Torre Volpe in the Cilento
The tower-house Volpe, which stands among the ancient houses of the old charming village of Melito, in the Municipality of Prignano Cilento, is one of the few examples of defensive constructions that survived almost intact to the ravages of time. It is located in a hilly area, a few kilometers from Paestum and the blue flagged sea of Agropoli, in the province of Salerno. The site, a happy blend of history, culture and healthy climate, is immersed in the landscape that from the heights of the Cilento let the gaze slide towards the Tyrrhenian Sea, with its frequented and laughing coastal resorts and the lush Sele plain.
After walking a few steps along the cobblestones of a lonely, silent alley of the village, squeezed between high stone walls, old noble houses and some orange trees, the massive, crenellated tower of the tower suddenly appears to the traveler's eye. a ditch and flanked by a wall with an arch that frames an iron door.
According to local tradition, it dates back to the XI century but is probably later. It has a quadrangular structure, made of local stone masonry, with the characteristics of the high-medieval buildings. The walls are equipped with loopholes and, at the top, battlements. Also visible are the stones on which the hinges of a drawbridge ran. On the front there is the ancient noble coat of arms of the family to which the fortification belongs and whose ancestors constituted a place of refuge during the pirate raids of the Saracens on the Cilento coast and, subsequently, brigantesque.
Beyond the door on the street, a lovely courtyard, decorated with ivy and accompanied on the bottom of an ancient fountain and an entrance door, welcomes the guest.
Entering the house, a brief theory of representation rooms unfolds in a hall, called the tapestry, a hall of the arms trophy, one of the halberds, the latter with a suggestive fireplace made of piperno stone that invites a stop salon. The neighboring master bedroom is in turn furnished with period furniture, found among family legacies and antique shops and inspires a castellana atmosphere, a little feudal, as well as the other rooms.
On the ground floor below, the dining room invites you to spend pleasant convivial hours, between furnishings in harmony with the place and the era, hunting trophies and evocative furnishings.
The dining room, as well as two cozy bedrooms, equally located on the ground floor and furnished with sobriety and a pinch of refinement, opens onto a bright, well-kept small garden, surrounded by a crenellated wall, surrounded by lush vegetation, open towards scattered hills, distant villages and clusters of blue sea.
The tower, which, like an old lady full of years, dominates and dominates the context, as if to watch over the dwelling and the village from its many centuries, invites the guest to climb up to the summit, and to the belvedere; finally it conquers it with the splendid spectacle of the luxuriant and uncontaminated nature, of the surrounding mountains, of the sea in the background, up to the distant magic profile of the island of Capri and the Amalfi Coast.
The History of Torre Volpe
The tower house Volpe stands in the hamlet of Melito, which is the oldest village of Prignano Cilento, commercial agricultural center of the province of Salerno, located at 415 mt. height above sea level, on the most important artery linking the lower and upper Cilento. This village, slightly isolated from the urban area of Prignano, is immersed in the landscape that from the heights of the Cilento winds towards the Tyrrhenian Sea, only 15 minutes by car, with its charming coastal resorts, and towards the Sele plain, where the temples of Paestum rise, where buffalo herds graze and excellent dairies arise.
The original urban plan of the village, dating back to around the VIIIth century AD, has its central nucleus in the old road of Vico degli Aranci, where, among some noble buildings and an old oil mill, Torre Volpe rises. a last example of the early medieval defense system of Cilento. Nearby is the sixteenth-century church of S. Caterina, with a limestone and stone altar inside and an ancient canvas representing "the mystical marriage of St. Catherine with Jesus"; a little further, enclosed in a rural building, there is a spring called "old fountain", which, before the aqueduct, supplied the village with water.
The Tower, which, according to local tradition, dates back to the XI century, but is probably later, has a quadrangular and massive structure. The walls are equipped with loopholes and, at the top, battlements. Also visible are the stones on which the hinges of a drawbridge ran. On the front there is the ancient noble family coat of arms to which the fortification belongs and for whose ancestors it constituted a place of refuge during the pirate raids of the Saracens on the Cilentan coasts and, later, brigantesque.
The entire historical complex, bound as a cultural asset, has been the object for years of an accurate, demanding and laborious restoration work. The tower-house, from a technical point of view, is a building with a masonry structure of local stone on the face, a masonry that in the lower part reaches a thickness of about 130 cm., Until it reaches a thickness of 70 cm. Its not easy to conquer - also due to a previous greater height - seems to be confirmed by the presence of a large underlying environment that perhaps served as a place for the collection of food and water during sieges. The oral tradition of the village has handed down that it had at the top a space in the central part of which was a primordial war machine, a sort of large pinwheel equipped with a chain of iron which was attached to a stone ball that was rotated by the besieged and then launched against the aggressors.
Before restoration, while the structure's cantons, which highlighted the use of large-sized squared stones, were solid, some parts of the walls had deteriorated and with injuries, moreover, the wooden floors of the various levels, as well as the mantles of coverage, were in very poor condition: they were, therefore, as well as the fixtures, partly recovered and partly replaced with reinforcement works in iron. In particular, the floors, made of lamellar wood beams in dark oak, are detached from the wall, and rest on iron frames which, in turn, are supported by four shelves per floor; these are the only elements of contact with the wall structure; in the space between walls and attics, a type of lighting has been created that from above is directed towards the walls, creating an evocative effect. The tower is separated from the adjacent structures through transversal cuts, which have strengthened the static as the splay of the tower itself has been freed for its entire length from the walls that were placed against it, has been given brightness to the interiors and the historical aspect was accentuated. This separation also has a functional justification as the tower is used exclusively for exposure, while the other rooms form the residential part.
The concept of "conservation and preservation" has therefore been extended to the whole complex to enhance as much as possible the original peculiar characteristics of the monument. For the installation of the floors, stone slabs were used, as it was originally, using the recovered and shelved material, and for the systems the minimum visual impact was achieved, using pipes and channels, as well as concealed ignition and extinguishing systems . In this way the works created did not modify the shape and architecture of the complex in any way.
The owners welcome guests by offering hospitality services with breakfast served near a lovely English lawn or in the medieval dining room. The garden is available to guests as well as WIFI Internet connection available for free. Daily cleaning and change of 2 linen are scheduled every week. A transfer service from the airports of Naples and Salerno as well as from the Agropoli station can be purchased on request. Customized guided tours and tours are also available. For small groups it is possible to organize meetings for wine tastings and typical local products. The medieval character of the structure lends itself to the setting of film or television sets. Guests can feel part of the structure, even for the familiar and reserved character of the structure of exclusive emotions and ancient atmospheres.
The price of the rooms varies from 120,00 euros a 150,00 euros according to the periods
Guided visits by appointment
Phone: 3395980959 3477312957
Places of interest nearby:
Paestum 12 km, Castellabate 14 km, Velia 24 Km