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THE OLD TOWN OF VICO EQUENSE

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The most ancient treasures of this territory all come from a dig in the pre-Roman necropolis, discovered in the 1960s in the area that stretches from vico Lungo to via Santa Sofia and via Nicotera. But these places were considered archaeological sites already in the 1800s, since artifacts (funerary and non) were found many times over. The many finds, that can go as far back as the 7th century, suggest that these lands fell under the Etruscan-Italic realm which extended all the way to Pontecagnano. The Corinthian material that was found does not necessarily indicate a Greek settlement, because the oldest artefacts found in the necropolis seem to be strongly influenced by the Etruscan style. The later artefacts are, instead, of clearer origin and prove there was an exchange of Hellenic elements. The Graecized taste seems stronger during the Imperial age, as show the sculptures that were found – namely “Psyche and Cupid”, now kept in the Museo Nazionale di Napoli. The late Roman age, the beginning of Christianity and the long era of the early Middle Ages, instead, left very few traces, which can be found in the 14th and 15th century housing complexes: no more than a few chipped columns, a shelf here and there, and some fragments of an upside-down frame used as a support element. In the early 1300s, the outcrop overlooking the sea on the site that was once again being renovated featured the new cathedral Cattedrale dell’Annunziata. The open space in front of the sea must have been deeper at first, with the cliff gradually collapsing and reducing the lodge to stand at a precipice. The interior has three naves with a pentagonal apse, and was in part stripped bare from the stratifications that gathered over the centuries. The minor naves show the original essence of the structure, but have lost the frescoes that once decorated them. All that is left are some large fragments of frescoes similar to the hand of Roberto di Oderisio. In the vestry are stucco portraits of the bishops of the Dioceses. At the end of the sequence is an angel inviting silence – that was the space reserved for monsignor Michele Natale, Jacobean bishop executed in the Piazza Mercato in Naples for his republican ideas, together with Eleonora Pimental Fonseca, in 1799. On the walls of the ex-cathedral are numerous tombs, from the 14th century one of bishop Cimino which features an ancient winged-horse plate, to 19th century ones. The wall next to the square-shaped bell tower is embellished by a Renaissance triptych, whilst the large canvas with the “Vergine Annunziata” by Bonito is framed at the centre of the apse. Other fine paintings, wood carvings, devotional statues and precious furnishings decorate this ancient temple, which the locals look to as a symbol and icon of their land. The small roads around the cathedral confirm the Catalan architectural influence introduced by the craftsmen at the service of Alfonso il Magnanimo. It is possible to see Catalan structures on the entrance pier on the most ancient side of the castle, which was worked on many times over. The medieval part faces the sea and consists of a large terraced space with an all-sea view, whilst the rest of the huge complex and the park are part of the many extensions carried out over time by the various feudal lords. The garden filled with secular plants, the fountains, the sun-sheltered avenues and the armoury make this a “place of delights”. But here, like in other manors, the stories of the feudal lords have been turned into gloomy accounts by the people. A true story, however, is the one of the illustrious author of “The Science of Legislation” Gaetano Filangieri, who stayed here because he believed he would be able to conquer the evilness that was overcoming him. His mortal body lies defeated in a pillar close to the Cathedral, said to be a ballot box. In 1840 the highway Sorrentina cut through a part of the town and generated an increase of construction, which included several hamlets that were previously outside the old town. The best conserved settlements outside the city walls are Piazzetta della Croce and Santa Maria del Toro. The latter was erected around the convent of the 16th century church by the same name, adorned by a beautiful coffered ceiling in carved and painted wood. At the edge of the old town of Vico is the monastic complex of Santissima Trinità, which features a church and cloister. In front of the convent is the church of Santa Mara delle Grazie, also known as “Punta a mare”. Along the 19th century Statale Sorrentina highyway, around the square that features a 1843 fountain and in the roads of modern-day Vico Equense, it is possible to see villas of the 1900s sometimes hidden by the gardens, as well as elegant burgher houses. Situated along the main street, right in the middle of the town, is the “Museo Mineralogico Campano” of the Fondazione Discepolo. The museum features over 3500 specimens of 1400 different mineral species from all over the world, and an interesting fossil selection, all in all providing visitors with a unique experience into the world of natural science. Finally, on the street that goes up to the many hilltop farmhouses, is the brand new “Museo del Convento di San Vito”, displaying works of art retrieved from disused and abandoned churches and convents in southern Italy.

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Comune di Vico Equense - Ufficio Turismo e Cultura

sede legale Corso Filangieri, 98
Tel.: +39 081/8019100
sede operativa Viale Rimembranza, 1
Tel.: +39 081/8019500
Cod. Fiscale: 82007510637
Part. IVA: 01548611217
80069 Vico Equense (NA) 

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