The National Park of Cilento

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In ancient times, the Cilento area was identified among the villages at the foot of Monte della Stella (1131 m); this area is referred to as "ancient Cilento" [no source] and is partially included in the national park.

The name Cilento, from the Latin "cis-Alentum", meaning "on this side of the river Alento", appears as early as 994 AD. and it was given by the Benedictines, who erected churches and monasteries, which became inhabited centers.

For millennia, Cilento has inspired poets and singers. Many of the Greek and Roman myths were set on its shores. The most famous myth is that of the island of the sirens, in the Odyssey. Those evil creatures that, according to Homer, radiated a song that drove the passing sailors crazy, leading them to crash with their boats on the rocks. The islet that inspired the Cantore of antiquity is probably the one in front of Punta Licosa, to the south near Castellabate. In front of his sea Ulysses let himself be tied to the mainmast to listen to that deceptive song. Another important myth is that of Palinuro, the helmsman of Aeneas. During the voyage to the coast of Lazio he fell into the sea along with the rudder. He clung to the wreck and for three days waged a grueling fight against the raging waves. But when he was finally about to save himself on the shore, he was brutally killed by the inhabitants of those places: since then that promontory took the name of Capo Palinuro. Another myth is that of Jason and the Argonauts who, once escaped from Colchis, to ingratiate themselves with the goddess Hera stopped at her sanctuary at the mouth of the Sele river (the current Sanctuary of Hera Argiva).


National Park, photo near Cannalonga

The thread of Cilento's history unravels up to the present day, sewing large and small events. Linking Roman events (Caesar Octavian Augustus made it a province to breed animals and grow food for Roman tables), to important medieval events (the Lombard Principality in Salerno, the advent of the Basilian and Benedictine monks, the birth of the Barony with the Sanseverino, their revolt in Capaccio in 1246 against Frederick II), up to the first "uprisings of Cilento" in 1828, with the insurrection against Francesco I of Bourbon and his ministers, followed twenty years later by new anti-Bourbon uprisings, then all adhesion to the unification of Italy which was quickly followed by the years of post-unification brigandage.

Traces, memories, monuments, cultures, paths linked to this rich history are safeguarded thanks to the Cilento National Park. Since June 1997, Cilento has been included in the network of Mab-UNESCO biosphere reserves (where Mab stands for "Man and biosphere"): on the whole planet (in over 80 states) there are about 350 of these particular protected areas, which serve to protect biodiversity and promote development compatible with nature and culture.

In 1998 included together with the archaeological sites of Paestum, Velia and Vallo di Diano, in the list of world heritage of humanity.

Soria in Spain, Koroni in Greece, Cilento in Italy and Chefchaouen in Morocco, represent the places of the Mediterranean Diet, registered in the lists of intangible cultural heritage of humanity in November 2010.

In 2010 the Cilento Vallo di Diano and Alburni National Park was included in the European network of Geoparks.

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