Sicignano degli Alburni
Sicignano degli Alburni is a hilltop aerie crowned with a castle, set in the middle of the Cilento National Park. The town is said to date back to 450 BC when a Roman soldier was granted the land for his service against the Sabines. From Siccio came the name of the town. The first written citation using its current name was in 1086 in reference to a Norman Count Asclettino "di Sicignano, lord of Polla" who donated land and materials to the monastery in Cava dei Tirreni.
Sicignano degli Alburni rests in the rural, rugged Alburni mountains, composed of dolomitic rock and sliced with rivers. The town sits between the Tanagro, Calore and Sele Rivers and offers an abundance of trails and outdoors activities. Many enjoy the hikes to the summits, where views extend all along the Cilento and Amalfi coasts and inland to neighboring Basilicata region. There are grottos, or caverns; the most famous in the zone are Castelcivita and Grotta dell'Angelo (also known as the Grotta di Pertosa). But closer by are less-known caves to explore, like Grotta di Fra Gentile and Grotta d'Auso. The wooded hills and rivers protect a large variety of flora and fauna. Between Sicignano and Petina you will find many enjoyable hikes.
In town, the main monument is the dominating castle, called Castello di Giusso. Built around 1000 AD it belonged to the Princes of Salerno then passed to the Normans. It was revised in the 1300s to add three watch towers and the castle and surrounding borgo were walled for protection. It's a quaint tangle of lanes with beautiful views over the countryside, and there are shops and services for daily needs, including a grocery, pharmacy, coffee bars, pastry shop and restaurants.
The town hosts a series of sagras throughout autumn to celebrate the woodlands harvests (especially chestnuts and mushrooms!) in the various hamlets that are part of Sicignano. There are churches with art, and the eerily lovely Convento of Frati Cappuccini in the frazione Grottapagano. Built in 1572, it has long been abandoned but provides one of those strangely beautiful ghostly places.
Sicignano degli Alburni is not far off the highway that takes you to the coast or into the heart of the Cilento National Park. Nearby is the spa resort of Contursi Terme, known for its curative naturally springly mineral waters. Most people come here for the natural setting and outdoors activities.
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Explore nearby towns
Castelcivita is a small medieval village, nestled at 600 meters (1940 feet) above the sea on the slopes of the Alburni mountains, in the Cilento National Park.
The ancient Volcei tribe left one of the most important archaeological sites in the province of Salerno, part of Cilento National Park.
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.