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Enjoy your holidays in wonderful South Italy: Cilento National Park.

Novi Velia

Novi Velia is a small medieval village that boasts a rich heritage of art and antiquities.

It is located on a hill covered with centuries-old olive trees, nestled at the foot of Mount Gelbison (in depth), rich in thick woods of chestnut and beech trees and spring waters.


Novi's origins are not entirely clear; maybe until 600 A.D. the town has indirectly lived the historical happenings of Velia (Elea, the ancient Greek city). There is a strong bond between Novi, Elea, the Greeks and the Mountain (known as the Sacred Mount). In fact, the oldest gate to Novi is called Greek Gate (4th century BC).


The discovery, during an excavation carried out in 1960, of a clay statue, a small bronze snake and some fragments of lamp dating back to the 3rd century BC, testifies to the Greeks’ presence here. All objects are presumably from a shrine dedicated to Hera, Goddess of fertility or fecundity.
It is fair to assume that on top of the Sacred Mount, where there is currently the highest Marian shrine of Italy, there was a pagan temple dedicated Hera. 
In addition, maybe the Phocians from Elea were in contact with Novi (where it is supposed there was already a colony of Oenotrians) for economic and commercial reasons: in fact at the foot of the mountain, besides the "red clay", there were iron and wood (essential to build their ships).


What is still clear and visible today is the Langobard and Norman presence:

• Langobard Square Tower (11th century), located on the highest point facing the north side; the structure was certainly built on the remains of an older one;
• The Langobard gate, west of the old town centre, towards the valley, adjacent to the guard post on which was established the Church of Santa Maria dei Longobardi that still keeps several pictorial
and sculptural works (see: S. Maria dei Longobardi- Storia ed arte nella Parrocchiale di Novi Velia -History and art in the parish of Novi Velia- by Carlo Zennaro – Vincenzo Cerino);
• The castle of count Tommaso from Marzano built in the early 14th century when the
count himself donated the old castle (damaged during the Angevin-Aragonese war of 1284 – 1299)to the Celestines.


Former convent of the Celestines (12th century)
The main entrance to the monastery is a flight of stairs that develops from Via S. Giorgio; a stone portal opens onto a courtyard from which you can access both the church and the convent. It is on two levels around a central cloister with a water well, a porch and a gallery on the first floor.

Of the former Baronial Castle, transformed first into a convent for the Celestines (14th century) and then into the Diocesan Seminary (19th century) remains very little to tell us about its old look.
The south wing intended for worship (Church of S. Giorgio), and the north wing for the monastic life and seminar (cells for friars, refectory) are now only ruins. The other two wings are used as storage rooms, on the ground floor, whereas on the first floor there are houses. These two wings have undergone several renovation works that, although have changed the original look and the destinations indeed ensured the minimum of maintenance that allowed the structure to survive.


The Church of S. Giorgio developed in length, has a typically Byzantine orientation, (East-West) with the entrance facing West and the apse East. Adjacent to the Church, on the South side, there was Porta San Giorgio (the remains are still visible).
Porta S.Giorgio and Porta Longobardi were the two main entrances to the town. The latter, still intact, is close to the Church of S. Maria dei Lombardi.

The two gates watched East towards the mountain, and West towards the Valley of Novi, almost as if they testified to the relationship between the coast and the hinterland.



Festival degli Antichi Suoni

The first edition dates back to 1999. The event called "ANCIENT SOUNDS FESTIVAL" celebrates the ancient gatherings of pilgrims from neighbouring regions that stopped in Novi Velia to reach the shrine on top of Mount Gelbison at 1707 m above sea level.
The Shrine of the Virgin in Novi, has a strong appeal for many religious and cultural pilgrims, contributing to form, over the centuries, a great and spontaneous theatre of encounters, where people and cultures, through music, flavors, language and prayer established contacts, exchanges and relationships. It was a perfect fusion of the cultures of all population living in the Mediterranean basin. In the enchanting scenery of the medieval town of Novi Velia (Unesco World Heritage Site), made of squares and monuments, streets, alleyways and medieval buildings, has been held for many years the Festival of ancient sounds:
a unique event that attracted musicians from all over South Italy. Those sounds, lost in the mists of time, that have accompanied the life of people of the South throughout centuries, today are intended to call them back to memory in order to remain alive and to be handed down to the future generations.
The Festival takes place in Novi Velia, a mix of live music and our rich gastronomic culture.
Enjoy the exhibition of antique musical instruments and traditional local handicraft products.








Accommodation in the nearby
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La casa al piccolo borgo

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Villa Vincenza country house

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Casa di Scina

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Trattoria U'Parlatorio

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Da Zero: Pizza e Territorio

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