Roscigno Vecchia is an intriguing ghost town hidden in the Cilento National Park. The town was built in the 1600s and 1700s; there's a square with the 18th-century church, a fountain to fill water jugs and public wash basins in the center, the outline of the houses with shops, stables, cellars, and the narrow inner streets, along with chapels, a cemetery and mule tracks leading to the fields.That's the way Roscigno Vecchia appears today, much as it did in the past centuries. Except that the buildings are empty and there is one lone inhabitant.
Roscigno Vecchia was abandoned by its own residents because they were threatened by a landslide in 1902; they transferred to the new town just upstream on safer ground, and left the old town to the elements. It is a ghostly spectre of a bygone era, fascinating and eerie in its solitary location amidst the Monti Alburni range.
The town's name derives from a dialect pronunciation "russignuolo" (Italian "usignolo"), meaning nightingale. It has an agricultural economy with abundant farmlands planted with olive trees and vines. But Roscigno is not totally a ghost town; its paths are walked daily by the local farmers to work in the country, and the houses in better condition have been turned into warehouses for the gear and stalls for animals. The piazza is still a meeting point for some of the old inhabitants, and you can feel the affection that people have for their old village.
It's beautiful and interesting for the visitor: the traumatic history, the forced relocation, the functional transformations of the houses, the way the traditional ways of life and work are reflected in the urban structure. Remnants of the doorways, windows, iron balconies, tand stone brickworks highlight the workmanship from that era. Some buildings have been restored as a project to train masons and architectural students in the old building methods.
Roscigno Vecchia is a natural open-air museum, a "city-museum", an area not enclosed by four walls, but by the outdoors. Roscigno is a rare museum open 24 - 7, 365 days a year, a place of reflection. It also attracts a number of artists who like to paint in plein air.
Roscigno Vecchia is real gem of the fascinating Cilento National Park, as is its current single inhabitant, Giuseppe Spagnolo, who wanders through the deserted streets of the town, pointing out aspects of the town and its history to anyone who asks.
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