Explore the medieval village of San Severino

Published on:

San Severino di Centola is one of the hidden pearls of Campania, located along the road to Palinuro, this abandoned village offers a unique experience for nature and art lovers. Its breathtaking panorama at sunset is a real oasis of peace and tranquility, a unique opportunity to discover the beauties of Cilento. A one-hour stop during your holidays in Palinuro or Marina di Camerota will allow you to appreciate the beauty of the less known places in Cilento.

San Severino di Centola, the medieval village near Palinuro

San Severino di Centola is an enchanting medieval village, located in the heart of Campania . With its narrow alleys and stone houses, this ancient abandoned settlement in Campania oozes history and tradition. The cultural heritage of San Severino di Centola has been preserved and cared for for generations, making it an ideal place for those seeking an authentic experience. San Severino di Centola is an idea destination for those who love cultural tourism and the exploration of local traditions. A medieval treasure that you absolutely must discover during your holidays in Cilento.

History of the medieval village of San Severino di Centola

The ancient village of San Severino located in Campania was founded between the tenth and eleventh centuries. Its privileged position on the Devil's Gorge on the Mingardo river and the castle that overlooks the town make it a place of great historical and architectural interest.

The history of the name of the village of San Severino di Centola is the subject of debate among historians. According to the humanist Pietro Summonte , the village took its name from the Sanseverino family , one of the most powerful and richest in the Principality of Salerno during the Norman government and in the Kingdom of Naples under the Angevins and Aragoneses .

On the other hand, Giuseppe Antonini 's point of view is different , who claims that it would have been the family that took the name from the village instead. This thesis is also shared by other historians such as Bozza and Domenicantonio Stanziola , according to whom the Sanseverino family "so named itself after the castle and village of Sanseverino".

San Severino di Centola has ancient origins, dating back to the 7th century. Historical sources suggest that the urban settlement was founded in the "Tragara" gorge, on the upper bank of the Mingardo river, by a group of Bulgarian mercenaries who emigrated with their prince Aztek to the Lombard principality of Salerno. This is what Paolo Diacono reported in his Historia Langobardorum .

The ancient inhabitants of the village were soldiers assigned to control the Mingardo gorge and the main connecting artery for the Policastro gulf, thus guaranteeing the connection with the port of Palinuro. The construction of a watchtower dates back to this period, the remains of which are still visible from above, and of the first houses for the armigers. The village was therefore an important strategic point for the defense and protection of the area.

Because the village of San Severino has been abandoned

The abandonment of the medieval village of San Severino di Centola was caused by the difficulty of access and the lack of essential services such as drinking water and electricity. The inhabitants had to look for a more suitable place to live, moving towards the lower areas, where they found a higher quality of life. The old village chapel continued to be used as a place of worship for a long time, but in 1977 it ceased to be the community church. Today, the abandoned village has become a cultural treasure, with houses and churches that still retain the signs of the past and the charm of the Middle Ages.

Cultural heritage of the medieval village of San Severino di Centola

The cultural heritage of the medieval village of San Severino di Centola is truly unique and precious. This small town has preserved many of its ancient traditions and its millenary history, making it a place of great cultural value. Its narrow streets and stone houses are an example of the medieval architecture of the Campania region.

What to see in San Severino di Centola in Cilento

The medieval Castle of San Severino di Centola was a fortress of great importance during the Middle Ages. Built in the 11th century, the castle has undergone many transformations over the centuries and today features pointed arches, a hall with windows and a niche, as well as part of the palatine chapel, apse and nave. This historical monument represents an important treasure of the cultural heritage of the medieval village of San Severino di Centola.

Medieval village in Southern Italy
San Severino di Centola - South Italy

The Longobard Tower of San Severino is another important element of the cultural and historical heritage of the Cilento medieval village. The Lombard Tower is an imposing and solid structure that dates back to the Lombard period. It was built to protect the village from possible external threats, controlling the valley and the communication routes. Today, the ruins of the tower still show us parts of a small barrel vault, a testament to the architecture and technology of the time.

The Baronial Palace of San Severino di Centola is an imposing structure located in the center of the ancient village. Built in the 15th century, this palace represents an important part of the history and cultural heritage of the village. The baronial palace consists of three floors, with a facade that extends along the entire ancient village. To access the various floors, you have to enter from the level of the main street of the village, as the floors are not communicating with each other. The baronial palace is an exceptional example of medieval architecture that deserves a visit during a tour of the ancient village of San Severino di Centola.

Other things to see in San Severino di Centola are the two churches. The church of Santa Maria degli Angeli is one of the oldest in old San Severino. Its simple and linear architecture, composed of a single nave and a pentagonal apse, contains an important cultural and spiritual heritage. The church is crowned by a square bell tower which overlooks the southern area of ​​the village. Its location, in one of the oldest areas of the country, makes it an important point of reference for visitors. The church of San Nicola, located in the heart of the ancient village of San Severino di Centola, boasts a semicircular apse and a single nave. Despite being an old building, its bell tower is still in use and hosts some religious celebrations of great importance to the local community.

The Cilento Emigrant Museum , located in the medieval village of San Severino di Centola, honors the memory of those who left their country to seek their fortune in other places. The museum pays homage to all the people of Cilento who emigrated to the coal mines of Pennsylvania in the last century in search of work.

The structure of the museum was created to preserve and disseminate the memory and identity of Cilento , through original objects that faithfully recreate the environment of the farmer-emigrant's house. The museum is a living testimony of the history and tradition of Cilento.

The medieval art of San Severino di Centola in Palinuro

Medieval art in San Severino di Centola is a hidden treasure that deserves to be discovered. This medieval village has preserved many of its ancient works of art, which tell the story and traditions of the region. The church of San Severino, built in the XIII century, is a true artistic jewel, with frescoes and sculptures of great beauty. Other historic buildings in the village, such as the town hall and noble houses, are decorated with elegant frescoes and sculptures dating back to the Middle Ages.

Natural landscape of San Severino di Centola

The natural landscape of San Severino di Centola is a true spectacle of nature. This medieval village is nestled at the foot of the mountains and close to the sea, offering visitors stunning views of the countryside and coast. The surrounding countryside is covered in olive trees, vines and flowers which create a chromatic harmony with the intense green of the mountains. The crystal clear sea of ​​Palinuro is an ideal place for water sports enthusiasts and for tourists looking for some peace and tranquillity. The nature around San Severino di Centola is untouched and wild, offering visitors a unique and unforgettable experience. If you are on holiday in Marina di Camerota or Palinuro you must visit the abandoned village of San Severino and stroll along the bank of the Mingardo river.

The San Severino railway bridge and the Panoria oasis

The fascist-era railway bridge (1928) is the most spectacular civil work that crosses the Mingardo valley. The majestic bridge with eight red arches immediately catches the eye of those arriving by car in Palinuro. On the walls of the railway viaduct the fascist coat of arms stands out in white. Remained in operation until 1965 , today it is part of the high engineering works.

Like a red tongue, the railway bridge emerges from the double-pointed cliff on which the ancient medieval village of San Severino di Centola rests. This work of high engineering design is embedded in the narrowest part of the Mingardo Gorge. Thanks to its strategic position, the bridge also manages to resist the bombings of Allied planes, which unsuccessfully tried to destroy it during the Second World War.

A destination for trekking lovers and more, it is still possible to walk the upper viaduct and take the masonry tunnel for a perfect view of the old village of San Severino di Centola. The railway bridge is used today for initiatives related to the National Day of Forgotten Railways event, the structure has been equipped with skilful lighting which, when the sun goes down, lights up the contours of this wonderful bridge which welcomes those who pass on the road that runs along Mingardo River in the direction of Palinuro-Marina di Camerota.  

At the foot of this red brick giant, the Mingardo river flows slowly towards the sea of ​​Palinuro. The erosive action of the water along the rocks has led to the formation of various gorges. Although the name suggests something else, it is in the Devil's Throat that an oasis rises. The Panoria oasis on the banks of the Mingardo river and at the foot of the red giant becomes the place of tranquility and silence for a dip in the waters of the Cilento river.

If you want to know what excursions you can do near San Severino during your holidays in Cilento>

How to get to San Severino di Centola

Medieval village San Severino di Centola

If you are on holiday on the Cilento coast and want to know how to get to San Severino, just follow the directions to reach Palinuro . Leaving the highway that leads to Sapri, just a few minutes from the Poderia exit, the medieval village of San Severino stands on the rock overlooking the Mingardo river. The village is accessed via a staircase that climbs up the mountain. You can leave your car in the small parking lot at the foot of the entrance and start the climb that takes you to visit the village.

You can arrive by train in San Severino and get off at the Centola-Palinuro-Marina di Camerota station. A short 15-minute walk along the streets of the village of San Severino will take you to the staircase at the entrance to the old village of San Severino di Centola.

You can visit the village of San Severino every day . The best times to visit the village are in the afternoon to fully enjoy the spectacular view of the Mingardo valley.

Where to stay in San Severino di Centola

B&B in Palinuro Casale del Borgo
B&B Casale del Borgo

If you are looking for an authentic experience in the unspoiled nature of Cilento, San Severino di Centola is the perfect destination for you. For your stay, you can choose to stay in one of the wonderful farmhouses scattered around, where you can taste the culinary delicacies of the area and immerse yourself in the peace and silence of nature. Alternatively, you can opt for a room in one of the B&Bs in San Severino di Centola, which will give you an unforgettable experience in a unique historical and cultural context. No matter what your choice, one thing is certain: in San Severino di Centola you will live an authentic and unforgettable experience.

The advantages of a Bed and Breakfast in San Severino are many. Accommodation in San Severino is cheaper than a hotel in Palinuro on the sea. You can also easily reach the beaches of Marina di Camerota or Palinuro avoiding the typical traffic of the Cilento seaside resorts.

Find out more about the rooms of the B&B in San Severino di Centola near Palinuro

Make a request at Villamirella