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In the heart of Irpinia: Montevergine

The day of Candlemas is a very special day in Irpinia.

Early in the morning many pilgrims arrive to Montevergine, one of the most important Marian Shrine situated in the Mountain around  Avellino, to worship one of the so called  “Seven Holy Ladies “ sisters of Holy Mary. The Holy Ladies are all in Campania, and the most important is the black Lady of Montevergine.

The Black Lady of Montevergine is the protector of homosexuals.

A Medieval legend tells that the Holy Lady of Montevergine, saved a homosexual couple from death because she was moved by their love. The couple was condemned by the community to die for cold or for wolves, reduced in chains on the summit of the Mount Partenio,

For this  reason many of them arrive from Naples and many other areas of the Campania to pay tribute to “their” Madonna, addressing to her prayers and songs of love twice in the year during the day of Candlemas, February, 2 and Semptember,12 .

Apart from the legend it is interesting to know that not far from the Sanctuary, on Mount Partenio, there are the ruins of two ancient temples consecrated respectively to Cybele and Artemis, two of the Great Mothers of Paganism.

And in the myth of Cybele we can identify a strong link between pagan worship and Christian rituality.

That of Candlemas is a day of offering, of sacrifice, of sweat. The sweat that flows from the forehead when, despite the cold, pilgrims slowly climb from the slopes to the Mount, on a slow and silent pilgrimage of great emotional participation.

The silence is broken near the great staircase that leads to the sanctuary, where the pilgrims begin to sing their songs of love for the Holy Lady marking their progress towards the Chapel of the great icon.

A celebration of great theatrical features, where you see pilgrim cry, laugh, dance, sing, with great respect towards the “sweet Mother” that everyone welcomes.

On the churchyard the party continues in a swirl of popular dances and songs, “beyond all differences”.

Not just devotion, but a great culinary tradition too.

After the offer, it is a must to continue the party in the inns to eat local dishes such as cheese, ham, handmade pasta, truffles, drinking the good local wines

So we wait for you in Montevergine, in the green Irpinia, where life is still “real”

In the heart of Irpinia: Gesualdo

Hirpinia: it is an  almost fairy-like place. Medieval villages are scattered among lakes and mountains in an amazing scenery.

Castle of Gesualdo

Gesualdo is  one of the most beautiful and typical of this villages in Irpini. An old village full of curiosities and surprises.

Our Itinerary starts from the castle. A wide avenue leads up to the top of the fortress from which you can enjoy a view over the whole of Irpinia. The original core of the Castle was built in the Longobard period.

In its origin, the castle  was an imposing fortress for its strategic position. But when the Prince Charles Gesualdo arrived, it was transformed  in a sumptuous  Renaissance  residence, as it seems today.

From the castle we proceed to the square called Neviera. It means square of the Ice house. It is so called because in the past there was an ice house in that square, used to store food, especially meat .

Today that ice box  is used as a bar.

The Village

Between a coffee and a typical tasting of local products such as cheese, bread, ham and local wine, we walk towards the main square: Piazza Umberto I.

During the tour our guests can admire: an ancient Fontain of Angels , the imposing doors of the village made in stone  and a nice small square dedicated to Cillo Palermo, a poet from Gesualdo.

Among the evocative alleys Gesualdo reveals all of its millennial history.

Winery

But in Gesualdo we can also go to visit some of the most beautiful and spectacular wine cellars of the region , walking through tens of thousands of bottles  at rest in niches carved between the stone walls.

We will enjoy getting lost in barriques where the great wines of Taurasi are refined.

Not far from Gesualdo we have to stop at the beautiful “le Conche Country House”. It is an amazing place where you can stay for the night. You will never get bored of the relaxing landscape alla round it.

Le Conche Country House

The place is also an old thermal area, only that waters are cold and not hotThat is another long stoy to tell.

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And if you want to come to visit Irpinia, write us:

Messenger Acheloo Viaggi Messenger Antonella Melles