The park was officially instituted on December 6, 1991 to protect the territory of Cilento from building speculation and mass tourism. In 1998 it becomes a World Heritage Site of UNESCO , also with the ancient Greek towns of Paestum, Velia and the Padula Charterhouse.
The other natural reserves instituted in the area of the park are the "Natural reserve of Foce Sele-Tanagro" (created in 1993, with the Oasis of Persano) and the "Maritime reserve of Punta Licosa", in the municipality of Castellabate.
The national park's territory, one of the greatests in Italy, not includes all the municipalities of the areas of Cilento and Vallo di Diano.
It includes almost all the Cilentan Coast and its central forest area is Pruno.