What it is and where it is
Caggiano, a historic village in Campania that, perched on high ground, enjoys the view of the panorama that surrounds it: gentle expanses of wheat and vines, rugged mountains, serene sunrises and magnificent sunsets that plunge into the Gulf of Salerno on the horizon. There is no denying that being the second highest municipality in the province of Salerno, at 828 meters above sea level, certainly has its advantages. Those who look at it from the outside see a collection of houses leaning against each other, the outermost ones rising from walls so old, they look like part of the mountain itself. Walls that are still accompanied by a mighty castle, the heart and guardian of the village.
Why it is special
Anyone entering the historic center of Caggiano will have the feeling of being transported back in time to the Middle Ages thanks to the intricate pattern of narrow streets, stairways and squares full of traces of the past. One detail that catches the eye is the elegance of many of the gates facing the streets: heavy wooden doors with iron sashes, enclosed by stone arches with decorations and coats of arms. These are the "truzzulatùr," born to testify to the importance of the family that lived in that house. A task they have performed diligently to this day, keeping alive the emblems of the ancient noble families.
Not to be missed
The Church of the Most Holy Savior is just one of the houses of worship in the village. It is not the oldest, but it certainly excels in importance. The circular carvings that decorate its façade intrigue the most attentive passersby, but it is inside that history buffs can find bread for their teeth: in parallel with the portals' narrative, the side chapels in the church maintain dedications to the village's most influential families, providing new pieces for understanding the history and society of ancient Caggiano.
A bit of history
Interesting archaeological discoveries, including pottery, ornaments, sculpture fragments, memorial stones and altars, have traced the origins of the village back to the 8th and 7th centuries BC. It is speculated that the present name derives from that of a settlement that arose on the remains of "Ursentum," which the inhabitants would have called Caiano and Caggiano in the early Renaissance. After having been an important Roman fortified settlement, Caggiano gained notoriety in the 10th century when the Normans, under Robert Guiscard (first king of the Norman dynasty), built the magnificent castle that today dominates the entire town.
In ancient times, this small village served as a stopping point for pilgrims and Templars on their way to Jerusalem. The Templars themselves had built a mansio in the locality of Sant'Agnese. Today the building no longer exists, but the memory of the knights' presence remains intact thanks to the symbols related to them found here and there in the village, and the legend that for a time a stone from the Temple of Jerusalem was placed outside the church of Santa Maria dei Greci.
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