Vico Equense, Province of Napoli, Campania
A lively tourist resort in the Sorrento Bay, with its Giusso Castle on the coast and the impressive Mount Faito (1400 metres high) just behind the center, Vico offers mountain and the sea a few minutes away. The enchanting coast from Punta Orlando to Punta Scutolo is a sequel of beaches with modern bathing facilities. It is also the home of the Neapolitan-style pizza and, being in a central position in Campania, allows to reach easily all the tourist destinations in the region.
- Population: about 20,900 inhabitants in 2017
- Zip/postal code: 80069
- Dialing Area Code: +39 081
- Patron Saint: Saints Ciro and Giovanni, celebrated on 31 January
- Frazioni & Localities: Arola, Bonea, Fornacelle, Massaquano, Moiano, Monte Faito, Montechiaro, Pacognano, Patierno, Pietrapiana, Preazzano, Sant'Andrea, Seiano, San Salvatore, Santa Maria del Castello, Ticciano.
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The origins of Vico go back to the 7th century BC when it was founded by the Aequi, a Samnite population. In the 1st century A.D., in his "Punica" Silius Italicus used the term "Aequana" to indicate the area not far from Sorrento, and the name was still used in the Middle Ages for a place located in the plain, while the village under the mountain was named simply Vicum (=village). Under the Angevins and later the Aragonese a revival began, centered however in Vicus while Aequa started to decline.
Walls were built around Vico and the Bishop's Residence was built at the end of the main street. In the 19th century the new road that goes all along the Sorrento peninsula, as well as the railway, gave impulse to a remarkable development.
What to see
- The Giusso castle built between 1284 and 1289, allegedely at the behest of King Charles II of Anjou, but more likely of feudal lord Sparano of Bari, was used both as a military structure and for residential use; the name derives from its owners Luigi and his son Girolamo Giusso, who during the 19th century carried out extensive restoration work; in 1788 the Neapolitan jurist Gaetano Filangieri died there.
- The Antiquarium Silio Italico, an archaeological museum founded in 1966 that mainly collects funerary items from a necropolis discovered in Vico Equense during construction works in the 1960s and 1970s: objects in bronze, black and red ceramic figures, weapons and vases, one of which shows the characters of the Alphabet of Nuceria, an ancient Italic alphabet used in Campania, a derivation of the Etruscan alphabet, of around the 6th-5th century BC.
- The Museo Mineralogico Campano, inaugurated in 1992, houses minerals collected over fifty years of research by engineer Pasquale Discepolo; over time it has been enriched with numerous donations such as meteorites, fossils and a section entirely dedicated to gems.
- The Museo di Arte Sacra of San Vito preserves sacred objects made between the 16th and 18th centuries from different Italian regions, including paintings and works in coral and silver.
- The Terme dello Scrajo, near the sea, founded in 1895, thanks to different sources of sulfur water offer therapies for various dermatological and respiratory ailments.
- Along the coast, a number of lookout towers, some in ruins, and remains of a Roman villa on the Pezzolo beach.
- The bench of Santa Croce, a reef between 9 and 60 m deep, among the most beautiful in the Mediterranean Sea, which is home to several species of animals and plants, including red coral.
- The church of the Santissima Annunziata, the cathedral of the diocese of Vico Equense until 1818, built in the early 14th century on a rocky ridge overlooking the sea, is one of the rare examples of the Gothic architecture of the Sorrento coast; the façade was rebuilt in the 18th century in Baroque style; the interior is divided into three naves and preserves paintings by Giuseppe Bonito, Jacopo Cestaro and Francesco Palumbo and the funerary urn of jurist and philosopher Gaetano Filangieri.
- The sanctuary of Santa Maria del Toro, built in the 16th century after miracles attributed to the fresco of the Virgin with Child; restored at the beginning of the 19th century, it preserves a statue of Mary with baby Jesus holding a silver lily in her hands, frescoes by Francesco Solimena and other paintings.
- The sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo on Mount Faito, near the place where according to tradition the archangel Michael appeared to the hermit saints Catello and Antonino; rebuilt several times, the current building dates back to 1950 and preserves a statue of St. Michael made by Edoardo Rubino and two statues depicting St. Catello and St. Antonino, the work of Francesco Jerace; the original marble statue of St. Michael, famous for the miracle dating back to the 6th century of the sweating of the manna (sweat drops appearing on the statue), is preserved inside the cathedral of Santissima Maria Assunta and San Catello in Castellammare di Stabia.
- The Latin-cross church of Saints Ciro and Giovanni, consecrated in 1774, preserves a wooden statue of the Immacolata, a canvas of the Deposition by Antonio Asturi and two silver reliquary busts of San Ciroand Saint John.
- The chapel of Santa Lucia, in the hamlet of Massaquano, with a cycle of frescoes from the late 13th century of Giotto school depicting the assumption of Mary, scenes from the life of Saint Lucia and Jesus.