Discover Campania’s Irno-Cavese Territory

The territory of Irno-Cavese in Campania is represented by GAL Terra è Vita. This area stands out for its excellent landscapes. Within its vast area it boasts the presence of parks, oases, natural paths, Sites of Community Importance (SIC), Special Conservation Zones (SACs), and Special Protection Zones (SPAs).

This territory is known for its beautiful natural resources and biodiversity, recognized through the establishment of a Regional Park and the presence of Sites of Community Importance and other protected natural areas .

Among them, is the Municipality of Vietri sul Mare, which is on the Amalfi Coast and is included in the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List. In the Municipality there is a natural area, called Parco Croce which is on the slopes of Monte Falerio, while another part is occupied by the Mediterranean forest.

Also noteworthy is the Diecimare Natural Park, a protected natural area of ​​Campania established in 1980. It occupies an area of ​​444 hectares in the province of Salerno and is an oasis. Managed by the municipalities of Cava de ‘Tirreni, Baronissi, Mercato San Severino and WWF, this area is home to mountains peaks such as Monte Caruso, Forcella della Cava (852 m), Poggio, Monte Cuculo and Montagnone. The park is characterized by two distinct geological areas: the area of ​​Monte Caruso (made of limestone) and that of Forcella della Cava (dolomites and dolomitic limestones).

Monti di Lauro is another site of community importance that touches the municipalities of Bracigliano, Merato San Severino, and Siano. The mountains are characterized by limestone peaks bordering the Campania plain and is home to several species of amphibians, reptiles and bats.

The Dorsale dei Monti Lattari (ZPS), close to Cava dei Tirreni, is characterized by its steep slopes crossed by short torrential streams. This area is perfect to observe the migratory and sedentary birds such as  Pernis apivorus, Circaedus gallicus, Falco peregrinus, Sylvi.

The “Frassineto” natural area extends over an area of ​​81.25 hectares, is entirely covered by high-stemmed coppice. It owes its name to the ash tree which is widely present. It is located mostly in the territory of Calvanico (about 77.1 hectares) and the remaining part in the territory of Fisciano (about 4.15 hectares). Traversed by four paths, inside there are equipped spaces and areas for parking and nature observation points. Inside the area it is possible to enjoy activities such as trekking, nature photography, nature studies, jogging, biking and birdwaching.

Inside the Valle dell’Irno, in Baronissi, from the slopes of Monte Stella, there is the Irno River which travels 11 km before flowing into the Tyrrhenian Sea, after passing through the city of Salerno. The banks are surrounded by arboreal and riparian shrub vegetation,as well as many chestnut plants. The area includes small agricultural gardens and some abandoned industrial dating back the early 1900s. There are also some tuff walls, covered with vegetation where small cavities are excavated which are ancient abandoned quarries.

Among the historical and artistic sites, the area boasts the presence of monuments and buildings to visit to immerse yourself in history:

The Badia of the Holy Trinity of Cava de ’Tirreni is one of those jewels of Christian art that is worth visiting. It contains a centuries-old history which tells the story of popes, princes, feudal lords and preserves an artistic and cultural heritage of exceptional value.

Built in the 11th century by the abbot San Pietro Pappacarbone and consecrated by Pope Urban II on 5 September 1092, it was completely rebuilt in the 18th century on a design by Giovanni del Gaizo. Of the ancient basilica, the 12th century cosmatesco ambo and the chapel of the Holy Fathers remain, renovated and covered with polychrome marble in 1641.

Palazzo Vanvitelli in Mercato San Severino, is a former convent which has a Renaissance architectural structure. The façade has three floors, lightened by columns that function as decorative elements. Of the convent, the ground floor is formed by a base of local stone surmounted by six rectangular tuff frames and two in imitation of semicircular arches. The stone portal is surmounted by the coat of arms of ancient Universitas. On the first floor there are eight all-round columns interspersed with windows and balconies. The style is Doric-Tuscan. The “clock tower” featuring a sundial has been restored with the fresco technique. The convent has kept the original layout until 1943, the year in which the north-west area was hit hard by bombing during the war.

Still in Mercato San Severino it is possible to visit the Sanseverino Castle. The monumental complex of the medieval castle constitutes one of the most remarkable example of military architecture in southern Italy (it is the second largest in this geographical area). The historical environmental interest is made evident by the surviving ruins of its rooms and its three fortified walls.

The walls of the castle, partly in good condition, currently configure the entire original extension which reaches around 350 x 450 meters. Recent excavations conducted by the Center for Medieval Archeology of the University of Salerno have revealed a complex stratigraphy that has highlighted the remains of metallurgical workshops, systems for the use of defense machines, such as catapults and mangles, and materials of daily use, such as pottery, coins, etc., which could be used both for the creation of a museum and for scientific research purposes. The Castle is divided into numerous rooms, including the Piazza d’Armi and the Palazzo of greatest interest.

In Fisciano, surrounded by greenery and with a wonderful panoramic view, stands the Sanctuary of San Michele di Mezzo, built almost entirely of stone, perched on a rock settlement, the Sanctuary dates back to the Norman period, where Pope Gregory VII is said to have taken refuge, guest in Salerno by Roberto il Guiscardo. Inside there is the cave of San Michele, whose origins are estimated around the year one thousand. It is perhaps the oldest place of worship dedicated to the Archangel in the area.

The “Complesso Monumentale dell’Eremo dello Spirito Santo” is a considerable building complex which stands on the hill of the same name between Capriglia and Pellezzano, which is very prominent in the Irno Valley.

What to experience in the Territory

Experience the beauty of the ancient art of Viterbo ceramics. The first stop on this route is Villa Guariglia, home of the Provincial Museum of Ceramics, located in Raito di Vietri sul Mare. A visual journey through a very rich collection that tells the story of the tradition of the art of ceramics from the 17th century to today.

The path continues in Raito with a real ceramic workshop at the studio of the master ceramist Lucio Liguori. Lucio Liguori tells of his works, vases with original shapes and colours, blue fish, figures, where tradition is beautifully merged with innovation and research.

Food and wine specialities of the territory.

This area is famous all over the world for the production of a series of typical products such as: Chestnuts, Cherries, Lemons and Hazelnuts.

Today the best of hazelnut production is scattered between the Irno and Picentino Valleys, with a particular type that has been recognized as the IGP title, the “Giffoni hazelnut”: with its typical rounded light brown shape with some darker streaks.

Next is the chestnut, known since the 1800s, rich in fibers, minerals and with countless beneficial properties, chestnuts have always been identified as the undisputed symbol of autumn.

Also typical in the Irno Valley is the cherry from which various varieties are grown. The cherry extends mainly over two municipalities, one called “di Bracigliano”, from the name of the municipality where it is most widespread, belongs to the local variety “Spernocchia”, which ripens around the second week of June has a dark red colour with a juicy and sweet pulp. The other, called “di Siano”, known as”Pagliaccia”, also called “pallaccia” or “pazzaccia”, which ripens around the first ten days of June and is rather large, red- purple in colour, with a very particular taste which is  sweet and sour, with a tendency to be acidic.

Local Wine of the Territory

The Costa d’Amalfi Rosso DOC is based on the classic red varieties from Campania of Aglianico and Piedirosso. The Rosati della Costa d’Amalfi DOC uses the same blend to make intensely fragrant wines which are mostly dry to the palate. The Vitamenia, Costa d’Amalfi DOC produced by the organic farm Le Vigne di Raito is a definite stand out. It is a dry and organic rosé wine, with great taste and character. It is produced with 60% Aglianico and 40% Piedirosso and is typical of the Amalfi coast.

Recipe

A tasty seasonal recipe characterized by local ingredients which is a great combination with Costa d’Amalfi DOC rosé wines is Spaghetto with anchovies and lemon .

The recipe is very simple: thinly cut the garlic, chop the parsley and chop the chilli. Place the three ingredients in a large bowl and add the anchovy sauce with the oil (evo). Meanwhile, prepare the pasta by cooking it in boiling water without salt. Drain and transfer to the bowl, mix and enjoy!