. They don’t seem to book themselves-out like others in August. When we go the beach in August, this is where we will be! 

La Secca seaside rooms beyond our spot at Il Mirto


  1. Hi Sue!
    And so it was...going back tomorrow..

  2. Looks lovely! Perhaps a nice place for a picnic in October?

  3. Like many businesses around here, these are only open for 2-3 months for Italian tourists. Very few foreign tourists come to the area to warrant places being open in "shoulder" seasons. In October you would have to rely on local experts to know which places are open!!



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