Valle dell’Angelo is situated at 600 m above the sea-level. It is inside the Valle del Calore, the green heart of Cilento, at the slopes of Ausinito Mount. The town develops on the hills and mountains and enjoys a wonderful landscape. The climate is very mild. The ancient part of the town is really beautiful, with its narrow streets, the stone portals and the small staircases. This town is so nice and beautiful that the faculty of Architecture of the University Federico II in Naples praised it.
In Valle dell’Angelo there is one of the narrowest streets of Italy: the charming via Flavio Gioia.
In Pruno di Valle dell’Angelo, a very small hamlet situated between 600 and 800 m above the sea-level, there is a small community that lives according the rural traditions of the past. They are isolated as a choice but also for the terrible conditions of the roads, during the winter their community can be reached only by helicopter. Their main activity is agriculture, rearing, and they don’t want to move to Valle where they would find more comforts. Pruno is now the only example of such a community, the others disappeared more than 50 years ago. Pruno is a real museum of rural life. Valle dell’Angelo is considered the town of children because it is the ideal town for children.
The most important monument is San Barbato Church, whose cult comes from Longobard period; there are three naves and three entrances. The main entrance is made of a big wood door with an elegant stone portal. In the portal there are the symbols of San Barbato, Episcopal mitre and book. The wood chorus was made in XVIII century.
Monuments and natural beauties...
- Mazzei Palace, built in 1881
Via Colle Fiorito Palace built in 1878
Vertullo Palace of XVII century
Rubano and Caputi Palace, built in 1897
Coccaro Palace built at the beginning of ‘900
San Barbato Church, whose cult comes from Longobard period, there are three naves and three entrances. The main entrance is made of a big wood door with an elegant stone portal. In the portal there are the symbols of San Barbato, Episcopal mitre and book. The wood chorus was made in XVIII century
Santa Barbara Church with three entrances: the main entrance has an elegant stone portal made around XVIII century. In the portal there are the symbols of Santa Barbara, the book and the mitre. The church has an elegant bell tower.
San Sebastiano Chapel with the statues of San Rocco and Sant’Elia
Grotta dell’Angelo, a cave on Ausinito Mount, with the statue of Saint Michael the Archangel. An arm is broken, the other holds the shield on which ‘Quis ut Deus?’ is written. The cult of the angel comes from Longobards: they used to use caves as places to go and pray
Gole del Festolaro, gorges
Medicale and Mercuri woods
It was probably founded by Italian – Greek monks coming from Siria and Epirus that were persecuted by Byzantine emperors in VIII-IX century. They took refuge in the Cilento. Valle dell’Angelo was a hamlet of Laurino, it was called Laurino Le Chiaine Soprano or Laurino Soprano. Some scholars think that this hamlet had been built as a refuge during transhumance. The monks organized the reclaiming of the area. Around the monasteries founded by them, many people organized communities where they lived and worked. They started the cultivation of olive trees, vineyards, legumes, etc. These people lived in wood houses, then in small stone buildings, and then in bigger house covered by clay tiles. Another evidence of the presence of the monks here is the name with which sometimes the inhabitants were called, “li Piroti”.
In 1273 Valle dell’Angelo had been given, together with Laurino, as a marriage settlement by Enrico di Valdemonte, a Tuscany nobleman, to his daughter that married a Sanseverino. Then it was ruled by members of Sanseverino family for many years. Eventually the hamlet was bought by Roberto Sanseverino, prince of Salerno, who registered it in 1508 to Giovanni Scatterico di Laurino, his auditor.
In 1551 Laurino and its hamlets passed to the Royal Court, in 1552 to Fabio Carafa, who paid 11.300 ducats. In 1563 the feud was bought by Giovanni Carafa Sanseverino. He bought the title of Duke of Valle Valle dell’Angelo, Piaggine and Laurino in 1591. At the beginning of 1700 the ideals of freedom and changes started to develop in Valle dell’Angelo. Population was against either the aristocracy or the middle class. When there was the institution of the Neapolitan republic, in Valle dell’Angelo the freedom tree was built after the New Year’s Day of 1799 in front of San Barbato Church. But when the republicans started to use violence, the enthusiasm of the population for their ideals decreased.
Between 1820 and 1860 then there were many disputes about the lands owned by the state. New lands, originally of the state and of feudatories, were given to new proprietors that didn’t want to accept the demands of farmers to whom no land had been given. These farmers organized themselves in groups, for example “Fratellanza” to which also two inhabitants of Valle dell’Angelo belonged, Antonio Pisciottano and Andrea Mastrandrea. They fought hard against the Bourbon family. Barbato Andreoli fought against the Bourbons, too. They collaborated for the organization of the rebellion of 1828 and 1848 keeping in touch with the most active conspirators of Cilento. In Valle dell’Angelo brigandage didn’t develop much, thanks to the National Guard that worked in that area. But the malcontent was actually very present in this territory: farmers and shepherds were really unsatisfied for their situation. Giuseppe Tardio was a famous brigand from Piaggine Soprane, among his men there was Lucido Rubano: he was born in Valle dell’Angelo on the 29th May, 1804. He took part to the rebellions organized by Tardio who unfortunately lost almost all his supporters.
During the centuries many terrible events took place in Valle dell’Angelo: a terrible plague in 1656 killed a large part of the population; in November, 1818, there was a violent flood that isolated the town; houses were destroyed. The mayor, Donato Bruno, decided to build new walls, to clean the roads without even waiting for the regular authorization: thanks to his decisions and his strength the town avoided bigger losses.
In 1764 there was a terrible famine that killed many people. In May 1764 there were violent rains that destroyed the cultivated lands. People died from starvation, there were many beggars, the prices of the agricultural products were too high. The rich land owners hid the products to sell them at higher prices, they were denounced for this reason but they were never condemned. After the famine there was again the plague. Then in the XIX century measles killed many children. In 1911 cholera arrived and killed so many people that a physician from Salerno was called to help the population.