TORRE ORSAIA, the town chosen by bishops for their holidays


 

Torre Orsaia

 

This Middle Ages town is situated on the green hill that slope down towards the sea covered by olive trees and with the smell of myrtle and lentisk. The ancient hamlet of Castel Ruggiero is very charming: it is situated on the peak of a rock.
The bell tower of XI century is actually beautiful. On the walls of the wide corridor with barrel-vault there are the emblems of some bishops that lived in Torre Orsaia and the monumental coat of arms of the Episcopal Palace, summer seat of the Bishop.
All Saints Fair is very interesting (1st November).

 

HISTORY

 

At the half of XI century the invasions by pirates, the malarial fever, the destruction of Policastro made by the Norman condottiere Roberto il Guiscardo (1065) made the populations that lived on the coast move in the inner part of the territory, creating Turris Ursajae. Castel Ruggero, in the ancient Torre Superiore, gave hospitality in 1150 the army of Ruggero il Normanno that was fighting against the count of Laurito.

In 1301 the bishop of Policastro, Monsignor Pagano, ordered the building of a summer house in Torre Orsaia (in the past called Torre inferiore) and issued an act in which he said that all the people that wanted to live around this house would have had land, a house, a vineyard, paying a tax called “pregata”. The bishop issued also a Legal Code that regulated the life and the relationships between the inhabitants and the Bishop-Baron, called Capitula terre turris ursaye.
Antonio Fortunato from Torre was the leader of a band of brigands between 1866 and 1869.

 

 

MONUMENTS AND NATURAL BEAUTIES

 

  • Castel Ruggero, in the ancient Torre Superiore, gave hospitality in 1150 the army of Ruggero il Normanno that was fighting against the count of Laurito
  • The bell tower of XI century is actually beautiful. On the walls of the wide corridor with barrel-vault there are the emblems of some bishops that lived in Torre Orsaia and the monumental coat of arms of the Episcopal Palace, summer seat of the Bishop
  • Pergola (a fountain with three main mouths and a side one), Olmo and Scalitta (in wonderful local stone) fountains
  • Cerreto Hamlet
  • Palazzo Vassalli, that gives hospitality to the Popular University of Cilento with a library and a playroom
  • Carmine Chapel, in the past it was a cistern for the water used to irrigate the garden of the Episcopal Palace
  • Immacolata Church, neo-Gothic
  • Annunziata Church with XIX century floor and a beautiful painting with the Annunciation
  • San Rocco Chapel
  • Madonna delle Grazie Chapel
  • Palazzo Pecorelli
  • Santa Maria delle Nevi Church, built in 1500
  • Palazzo of the prelate Mariosa, with a nice stone portal of 1764 in rococo style
  • Palazzo Imbriaco and De Siervi, with XVIII century portals
  • Sant’Antonio Sanctuary, built in 1945
  • Ruins of Santa Sofia cemeterial chapel  
  • San Lorenzo Martire church built in XIV century

FOLKLORE AND EVENTS

  • Saint Anthony Feast (13th June)
  • San Donato Feast (July)
  • Saint Lawrence Feast (10th August)
  • San Leonzio Feast (27th September)
  • Santa Maria della Neve Feast (5th August)
  • All Saints Fair (1st November)
  • Candlemas (2nd February)

 

 

 

testi: Stefania Maffeo

 

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