Index THE ITINERARY OF NOCERA SUPERIORE COMMUNE


The town of Nocera Superiore, through which runs the Cavaiola, a tributary of the Sarno, is situated at the foot of Montealbino in an area between the plain of the Sarno, the territory of Cava and the road leading to Mercato Sanseverino.On this site stood the ancient Nuceria Alfaterna, an important Roman town at the edge of Campania Felix on the road linking Capua with the south of the Italian peninsula. Throughout the Middle Ages and modern times, Nocera Superiore comprised a series of scattered hamlets which together with others in the neighbouring districts were known as the “university of Nocera de’ Pagani”. This was the principle conurbation in the Agro Nocerino down to the 19th century, when the various districts we know today came into existence. The visit starts from the town centre, the product of two ancient hamlets, S. Maria and S. Clemente. Near the railway station and the town hall you can see the remaining arches of the aqueduct of San Renato, erected in modern times. 


At the end of Corso Matteotti you come to the Cavaiola: if you walk beside the stream, passing houses and rows of majestic plane trees, you come on the left to the palaeochristian Baptistry of S. Maria Maggiore, the most prestigious monument in the town and one of the main sights in the region. Founded in the 6th century, this used to be the cathedral of Nocera. Its round shape is based on the Byzantine churches inspired by Justinian. The double row of columns support an impressive dome, covering an ambulatory where there is a large basin used as the baptismal font, also surrounded by columns.On the other side of the railway, in via Ungaro, you can see remains of Roman houses. Taking the road to Nocera Inferiore, through Portaromana (where there is the convent of the Suore dell’Addolorata, recently restored to provide accommodation facilities), you come to Grotte, near the 17th century Franciscan Monastery of S. Maria degli Angeli (with frescoed cloisters). 

 
Here there are the buried remains of the amphitheatre of Nuceria, with a series of medieval and modern houses built directly on top of the Roman structures.The most significant remains of the Roman town are to be seen in Pareti, beyond the Cavaiola, at the foot of Montealbino. You get there by crossing the main S.S. 18 road near the Villa De Ruggiero, currently being restored to serve as the Provincial archaeological museum of Nuceria Alfaterna. Some of the houses in Pareti, where there is the parish church of S. Bartolomeo, are built on top of ancient ruins. Some decades ago the imposing theatre of this Campanian town was excavated, together with a considerable stretch of the town walls against which it had been built.  Two of the original lookout towers can still be seen. The theatre, flanked by a portico for gymnastic training and  a smaller covered theatre or odeion, is one of the largest dating from the hellenistic period in Campania; what you see are part of the cavea and the frons scenae. Retracing your steps to the town centre, in S. Clemente you can see part of the imposing and richly endowed necropolis which stood along the ancient consular road denominated the Popilia leading to Salerno. On either side of the broad Roman street stand a series of tombs in a range of shapes and sizes.
 We can single out the mausoleum erected by the gens Numisia, of the  tumulus type and resembling that of Augustus in Rome; another belonging to the gens Cornelia, square and surmounted by a dome; and that of the gens Lutatia, raised up and approached by a double flight of steps. From San Clemente you can head to Croce Malloni, where there is Villa Lanzara, in private ownership, dating from the end of the 18th century. Its park is one of the finest examples of a jardin à l’anglaise in Campania.
If you continue in the direction of Roccapiemonte you come to Materdomini, dominated by the large complex of the Monastery and Sanctuary of S. Maria di Materdomini, founded in the Middle Ages but rebuilt following its devastation in the last war. It contains a miraculous painting of the Madonna, and on her feast day on 15th August pilgrims make their way here from all over the region.