At the centre of the bay stands the old village of Castellabate overlooking the sea from its 1,000 feet height. The medieval town of Castellabate is a center of great historical and cultural interest, having been inhabited by the Normans, Saracens, Byzantines, Spaniards and the French all of whom fought for the town over the centuries. In the Middle Ages Castellabate was the main centre along the Cilento coast for cereal, wine and olive oil trade.
In 1123 St. Costabile Gentilcore IV, Abbot of the Benedectine Abbey of Cava de' Tirreni - a town near Salerno, had the Castle built on the hill overlooking the bay, hence the name of “Castellabate”, literally Abbot’s castle. In the same year the Abbot finished the construction of the Church with its splendid Bell Tower. The church, two naves founded, contains a 500 AD baptismal font, a wood-carved Chorus, a monumental confessional and also a beautiful carved lectern, remake on the previous one. Because of the many artistic treasures that it preserves, the church was elevated to minor Papal Basilica with an Apostolic Letter on August 2nd 1988. Castellabate and its castle proved to be a useful refuge for the inhabitants of the area against the raids of the Saracen Pirates, thanks also to the numerous sight towers. Around the castle arose a small centre that in the course of time became the richest of the Cilento Nobility. The most of the Cilento relevance and its elegant culture derives from the social and economic influence of the Benedictine religious order that lived here during the centuries.