At the feet of the Alburni, far from the crowd of the big cities, 600 m above the sea level rises Sicignano degli Alburni that represents the perfect destination for those who aims for a relaxing place, surrounded by the nature, where it is possible to do sport even on holiday.
Although the architectural style of Sicignano is Medieval its origins date from 450 BC, when a roman centurion named Lucius Sicinus Dentatus founded a settlement at the feet of the Alburni, a strategic point from which the area known as Nares Lucanae(Nostrils of the Lucania),could be easily monitored.
The town developed as a dominion of the Langobards, who built the castle on order of the Prince of Salerno. Later the territory passed to the Norman.
In an official document of 1086 it is reported news about a certain Asclettino, count of Sicignano. Among famines, earthquakes, wars and brigandage many important historical figures had succeeded Asclettino until the count Luigi Giusso bought the castle and the entire territory, in 1851 . The place name “Sicignano degli Alburni” was given it in 1928.
The itinerary we suggest begins with a walk in the town centre through the old quarters Fontanelle, Rupa and San Matteo where the houses, in medieval style, are conglomerated in the shape of a semicircle around the fortress. The stairways and the stone portals with their emblems and epigraphs testify to the glorious past of Sicignano.
The Giusso castle has been recently renovated. The polygonal layout of the castle develops in a semicircle. Today only the ruins of the defensive wall remain; the same is for the church of Saint Matthew, of which only a part of the bell tower remains.
In Plebiscito Square the parish church of Saint Matthew and Saint Margaret rises up; in the three naves are exhibited two sculptures of the 1700’s, by Niccolò del Vecchio, that portray the saint whom the church is dedicated to. You can also admire a bronze crucifix by Luigi Ciccone.
Walking on, you will arrive at the “Piazzetta”, a panoramic point from which you can see the Castle and the Church on the left, and the Alburni Massif on the right side.
Arriving in località Aria, i.e. Umberto I Square, the most characteristic place of Sicignano, you could drink the fresh water of the 1500’s fountain. Here rises the Tomb of Unknown Soldier, in dedication for the unidentified soldiers who served during WWII.
In addition to the historical buildings of the Square there is the Church of Saint Mary of Serroni, dating back to the end of the 12th century, recently renovated. The church’s interior (a semicircular arc on the top of a central nave) still preserves the statue of the Virgin and Child with a globe (symbol of sovereignty). Behind the church there is the old public wash-house of the 19th century.
In località Grottapagano once rose up the Convent of the Friars Capuchins (1578), fell into ruin.
The great attraction of Sicignano is the Alburni Massif, also known as the Dolomites of Southern Italy, because of the geological structure made of limestone; the karstic nature of the mountains has favoured the formation of several caves. The name is given by the highest peak Alburno (1742 m), also called Panomo.
The Alburni are a mecca for campervan tourists and scout’s groups; here you can do many sports such as caving, hiking, trekking, orienteering, mountain biking.
At this altitude broad-leaved trees outnumber, especially chestnut trees: on the third week of October takes place the Sagra (festival) of the Chestnut, a taste itinerary of the traditional food of Cilento: cold cuts, cheese, wine, extra virgin olive oil and, of course, specialties made from chestnuts. During the festival it is performed the “Cart race” and the exhibition “Asini, muli e conducenti, tutti presenti” (Donkey, mule and driver).