The rock and the nymph

The rock and the nymph


Among the most beautiful villages of Cilento there is undoubtedly Camerota, the town built on a rock that stands out majestically in the most absolute green.

Its postcard beauty is evident from the first glance: the houses of the village are built without foundations  directly on the rock, man’s hand literally merged with the landscape.

The old town stretches among streets, squares, churches, palaces, alleys with round arches and pointed arches that offer suggestive views at every corner.

Despite being a small village, it is full of monuments that are worth a visit: the splendid churches, the Castle and its remains  (the walls, the moat, the chapel, and the towers), the rock chapels. Even the recent buildings are no less. Worth visiting the House of Culture and the Kamaraton Amphitheatre, truly unique in its kind: it is entirely built with fossils of flint.

Its territory has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic. The name Camerota itself derives from the Greek Kamaratòs, curved, like the numerous caves inhabited since prehistoric times.

The finds found here are significant: some in stone date back to the Palaeolithic, and others from the Neolithic are made in ceramic, a sign of a settled and already well-developed society.

The village is still dotted with artisan workshops that work ceramics: the tradition has been perpetuated for more than 6000 years!

Throughout the course of history, its geographical position has made of it a very important junction: the presence of the Basilian Monks is highly attested, then between the ninth and eleventh centuries it became one of the best fortified manors of the Langobard Cilento. And then, one of the brightest periods arrives with the Normans. The Royal Norman Mastio of Camerota, whose remains are still visible, was a sign of the royal mandate to one of the most prominent figures in the royal Norman court: Florio di Camerota, royal judge, direct vassal of the king. Still in the Angevin — Aragonese period, Camerota is a front line in the Wars of the Vespers. Afterwards, in the Spanish Viceroy’s period, it starts the construction of the coastal watchtowers  to defend against the Turkish danger, but unuseful to withstand the brunt of Dragut's pirates, who attacked it in 1552. The feud then passed to the Di Sangro family.

And precisely to Placido di Sangro, Marquis of Camerota, the poet Berardino Rota dedicates, in his poem Rime, the myth of Kamaratòn, a nymph as beautiful as cruel, with whom Palinuro falls madly in love. The nymph refuses his love, and the desperate young man pursues the image of his beloved to the bottom of the sea, where he dies.

Then Venus, Goddess of love, offended by the nymph's outrage to such pure love, decides to punish her: if her heart had been hard as rock, she herself will be transformed into rock, the rock on which Camerota stands today. The nymph and the rock united by the myth are forever pure beauty.

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