CASALBUONO: relaxation, good food and the atmosphere of the past


    In the heart of the National Park of Cilento and Vallo di Diano, just 10 minutes from the exit Padula-Buonabitacolo on the motorway Salerno-Reggio Calabria we find Casalbuono. Perched on the hill that rises in the valley of the Calore River, the centre still keeps the memory of the first settlements.
    According to tradition, the hamlet was founded by the inhabitants of Cesariana to better protect themselves, given the nature of places, from the Saracen raids. But likely its origins were determined by the need of the peoples of this region to settle in the most healthy places, away from the unhealthy and marshy areas around the river Tanagro.
    During the Middle Ages Casalbuono was a possession of King Manfredi, Charles I d'Anjou and the Abbot of Santa Maria di Cadossa. The village rebelled against the unbearable pressures of the Prior, whose conduct proved to be not so different to that of other feudal lords of that period, who exploited the local populations keeping them living in extreme poverty. From the fifteenth century, the house belonged to the Sanseverino family, who was succeeded by the Cardona family. At the beginning of the 800 AD with the De Stefano family the final demise of the feudal phenomenon was definitively completed even in these areas. All over the 700 AD, the period of the full flowering of Counter-Reformation, a strong growth of the clergy was recorded throughout the whole Vallo di Diano and this could not but have a substantial and consequential increase of the heritage of the church. Suffices to say that during the second half of the XXVIII century, Casalbuono boasted 17 priests, on a population of 1,300 inhabitants, and seven religious buildings, among churches and chapels.
    Painful events have affected over the centuries the people of this quaint village: the plague epidemic which decimated the population during the seventeenth century, and the terrible earthquake in December 1857, whose signs are clearly still visible on old houses and works of architectural interest.
    The historical evolution of Casalbuono has been strongly influenced by defensive reasons, and this fact has led to a preservation of the original urban plan of the medieval type. The traces of the fortifications are almost visible, such as the castle on the hill, the settlements further downstream, the irregularity of the road network that mingles with the steep narrow passages leading to the castle. Key elements of the artistic heritage of Casalbuono are undoubtedly the baronial castle dating from the fifteenth century, when the barony of Sanseverino began to develop, and the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Worthy to be mentioned are also the King's Bridge, and the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows.
    Streets and typical alleys with an atmosphere of other times, brisk air, peace and tranquillity, relaxation, good food, the warmth and hospitality of its people, comfortable and cheap bed & breakfasts and residences seem to us to be valid reasons for a stay in Casalbuono.