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Terra Murata

What to see in Procida, Napoli, Campania


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Exceeded the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, you leave on the left side the Largo Castello said "Schianata" (since in the XVI century the land was paved), and travels through the ascent castle that leads to buildings already intended to house of imprisonment (1830-1988), dominated by the mass of the mill, built in 1764 for the milling of the grains imported during the famine. Where the ascent form an elbow, it is possible to admire the most characteristic landscape of Procida: the houses overlapped and multicolored Marina Corricella, a suggestive amphitheater open on the sea; just beyond, toward the east, it outlines on the blue of the sky the Dominican convent of Santa Margherita Nuova (1586-1956; in reconstruction). To realize the convent and the church on the steep cliff, it was necessary to elevate a complex of piers surmounted by arches, which form the most characteristic part of the tip of the Monks.

Continue to climb, and under the arch on the right is visible the small chapel of the Madonna del Carmine; on the walls there are some black crosses that indicate the burial of political prisoners who are victims of a massacre (1849); continuing you get to Piazza d'Armi, closed on one side by high dwellings, which once served the people to oppose resistance to enemies invaders. At the bottom there is the Royal Palace, also called "Castle", erected in 1563 by Cardinal of Aragon Innico d'Avalos (Abbot of San Michele).This construction was for two and a half centuries used as a royal residence to then become criminal bath in the early decades of 1800. The complex that covers part of the Terra Murata(so-called for the medieval fortifications),overhanging the sea, was subsequently added to the construction of the modern prison that presents itself on the left side of the Piazza d'Armi. Since 1988 all the prison was completely closed. From the square of weapons in the day of Good Friday, depart for the Procession, the "Mysteries", features representations in wood and paper of the Sacred Scriptures, prepared from young procidani on the occasion of the day of the Passion of Christ. On the right of the square before the castle, begins the climb via S. Michele (dedicated to the patron saint of the island), which still bears on the walls the traces of the ancient "door half homo" built in the XVI century to allow access to the village of Terra Murata properly said. The only road that menava al Borgo, first of the XVI century,was Via Tabaia that departed from the Marina of the Holy Catholic and through the Vineyard led to the door of the earth (destroyed in 1563 following the construction of the aragonese castle). Where today is the Piazza d'Armi there were dug ditches that served to counteract the enemy, to prevent it from getting to the ancient center of the island, a fortress that was developed on the highest hill (m. 91 s/m), in obvious defensive position. When it was built the port of half the Omo was widened the ancient way of "Fossi", and you built the ascent San Michele. At the end of the short uphill, we find ourselves facing the Conservatorio delle orfane founded in 1656 to accommodate the victims of the plague.

A panoramic point is the belvedere of Via Borgo (on the left) that opens to breathtaking on the Gulf of Naples. It should be noted on the pad a house, typical example of local architecture. But the construction more important of Terra Murata is without doubt the Abbey of San Michele (XVI century), originally a Benedictine convent(VII-VIII century), which was in the course of its history repeatedly pillaged, destroyed and rebuilt due to the incursions of the saracens(name with which Neapolitans showed the Muslims since the times of the Arabs, but in this period the raiders were the Ottomans).One of these raids was avoided thanks to the miraculous apparition of S. Michele(patron saint of the island) in front of the troops of the barbarians who, for the terror and the hurry to flee, cast into the sea a heavy yet, still preserved in the abbey. The Abbey holds numerous works of art as a canvas depicting San Michele(opera school of Luca Giordano) at the center of a fascinating coffered ceiling. In front of the main entrance of the Church opens the piazza Guarracino, the ancient point of meeting of people.

In this village, mild and serene, inhabited by peaceful people, the straducce are as a casing, everything a reciprocation of passages, corridors, of streets covered; an open everywhere of doors, staircases, windows and wells filled with water. The charm of this exceptional location is probably increased by the feeling of abandonment and tranquillity that you breathe.

Photo by Stefano Guidi

  • Via Canalone, 5, Procida (Napoli)
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