Cava de’ Tirreni: the doorway to Salerno

“I will enjoy all the charm that this country has, as if it was its will, and I won’t allow my thoughts going to other dreams”

Cava de' Tirreni

Paolina Craven’s words welcome us to Diari Salernitani. The English writer’s verse take us to Cava de’ Tirreni, our last destination.

On the road from Salerno to Naples, Cava de’ Tirreni welcomes the tourists in Metelliana valley, so called because in the past the Roman consul Metello used to relax there. It is an intersection to the Park of Monti Lattari in the west, to the Monti Picentini in the east and to Salerno in the south. From there it is possible to reach easily Vietri and Cetara, that once were part of the royal district of the city, and today is the doorway to the Amalfi Coast.

The city of the arcades and of the farse

Visitors will immediately be struck by the architectural structure of Cava de’ Tirreni, the arcades that go through the entire city centre. Its old town, Borgo Scacciaventi, is full of baroque and late Catalan buildings, which in the morning are crowded with craftsmen and their small shops and in the night with young people walking around clubs and pubs.

The city of Cava is also known for the comedy theatre, the so called “farsa cavajola”. During the Middle Age, in fact, many Cava inhabitants used to move to the nearby towns to entertain the inhabitants with satirical verse and limericks. This custom spread to Naples, and then also beyond the Italian borders, laying the basis for the development of the Italian comedy theatre.

Between the Challenge of Trombonists and the ludis colomborum

Cava de’ Tirreni is rich in events that liven up the streets of the town. In the first week of July tourists must watch the historical “Challenge of Trombonists”, a folkloristic commemoration of the Sarno battle in 1460, where Cava inhabitants helped the Spanish King Ferdinando d’Aragona, saving his life.

Today in this “Challenge” there is a competition between the eight groups of trombonists that represent the four Aragonese districts of the city and that challenge each other in a shot contest, where a panel of judges judge the technique of using the “trombone”, the weapon used in the historical battle.

Before the event there is a beautiful parade of the trombonists wearing the traditional dresses along the streets of the city, together with the flag wavers of Cava de’ Tirreni, known all over the world for their skills and grace.

Going out of the city of Cava, through its sixteen suburbs, it is possible to admire the thirty-two Langobardic towers that in the past used to defend the city. Once finished the period of sacks in Cava, which lasted for ages the defensive walls were used as field for the “dove hunt”. All Cava inhabitants were involved and they had to catch the pigeons, during their migration periods to the south, in enormous nets.

This tradition has been lost, but if you go through these historical towers you can see the beauty of Cava de’ Tirreni from the top, its beauty is accentuated by the rich architectural, cultural and folkloristic history. Cava is a crucial stop for those who want to discover our wonderful province.


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