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About VICO EQUENSE

Aequana was probably discovered by the Romans, who found its steep, sunny slopes perfect for cultivating grapes, before the Goths razed it in the fifth century. (The area’s wine production has since moved further up the hill to Gragnano, where a tasty, slightly fizzy red is still produced today.) The town of Vico Equense was resurrected in the 13th century by King Charles II of Anjou. The privately owned Castello Giusso (not open to the public) looms inescapably over the town, its fanciful crenellations a 19th-century addition to the original 1284 medieval building.  The Renaissance section above was added in  the mid l6th century. To the south, in via Puntamare, the church of  the Santissima Annunziata  overlooks a dramatic drop to the sea, making it an essential photo opportunity. The Annunziata was Vico’s  cathedral until the bishopric was abolished in 1799 when the last incumbent, Michel Natale, was hanged for his over enthusiastic support of the Parthenopean Republic. His portrait is missing from the medallions of former bishops in the sacristy: instead, there’s a painting of an angel with its finger raised to its lips, inviting onlookers to draw a veil of silence over Natale’s unwise choice. Some Gothic arches from the original 14th century church are in the side aisles. Along Viale Rimembranza, the baroque church of San Ciro  has a pretty tiled dome. Nearby, in via San Ciro, the Museo Mineralogico Campano has a collection of some 5,000 bits of rock, including fluorescent ones that glow under ultraviolet light; there are a few chunks of meteorite and some fossils, too. Inside the town hall, a collection of artefacts from a local necropolis (seventh  to fifth century) are displayed in the Antiquarium. Below the town centre to the east, Marina di Vico (occasional buses run from Vico station) has a short pebbly beach with a handful of restaurants. To the west, on the other hand, the harbour at Marina di Equa allows access to long stretches of sun worshipping space at the spiaggie (beaches) of Pezzolo (where ruins of a first century AD villa are visible) and Vescovado to the east, and Calcare to the west. The imposing ruin at the far end of Calcare beach was part of a lime quarry that operated for hundreds of years, closing down in the late 19th century. There’s a Saracen watchtower and lots of bars in pretty Marina di Equa, as well as one of the best restaurants in the area, the Torre del Saracino . (Finding Marina di Equa can be a problem: head out of Vico on the SS145; just beyond the far end of the railway viaduct, there’s a small sign marked ‘Marina di Equa’, don’t blink or you’ll miss it.) Via Bosco continues to climb to Moiano, from where a hiking trail (N38) departs for Monte Faito (around two and a half hours). Beyond the village centre, a road on the left leads to the hamlet and church of Santa Maria del Castello (three kilometres/two miles). In the church are marble statues and paintings of saints made in Naples in the 16th and 17th centuries (the family in the house at the foot of the stairs has the key). From the church, perched 685 metres (2,397 feet) above sea level on the crest of the peninsula, the hills fall away south to the Amalfi Coast and north to Sorrento. The view is simply breathtaking. There's a hiking trail  from Santa Maria del Castello to Positano. Back on via Bosco (either of the descents from Santa Maria del Castello will do), past the village of Arola, a steep, narrow road to the left leads to the remains of the 17th century convento dei Camaldolesi, from where there's another superlative view down to the sea. Via Bosco then drops sharply back to reach the coast at Seiano.



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