Buonvicino (CS)

Paradise at the foot of the Pollino mountain range

Buonvicino is a small village located inside the Parco Nazionale del Pollino (Pollino National Park), in the province of Cosenza
 
The town centre is on a rocky spur, in a panoramic position with respect to the valley below. Partially located between the mountain range and the valley of the river Corvino, its area stretches out til the Tyrrhenian Sea near Diamante.
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Buonvicino's surrounding area boasts a unique ecosystem with rocks, plants, animals and soil that change their appearance depending on the position and seasons.
 

It is surrounded by olive trees in the hills and decorated by green cedars along the course of the river, framed by magnificent woods on higher ground, and at higher altitudes, is home to the "Pino Loricato” (Bosnian pine); a survivor of the last ice age which has become a symbol of Pollino National Park. Within it, the park boasts a unique ecosystem with rocks, plants, animals and soil-types that change their looks depending on the position and seasons. Here mountain slopes are embroidered with beech trees, chestnut trees, turkey oaks and carpeted by mushrooms, fruit and herbs, while populated by animals in danger of extinction as the Apennine Wolf. Buonvicino’s local population still retains customs and traditions of ancient origins, revealing the ethnic character of an indigenous culture and deeply rooted identity.

 
Buonvicino
 

The old town stands on a rocky spur within Pollino National Park. Visitors are greeted with a maze of alleys, “window-sills" and stairways leading up to portals of excellent workmanship. Houses in the old town centre lean against one another, displaying similar features to those of many other small villages of Pollino National Park. As part of a medieval layout, houses were built on steep slopes, with arches and supports being the dominant features of streets, while stately homes and “palazzotti” manor houses tell stories of various time periods also through their portals.
In the old town centre and worthy of a visit is the Palazzo De Paola of the barons of Malvito. Not to be missed are also the three elegant buildings attributed to the Cauteruccio family. The first is abandoned in piazzetta XVII Settembre; the second, obtained by the Municipality, is now the headquarters of the Museo Arti e Gusto Buonvicino (Buonvicino's Museum of Arts and Taste); the third, purchased by private individuals, has given life, together with other buildings, to the “Borgo dei Greci”; Pollino Park’s first “Albergo Diffuso” (scattered hotel).
From Buonvicino, there are a large number of nature trails located in Pollino National Park which is the largest protected area in Italy and also the one that better interprets the concept Anglo-saxon wilderness: a natural area where the presence of man is rare and the scenery comprises only green, space, sky and rock. In Corvino valley it is possible to visit the cave where the anchorite San Ciriaco Abate (Abbot St Cyriacus) lived between the X and XI centuries. The adjoining small white church is located above the cave where the young St Cyriacus withdrew to pray and has a steeple next to it whose bells were fused in Naples.
Climbing up the mountain, at 800 metres of altitude is the santuario della Madonna della Neve (shrine of Our Lady of the snow). Downstream of the village of Serapodolo (near the habitat of fifty types of wild orchid), is Sasso dei Greci; an ancient settlement of Hellenic origins.

 
Buonvicino
 
Buonvicino's Museum of Arts and Taste

The Museum is located inside an elegant “palazzotto” owned by the municipality and recently renovated, in the heart of the old town centre. The building displays many agricultural tools and equipment: 350 pieces items collected and catalogued over the course of more than 30 years. The first floor houses the library and a room for screenings and meetings, which complete the offer of a museum that combines tradition and modernity while highlighting its uniqueness in the quality of furnishings, in part hand-crafted but also an expression of the most advanced modern technology.
The Museum contains the town’s history divided into five thematic sections: Archaeology (findings of Byzantine and Longobard settlements uncovered at Sasso dei Greci), folk art (documentation of the area's crafts), sacred art, contemporary art and environmental assets. One room is dedicated to Ippolito Cavalcanti, who lived between the XVIII and XIX centuries, Duke of Buonvicino and gourmet at the Bourbon court, author of the Treaty of theoretical-practical cuisine containing more than a thousand recipes.

 
Buonvicino
 
Corvino Valley and Serapodolo

The river Corvino, which joins Buonvicino to Diamante, offers many possibilities to tourists, including nature walks as well as cultural, religious and archaeological tours. From the source to the mouth, it crosses various natural environments which differ due to climate and morphological characteristics and which, in times past, played a key role in thriving activities such as the cultivation of sugar cane, silkworm rearing, the cultivation of figs and cedars, widely diffused throughout the whole riviera. Following the path, going deeper into the valley is Serapodolo; a wide natural area with dense woodland and vegetation rich in Apennine beech forests, that is honoured by the presence of the wolf.

 
Buonvicino
 
Santuario di Madonna Della Neve (shrine of Our Lady of the Snow)

The shrine is located on the Monte della Neve (Snow mountain), at a height of 720 metres above sea level.
Over the course of the years the church was enlarged and decorated and has become a destination for pilgrims, especially on the feast of 5 August. From the summit of the mountain, where the shrine is based, visitors can enjoy unique views across the Gulf of Policastro to Sicily and of the relaxing green woods of the Apennines, in a fantastic setting.

 
Buonvicino
 
Gastronomy

During the Easter season, gastronomic culture is intertwined with that of religion: it is tradition to spend Easter Monday at Pollino National Park bringing dishes such as oven-baked pasta, kid with baked potatoes, asparagus omelette, and sweet or savoury pizza.
The feast dedicated to the Madonna della Neve is held on 4 and 5 August at 800 meters in altitude amidst tarantella folk dances and typical dishes. While in mid-September, the patron saint's feast takes place: St Cyriacus is carried in procession in the Corvino valley, where he is remembered by eating fusilli pasta with a sauce made of goat meat, salted cod and fried peppers, stew and goat tripe.
The evening of “Rapsodia d’Autunno” in restaurants is dedicated to the recipes of Ippolito Cavalcanti, the Southern “Artusi”. Lastly, during the Christmas festivities, the stars are sweets such as the chinuule, cannariculi and crespelle.

 


 


Address Via Roma n.10
  87020 Buonvicino (CS)
Phone number 0985 85873
Fax 0985 85085
Website http://www.comune.buonvicino.cs.it/
 

 

From the top of the mountain where the church stands, the view is enchanting and takes in the horizon from the Gulf of Policastro to Sicily, to the relaxing green forests of the Apennines chain. 

The heart of the old town is characterized by small alleyways and lanes facing the sun and overlooking the Corvino stream flowing beneath.

There are many naturalistically and culturally interesting locations.

Serapodolo, originally called Serapoto, derives its name from the Greek words skiara (dry) and potamos (river). By these words, the Greeks referred to a dry riverbed at the foot of Mount Giuda. Greeks never lived in the area, but exploited it to burn lime, make charcoal or extract resin to produce pitch for their ships. The site has a great archaeological importance, though no findings have been discovered yet.

Piazza dei Greci is 967 m high on top of Sasso dei Greci. A Magna Graecia stronghold probably stood there. Francesco Casella claimed that the fortification was the ancient Skidros or Scidro. For its position on the Tyrrhenian coast, the town had the control of commercial trade towards the inner routes, at the times when Sybaris was a powerful city.

Archaeologists found the place where the fortification stood and remains of walls, bricks, tiles and clay fragments were  unearthed.

Primitive dwellings were built in Salvato. It lies in a clearing at an elevation of 500 m. Fragments of tiles and plates, and human remains were found in the area.

A “casale” (hamlet) with the same name was located in Trepidone. Remains of stone and lime walls together with clay fragments of Greek origin were found near three very high rocks that are similar to a tripod’s feet. A rudimentary iron dagger was also discovered in the area.

The Shrine of Madonna della Neve, built in the 18th century, is located on Mt della Neve, 720 m high above sea level. In earlier times, another church, whose ruins are visible in the woods called “Santa Maria” near Trepidone, was dedicated to the holy Virgin.

The Main Church was built in the late 16th century and dedicated to Abbott Cyriacus, the patron saint of the town. It keeps the relics of the saint in a reliquary located under the main altar, and a silver statue on the same altar. The byzantine capitals and low reliefs reproducing different fruits like grape and citrons are remarkable. A fresco reproducing saint Cyriacus with emperor Michel and his daughter Marina in the act of performing the miracle of Constantinople decorates the vault.

The cave of Saint Cyriacus where the young man used to pray, stands near the Corvino stream and is characterized by remarkable concretions. The Church of the cave of Saint Cyriacus stands above the cave and was built between 1930 and 1935 thanks to father Ciriaco Liserre and the commitment of the congregation. The small white church has a bell tower whose bells were casted in Naples.

The Civic Museum of Buonvicino Municipality is called “Museo del gusto e delle tradizioni popolari” (Museum of Taste and Popular Traditions), but it is known as MAGB, Museo Arti Gusto Buonvicino (Musuem Arts and Taste Buonvicino). It was established in 2014 to keep, promote and preserve  the historical heritage of the community. The museum houses the objects that Francesco Casella collected for 20 years, that date from the 10th century to present days.



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