This is a medium-length stage, the first half of which is almost entirely on roads or carriage roads; mainly through hazelnut and chestnut groves, so almost entirely in the shade.
This stage marks the beginning of the detours to the Monti Lattari and then to the Sorrento Peninsula!
This stage is part of the link road of Sentiero Italia, which runs along the Alta Via dei Monti Lattari. Those who wish to bypass it and continue south on the main route, should go directly to stage 255 in the direction of Serino.
The section between Celzi and Monte Salto is a variant of Sentiero Italia, chosen because the route is (currently) impassable.
There are no signs, so please pay attention to the GPS track.
Several sections of the trail are completely covered by vegetation or are not there at all.
There are no water points, take a good supply with you.
We leave Contrada, we take a side road and shortly afterwards reach a cross path that gradually (about 100 m height difference) climbs the south-eastern slope of Monte Bufoni, which is surrounded by private plantations of hazelnut and chestnut trees (and occasionally overgrown with brambles or weeds). At a crossroads in the locality of Castello, we continue along the path and descend (about 100 m drop) to the provincial road, which we take to the right and soon reach the road that leads to the hamlet of Celzi.
Keep to the right and continue for about 1 km, then turn left onto another asphalted road that soon becomes a carriage road. At the first junction, take the carriage road that climbs to the right; continue uphill for just over 2 km surrounded by the wood (about 200 m height difference) until you come to another tarmac road, which you follow until it crosses the provincial road. Here we take the first turning to the left to continue the climb (approx. 250 m height difference), always following the main road until we come to a fork, where we bear left.
We climb the last few metres until we come to a path on the left, still surrounded by hazelnut plantations. We continue along this path, which is overgrown with weeds in places. At the end of the path, we head towards the ridge of Monte Salto - we have to be very careful and follow the path as it is not clearly visible and there are no signs. We continue like this, making our way through the vegetation that overgrows the path, then we come across the gate of the cowshed on our left (not very visible), open it and continue along this path.
We descend (about 400 m drop) along the path, which is poorly visible in places (always keep an eye on the GPS track), until we meet a wide, well-cleaned path used by the State Forestry Corps. We follow the hairpin bends and then turn right to reach a carriage road, which turns into a path in some sections. We meet the asphalt road again; at a crossroads we take the road to the left (Via Emilio Coppola), which leads us towards Castello San Severino.
We are climbing as we pass the castle. From here, we continue along a winding path that leads us downhill (about 150 m drop) to the Mercato San Severino square.
The name Mercato San Severino derives from the territorial identity of the area, which has always been a place of transit and exchange.
In Roman times, the name was Rota and referred to the toll that had to be paid to travel from Abruzzo to Salerno. The settlement declined during the Lombard invasion and in the Middle Ages was called Mercato, a place of emporium and trade. There were numerous public offices such as the registry, the customs house and the pawnshop, which made Mercato San Severino almost a stable fair rather than a town centre.
In 1303, a fair was established where an infinite number of goods were traded, from the poorest to the most valuable. During fascism, the town reverted to its old name of Rota, but after the war the old name was restored.
The other part of the name is connected with that of the Sanseverino family, a very important noble family in the Kingdom of Naples, whose possessions extended throughout southern Italy.
The founder of the family was Turgisio, a Norman duke who, after distinguishing himself in battle, was given the castle of Mercato San Severino by Roberto il Guiscardo della Contea di Rota. The dynasty, whose members included condottieri, marshals and cardinals, came to an end in 1553 when the family, opposed to the Spanish Inquisition, turned against the Aragonese government. Ferrante Sanseverino was the last of the dynasty (although the lineage developed into several branches) and distinguished himself as Prince of Salerno for his contribution to artistic, cultural and intellectual development and was also known for his contribution to the Salerno Medical School. The Sanseverino noble family is considered by many to be the longest living noble family in Europe (they actually ruled for five centuries).
Mercato San Severino is the gateway to the Diecimare Natural Park, which extends in the area between the Picentini and Lattari mountains.
Hundreds of plant species grow in this corridor between the two mountain ranges: a wood characterised by the rich presence of various species of oak trees, evergreens and typical essences of the southern steppe landscape.
In memory of past glories, above the town of Mercato San Severino are the remains of the castle that founded the history of the noble Sanseverino family.
The Castle of Mercato San Severino was one of the largest fortifications in Italy (about 160,000 square metres). The first nucleus dates back to the Norman period and was founded by Turgisio Sanseverino after he obtained the feud of Rota from Roberto il Guiscardo.
Today the castle is characterised by towers from the Swabian period, three walls and architecture from the Angevin period. There was also a Dominican monastery where Saint Thomas Aquinas stayed, visiting on the occasion of his sister's wedding to a San Severino. Eventually, the historic residence was abandoned by the Sanseverino family and, confiscated by Charles V, passed to the Caracciolo family in 1596.
The seat of the Municipality of Mercato San Severino is inside the Palazzo Vanvitelliano. The building was once isolated from the urban aggregate, but since the 1950s it has been part of the town centre. It is a Renaissance structure used as a monastic complex.
A typical product of Agro Sarnese-Nocerino is the San Marzano tomato.
Originated in America, the tomato arrived from Spain in the 1600s and was initially used for ornamental purposes; some believe that the name “golden apple” comes from this characteristic.
It seems that San Marzano seeds did not come onto the market until 1770.
Thanks to climatic and environmental factors and selection over the centuries, the famous product was created and, at the end of the 19th century, thanks to Francesco Cirio, it crossed regional borders when it was marketed in the form of peeled tomatoes.
B&B Il piccolo principe, in Mercato San Severino. Tel. +39393 910 0645
B&B dei Rota, in Mercato San Severino. Tel. +39331 333 5181
There are numerous accommodation facilities in Mercato San Severino.
Starting point reachable by car.
Starting point reachable by bus, starting from the city of Avellino.
Here is the LINK to check the timetables.
Starting point NOT reachable by train.
Va' Sentiero is a grassroot project, thanks to the spontaneous contribution oft housands of people.
Even the most complicated dream, a 7,000km uphill dream,
can be achieved... together.