The town of Angri, at the edge of the Lodis area and
bordering on the province of Naples, is situated beneath Monte Albino,
between the Sarno plain and the hills. It stands on two roads which have
been important routes of communication since Roman times, one running from
Nocera to Stabia and Sorrento and the other from Pompei to Nocera. There
are some remains from ancient times, especially the Roman period, but the
town really dates from early medieval times, when it was the feud and
walled stronghold of the influential Genoese family of the Doria. It
developed from an original nucleus on the hillside to incorporate the
lower lying hamlet of Ardinghi, stretching out into the plain in the
direction of Nocera. (Until the 1920s the area of Bagni, including the
well-known sanctuary, was also part of Angri, but that now comes under
The visit begins from the present day town centre,
piazza Doria, with the Municipio (Town Hall), originally the seat of the
feudal overlord, with its composite architecture featuring a Renaissance
tower, onto which the 18th century palace was built. In front
of it the former palace gardens are now
a public park, with the typical formal layout of a garden
‘all’italiana’ and an annex in Neoclassical style which is used for
exhibitions and cultural activities. Behind the Municipio, in piazza S.
Giovanni, stands the Church of S. Giovanni,
the town’s major religious monument, with a Renaissance ashlar façade
and Baroque interior, featuring a 16th century poliptych by
Simone da Firenze (beyond it there is the oval chapel of S. Margherita,
belonging to a religious confraternity). This is the heart of the historical centre, and the
main streets branch off from these two squares.
Taking via Concilio, lined with residences from
modern times, you come to the Stabia road, with the church of S. Maria di
Costantinopoli. Beyond the A3 motorway toll booth lies the ancient Certosa
of Pizzauto, a grange belonging to the Charterhouse
of Capri, representing local rural architecture.
If you walk downhill from the square you come to the nucleus of the
medieval walled town, its grid-shaped layout based on four intersecting
streets, vie Amendola, Marconi, Incoronati and di Mezzo. Here there are
substantial remains of 15th
century palaces with mullioned windows and entrances in the Durazzo style,
outstanding examples of Renaissance architecture on the Catalan model as
it developed in Campania.
The best preserved façade is on via Marconi, with an archway
in tuff (volcanic rock) with the typical shape of the flat arch, adorned
with hanging arches. The shields in the triangular pendentives are now
blank but probably bore painted coats of arms originally. High up on the
left, above the original cornice, there is one of the finest examples of
mullioned windows to be found anywhere in Campania. In the adjacent via
Incoronati, no. 23, there is another archway
in the same style, with a floral decoration running round it and two
imitation spiral columns on either side of the entrance, perfectly
incorporated into an 18th century façade: a fine example of a
well-judged juxtaposition of different styles and epochs. Another archway
with a flat arch of rather less distinguished workmanship can be see in
via di Mezzo, no. 3.
As you walk down towards the plain you come to piazza
Annunziata, a spacious square dominated by the Church
of the Annunziata. The former
convent houses the Museum of Canon Fusco,
who founded the Battistine order. At the start of corso Vittorio Emanuele,
the 19th century road which runs from the centre to the railway
station and the main SS 18 road, stands the Church
of the Carmine; a little further down you can see the remains of
the important 19th century mills,
now owned by MCM.
On piazza Smaldone there is the Church of S.
Caterina; from here you get to via Ardinghi, the main thoroughfare
of the hamlet of Ardinghi, and via Fontanella, with a mixture of
residences from Renaissance and modern times and more rustic dwellings
with courtyards, as well as the Church of S.
Benedetto, going back to medieval times.