Roscigno Vecchia is an intriguing ghost town hidden in the Cilento National Park. The town is built in a way that brings to mind a large amphitheatre: a square with the eighteenth-century church, a fountain with watering places and public washrooms in the center, the curtain of the houses with shops, stables, cellars, and the narrow inner streets, the chapels, the cemetery and mule tracks leading to the fields.That's the way Roscigno Vecchia appears today as yesterday.
Roscigno Vecchia was abandoned by its own residents because they were threatened by the landslide in 1902, and then transferred in the new town, far upstream in a safer ground.
The town's name derives from a dialect pronunciation "russignuolo" (Italian "usignolo"), meaning nightingale. It has an agricultural economy: abundant in farmlands planted with olive trees and vines. But Roscigno is not a ghost town, its paths are daily walked 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 and a meeting place for many of the old inhabitants, and you can feel in the air the bond that people have for their old village.
All this is greatly beautiful and interesting for the visitor: the traumatic history, the forced relocation, the functional transformations of the houses, the traditional ways of life and work are reflected in the urban structure, the doorways, the windows, the iron balconies, the wooden floors and stone brickworks.
Roscigno Vecchia is thus naturally become a museum that collects various layers of historical records. It is not a just place where you store objects or a simple museum of works of art or natural history: it is a "city-museum", an area not enclosed by four walls, but outdoors, where the outer limits are merely from the surrounding countryside. Roscigno is a constantly visitable museum, 24 hours 24, 365 days a year, a place of reflection where atmosphere is linked to the biological rhythms of nature. For the scholar, as well as the simple tourist, Roscigno is a "comprehensive document" of social history, but above all is an exceptional laboratory for cultural research "en plein air".
In Roscigno Vecchia (real gem of the fascinating Cilento National Park) currently resides a single inhabitant (Giuseppe Spagnolo) who wanders through the deserted streets of the town, but there come some tourists and the elderly resident takes the opportunity to act as cicerone. In 2000 the village counted 4 people.
Been there? Done that? Share your experience and tips!
Haven't visited yet? Have questions about Roscigno Vecchia? Ask them here!
Explore nearby towns
Situated on a ridge of Mounts Alburni excavated by the course of two side streams, Corleto Monforte has uncertain origin.
The little village of Valle dell’Angelo is high in the hills of the Cilento, in a tranquil spot surrounded by green forests and clean mountain air, with the Calore River in the valley below.
Ottati is a marvellous town located halfway from Castelcivita and Corleto Monforte, along the extreme rocky feet of Mounts Alburni, 526 above the sea level.