The ghost village of Romagnano al Monte
Old and new in Campania's smallest village
Romagnano al Monte is located in the province of Salerno, on the border with Basilicata. It stands in an area of rough beauty: the old village, abandoned after the Irpinia earthquake, is built on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Platano and Bianco river gorges. It is the smallest municipality in Campania.
Why it is special
Romagnano al Monte is divided into two parts: one is new and flourishing and the other is crystallised in a very specific moment, that of the 1980 earthquake. And it is precisely there that we are headed. The further we go into the ghost village overlooking the Platano river, the more surreal the atmosphere becomes. We walk in silence through the winding streets, among ancient ruins (the castle and the church) and more recent ones. Collapsed houses, invaded by vegetation from which faint traces of daily life still shine through.
Not to be missed
Among the many places of natural interest in the local area are the Platano river Gorge and the Bianco River. The former appear as a deep canyon carved by water into the limestone rock, and for a short stretch also serve as a border between Campania and Basilicata. When the river is dry, this canyon can also be explored on foot, allowing the visitor to be completely immersed in the wilderness.
A bit of history
In late Roman times, the area was part of the ager Volceianus and was known as fundus Romanianus because of the patrician family that owned it and gave the village its name. A minor castle built around the year 1000 was the first nucleus of the settlement and the first documented record of the village dates back to 1167.
The plague of 1656, the earthquake of 1694, the famine of 1763-64, the brigandage of the early 19th century and finally the Irpinia earthquake of 1980. All of it describes an area that was often undermined by unfavourable events. After the disastrous Irpinia earthquake, the inhabitants of Romagnano moved down to the valley, abandoning the ancient settlement for good.
Credit to: Gianfranco Vitolo