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Campora, Province of Salerno, Campania

The center, included in the National Park of Cilento, is situated on a hilltop overlooking the valley of Trenico, a tributary of the Calore, in a very rugged landscape since the hill is surrounded for more than half of its area by a deep ravine of karst origin.
The eastern part of its territory is surrounded by the forest of Pruno. Campora is connected to the other centers of the area by a provincial mountain road, the "via di Carmignano", linked to the Pruno-Laurino road and then the Piaggine-Pruno-Rofrano.

Info

  • Altitude: 525 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 400 inhabitants in 2017
  • Zip/postal code: 84040
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0974
  • Demonym: camporesi
  • Patron Saint: St. Nicola, celebrated on 6 December.

History - Antiquity

Findings that date back to the Eneolithic age show that the area was inhabited since the 3rd millennium BC. For centuries Campora was along on the important transit route from Vallo della Lucania to the Vallo di Diano. The inhabitants of ancient Velia built a tower to monitor this route. The current centre was built, however, only after the Saracen raids on the coast, roughly around the 10th century, when refugees gathered around a Basilian monastery dedicated to St. George, known as the Monastery of Sant'Angelo of Campora.

History - the Middle Ages

The first definite mention is a document of 1131 when the name "In Campora" appears, derived most probably from the Latin word campus (=agricultural field). In this document Norman king Roger II confirmed the possession to the Basilian Fathers of Grottaferrata of the tower of the Grancia di Sant'Arcangelo. In 1220 Frederick II established that the inhabitants of Campora were required to participate in the maintenance of the castle of Laurino.

In 1269 Charles I of Anjou granted the Castrum Campore to Mathe de Alena and later to Simon de Bois. In 1433 Americo Sanseverino, Count of Capaccio, was also lord of Campora. In 1444 Salvatore de Senis was appointed feudal lord of Campora, along with Caselle and Casalnuovo. He was followed by Bindo and then by Alfano, who was succeeded in his turn by Portia Tolomea de Senis who married Carlo de Guevara Count of Potenza.

In 1453 Campora was sold along with other estates by King Alfonso to Alfonso Gonesse. After the latter's conspiracy in 1486, the estate passed to Carlo Carafa, marquis of Montesarchio who also lost it for treason. In 1469 Campora was granted by Roberto Sanseverino to his son Giovan Francesco.

History - Modern Times

In 1527 Portia Capano, who had the fiefdom, married Lionetto Mazzacane from Diano. Then the village passed to the Sanseverino from Caiazzo, lords of Albanella. In 1532 Alfonso Avalos d'Aquino, Marquis of Vasto, became Lord of Campora. In the 17th century the estate belonged first to the Troilo, then to the Macedonio family. Campora was hit by the 1656 plague, and the population was reduced to just 120 inhabitants. In 1756 the title of Marquis of Campora went to Scipione Loffredo.

From a study of the Catasto Onciario it is clear that there were a few landowners and a large majority of poor labourers, which is also why in the following century the agrarian crisis brought about a massive depopulation, increased by the growing emigration (source: "Ricerca storica sul Comune di Campora", by Beniamino Casuccio and Pasquale Feola).

What to see

  • The church dedicated to the Nativity of Mary (Natività di Maria Santissima), which rises over a crypt and is in the typical Romanesque style.
  • The church of San Nicola
  • The Chapel of Madonna della Neve, which dates back to the end of the 17th century and was built on the ruins of the Italo-Greek monastery of San Giorgio of the 9th century AD.
  • The many water mills, along the course of the Calore and its tributaries, most abandoned and hidden in lush vegetation. The decadence of the hydraulic mills was brought about by the rise of electrified mills.

Genealogy & Links

Where to stay