Nature and story in Vallo di Diano
The wide basin of Vallo di Diano, surrounded by calcareous and Dolomitic mountains of Cilento region and the Lucan Apennines, offers enchanting natural beauties and an extraordinary archaeological, historic, artistic and anthropological heritage. The Vallo di Diano represented an important crossroad of ancient and great civilizations, as all the findings kept in the Civic Museum of Montesano sulla Marcellana testifies. This museum contains the manufactured products of the area, the tools, and all those tool showing the past activities of the inhabitants of this region, representing thus the culture and the local traditions of the territory. The story of Vallo di Diano is also linked to the several attempts of reclaiming the marshes formed by the waters of the Tanagro River. After the Roman domination, the area was conquered and destroyed by Visigoths led by Alaric and later by the Lombards. This territory was inhabited by many famous brigands and even Giuseppe Garibaldi crossed it.
The area includes the following towns: Atena Lucana, Buonabitacolo, Casalbuono, Monte San Giacomo, Montesano sulla Marcellana, Padula, Pertosa, Polla, Sala Consilina, San Pietro al Tanagro, San Rufo, Sant'Arsenio, Sanza, Sassano, and Teggiano.
The Vallo di Diano area is perfect for pleasant excursions along the mountain paths or towards the deep charming caves. The scenarios are extraordinarily breathtaking and gastronomy is delicious thanks to the tasty and genuine local products, often the protagonists of traditional festivals. One of the most typical products is the cheese called Caciocavallo Silano, made with the milk of cows fed only on mountains pastures. In the region Vallo di Diano many events are proposed. The most famous is the artistic and gastronomic summer festival dedicated to Princess Costanza, called " Alla Tavola della Principessa Costanza", held in Teggiano. This event recalls the marriage between Antonello Sanseverino, Prince of Salerno and Lord of Diano, and Costanza, the daughter of Federico da Montefeltro, Grand Duke of Urbino, which took place in August in 1474. This festival is an important occasion to visit the artistic and cultural heritage of Teggiano. For example, you can visit of SS. Pietà Monastery, a XIV century building with a beautiful Renaissance portico and stone portal.
This territory also boasts the majestic charterhouse dedicated to Saint Lawrence situated in Padula, one of the most spectacular monuments in Southern Italy. It has been ordered by Tommaso Sanseverino, count of Marsico, in 1306. A nice event takes place here: each year a festival takes place during which the population prepares a big omelette, made with 1000 eggs. The event is inspired by an episode happened in 1535 when Charles V of Spain on his way back from the victorious battle of Tunisi, stopped in the charterhouse with his army. To welcome him, the cenobites prepared an omelette using 1000 eggs.
Another charming event is that held in Sala Consilina: the "shot of the cock", during the feast dedicated to Our Lady, Madonna di Castello. A multicoloured wood cock goes down a rope along a path of about 300 m and if it blocks up before arriving at the end, it is a sign of bad luck for the whole community for that year. For the occasion, visitors can enjoy a visit to the 'Grancia di San Lorenzo', built in the first half of the XVI century.
The Vallo di Diano area is rich of natural beauties, such as the caves of Pertosa , named "Grotte dell'Angelo" , really beautiful caves with small and big caverns, galleries, and alleys. They are the natural setting of the festival dedicated to ethnic music and culture, called "Negro" and for the annual representation of the "Inferno" by Dante. Some of the most beautiful caves composing them are called as follows: the 'Sala delle Meraviglie', the 'Sala delle Spugne' and 'Sala dei Pipistrelli', the cave of bats, so called because of the thousands of bats living there.
Sassano boasts the 'Valle delle Orchidee e delle Antiche Coltivazioni' which in May is an open-air museum with orchids and ancient cultivations, ideal destination for trekking lovers.