BETWEEN SACRED AND PROFANE
Termini, Punta Campanella, S. Costanzo, Termini
Description of the route
A naturalistic itinerary between ancient places of profane worship and testimonies of the Christian faith, on the promontory of Punta Campanella.
The route starts from the hamlet of Termini, which with its fortunate position looks like a terrace with a wonderful view of Capri. Piazza Santa Croce takes its name from the sixteenth-century parish church, embellished with eighteenth-century majolica. In front of the church take via Campanella, after about 400 meters at the crossroads continue right towards the ancient via Minervia, a Greco-Roman mule track built in the 4th century B.C. and still partially paved with the Roman paving. You are crossing the promontory of Punta Campanella, a high and rocky ridge that stands out in the sea towards Capri, dividing the Gulf of Naples from the Gulf of Salerno. This place was sacred to the Greeks who built here the temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, who became Minerva during the Roman period. Today, on the extreme tip, a sixteenth-century defense tower is visible, one of the system of towers built during the viceregal period. The towers were erected to protect the territory along the coast, following the terrible Turkish invasion of 1558. Going up from the plain that houses the tower, on the right, take the path climbing along the ridge of Monte San Costanzo, with views of both gulfs of Naples and Salerno. The steep and rough path is part of the Alta Via dei Monti Lattari and has the C.A.I. white-red signs. At almost 400 meters above sea level, you reach a plateau where you can stop and enjoy a top view on the beautiful Bay of Ieranto. The excursion continues north along the path to the left of the plateau and climbs up to the road, following which you get to the pine forest and then to the small white church dedicated to San Costanzo. The church stands on the top of the homonymous mountain and offers a 360 degree view of the two gulfs, the hills of Massa and the Lattari mountains. The cult of San Costanzo is still alive among the locals. Every year, in May, a characteristic procession brings the statue of the saint from the patronal church of Termini to the church on the mountain, where it remains until the third Sunday of July, when it descends again to Termini in procession. Legend has it that it was the saint who chose the place where to build the church: the locals had chosen the highest point of the mountain, called Santa Croce, where today a radio beacon stands. But every morning the stones piled up to build the church were found on the opposite top, called Monte Canutario at the time. The belivers, interpreting the will of the saint, decided to build the church on the top where it currently stands and which has been precisely renamed San Costanzo. Once visited the church, the route continues towards Termini walking on the ancient mule track that leads to the village, intersecting the main road.