It is 620 meters above sea level, set at the foot of Mount Ausinito , in the upper valley of the Calore. Valle dell’Angelo, in Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni National Park, is a pretty town with less than 300 inhabitants, including the rural hamlet of Pruno: therefore, it is the least populated commune in Campania.
Founded by the Basilian monks around the 10th century , it was first named Casaletto di Piaggine: for this reason, even today, Valle dell’Angelo’s inhabitants are called "casalettari” (i.e. “from Casaletto”). It was governed by Badia di Cava as a hamlet of Laurino. The population was tragically decimated by the plague that hit Cilento in 1656, and by the great famine of 1764. It had been Laurino’s hamlet until 1873 when it became autonomous with the name of Piaggine Sottane, to distinguish it from Piaggine Soprane , the current town of Piaggine. Even Valle dell’Angelo’s population fought against the Bourbons during Cilento’s Revolt in 1828 and 1848 (among others Pisciottano Antonio, Andrea Mastrandrea and Barbato Andreoli). During this century, brigandage spread throughout Cilento.
The main attraction of the town is Grotta dell’Angelo on Mount Ausinito, surrounded by a beautiful natural environment. As pilgrims’ destination, the cave houses the statue of Saint Michael the Archangel. It was brought by Langobards around the 10th century. Not far from the cave, after walking along a panoramic trail, there is “the stone of the Angel” where pilgrims put their arm into, towards the Earth’s core, in an ancient and symbolic gesture, a sign of fertility and hope. Other interesting place we suggest you to visit are the Gorges of Festolaro and the Old mill, property of the Duke of Laurino, besides the forest crossed by well-marked trails. The most curious attraction of Valle dell'Angelo is Pruno, where a small community lives in complete isolation from the modern world, as a “living museum” of the peasant culture. The population of Croce di Pruno, made of twenty families, is Unesco World Heritage. They live according to a natural rhythm of life, eating seasonal products, and even wool for their clothes is spun at home. Here electricity came less than twenty years ago and water passes through pipes connected directly to the springs. There are no shops, but a rural economy based on barter.
Everyone has a vegetable garden and some fruit trees, and farm animals are bred (pigs for meat and goats for milk and cheese).
HISTORYCAL AND CULTURAL ATTRACTIONS
The town centre, with alleys and steps, is very suggestive, particularly Flavio Goia street and del Popolo street. You can admire portals of Mazzei Palace (1881), Vertullo Palace (17th century) and those in Colle Fiorito street, Mazzei street and Calore street. The Church of Saint Barbatus (17th century) which is located in the charming small town’s square, was embellished by the archpriest Don Girolamo Mazzei with stuccoes, statues, paintings: it became one of the most beautiful of Cilento. We suggest you to visit the Church of Saint Leonard (18th century) and the chapel of Saint Sebastian (1840) a few kilometres from the town, on the road to Laurino.
WINE AND FOOD
The excellent wine and the precious extra virgin olive oil are important resources of Valle dell’Angelo. The olive harvest is picked by hand. Then they bring it in mills immediately after harvest. Cold working and special care make olive oil a product of high quality. Other food excellences of Valle dell’Angelo are sheep and goat’s cheese, caciocavallo silano and Boletus picked in the surrounding woods.
Valle dell'Angelo has been named “the city of children” in occasion of the Biennial Meeting of Arts and Science of the Mediterranean, where it was found that Valle is the "ideal city" for kids.