The Central-Southern Apennines are the result of the collision between Europe and Africa. Despite the volume of existing literature, many problems remain unsolved such as the presence of Tertiary conglomerates containing exotic basement clasts. The lack of basement rocks in the Central-Southern Apennines implies that the origin of these clasts has to be sought in areas where the basement is extensively exposed. These include the Calabro–Peloritani arc and the Sardinia–Corsica block, which in Cenozoic time were connected to the Central-Southern Apennines. In this work we present the results of sedimentary, geochemical and petrographic analyses performed on the exotic basement-derived clasts. These analyses include lithological, major- and minor-element and rare Earth element compositions which are compared to analogous rocks from Calabria and Sardinia basements. Results indicate Eastern Sardinia as the primary source area for the studied conglomeratic units, linking the Central-Southern Apennines sedimentary cover to the Mesozoic carbonates of Eastern Sardinia prior to the opening of Tyrrhenian Sea. The Cilento unit (Campania) was directly fed by an uplifting Cenozoic orogen, and the Filettino, Gavignano (Latium) and Ariano Irpino (Campania) units were produced by the successive reworking of ‘Cilento-like’ sedimentary units. These results may imply that part of the Central-Southern Apennines represented a portion of the European margin of the Tethys.