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Nocera Superiore

The town


The urban perimeter of the actual Municipality traces in full that of Nuceria Alfaterna, the rich and powerful city which, according to the historians, was founded by the Etruscan around the half of the VI century B.C. Its territory, in Roman age, notably spread out to Stabia. The rectangular urban perimeter is double in comparison with Pompeii.

The city preserves ample traces of the solid fortifications whose southern side was close to the Hellenistic theater of Pareti. In the Sannitic era it minted coin: the silver “didrammo”. The city was at the head of the Nocerina Confederation. It was destroyed by Annibal in the 216 B.C. to have been faithful to Rome. Become Municipium in the Imperial age, soon it changed the name in Nuceria Constantia, affiliate to the tribe Menenia. It suffered the damages of the Vesuvian eruption of 79 A.D. Today it preserves many architectural complexes of the antiquity among which the Necropolis of Pizzone, the still buried amphitheater of Grotti, urban domus and the “Rotonda” or the early Christian Baptistery of Santa Maria Maggiore, one of the most striking buildings of Byzantine age in the Mediterranean. Convents, basilicas and splendid eighteenth-century abodes complete an interesting itinerary already appreciated in the nineteenth century by the travellers of the Grand Tour.

The city is also famous for the florid commercial activities and the food-packaging industries in which the fruits of an always fertile earth are transformed.



To see


The early Christian Baptistery of St. Maria Maggiore
The Baptistery, called “the Rotonda” owing to its round shape, was built near the Roman forum about the half of the VI century A.C., on a more ancient building whose parts of the mosaic floors still remain. The central dome is supported by 15 archivolts marked by 30 precious marbles twin columns: the green cipollino, the black of Africa, the Egyptian alabaster, the yellow of Numidia. The reused stems of the columns, the bases and the composite capitals, sometimes with faced dolphins, come from buildings of imperial age as well as the fragments of epigraphs and the stony material gathered in the attached museum that houses shelves, frames, pillars, sundials, marmoreal bases. Inside the Rotonda very interesting are the cycles of frescos in a side chapel decorated with New Testament scenes and a superb Madonna in throne with Child attributed to a late giottesque master of the XIV century, perhaps Roberto d’Oderisio. Evocative is also the polychrome stucco relief of St. Maria Maggiore of the XV century.


The Baptistery, whose circular shape gave it the appellative of the “Rotonda”, belonged to a larger complex. The first written attestation dates back to a diploma of the year 841 A.D. Planned on 15 archivolts and supported by as many couples of smooth columns, the dome covers the central baptismal tub, of octagonal shape, second in Italy only to that of St.Giovanni in Laterano. All the marmoreal elements of the architectural decoration, the bases, the shafts of columns, the capitals and the moulded frames are in counting and in evident function of re-employment.


Hellenistic-Roman theater
Built in the II century B.C. and scenically leaning against the southern walls, it was enlarged from 76 to 96 meters during the Augustan or Tyberian age. It is one of the greatest stage buildings of ancient Campania. Both the orchestra and the scaenae frons were decorated by precious marbles and statues. It suffered further restorations, after the earthquake of the 62 A.D.

Monumental necropolis of Pizzone

The necropolis founded along a “quarry street” on the east side of the ancient city, can boast today seven gravestones of incomparable beauty, datable between the II and the I century B.C. On the sides of the gravestones have been discovered numerous case depositions, grey tuff sarcophagus, Capuchin depositions and funeral enclosures with columella, a sort of anthropomorphous sign, often with an engraved epigraph on the anterior side. The necropolis covers a chronological period between the republican age and the imperial era. Notable are the mausoleums of the gens Numisia, of circular form, the platform one of the gens Cornelia and the cenotaph of Quinto Lutazio Varo, a young man died in the water at the age of 17. It is worth recording the presence of an ustrinum, place where the incineration was practiced, and also another mausoleum with grooved half columns, held up by telamoni in grey tuff from Nocera.

Villa de Ruggero

Situated behind the Cavaiola stream, once a patrician abode, it will be the seat of the territorial offices of the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici and of the Archaeological Museum of Nuceria Alfaterna. The attached park is rich of arboreal essences.

Villa Lanzara

Late XVIII century private villa of neoclassic implant, shows a neogothic angular turret and a coffee house with bourbonic majolic by Giustiniani, situated at the end of the park, drawn by the architect Graefer, author of the English garden of the Caserta Royal Palace. The secular camellias and the great variety of forest trees are noteworthy.

Church and convent of Materdomini

The monastic complex was perhaps built about the XI century but it has suffered remaking and reconstructions of which the last one dates back to 1947. The actual implant of the basilica is neoclassic and is divided into three aisles. Inside are preserved valuable works of art among which a Madonna del Rosario by Francesco Guarino and paintings by Giacinto Diano. Noteworthy are, besides, the Byzantine icon of the Madonna di Materdomini, object of popular veneration, as well as a Pentecoste (1588) by Laurensi Smeraldi and the Madonna del Carmine, attributed to Severo Ierace.

Church and convent of S. Maria degli Angeli
The convent of the Grey Friars was founded in 1589 upon a primitive church of Santa Maria a Torre. Partially destroyed by the 1688 earthquake, it has suffered remaking during the centuries. In the unique nave of the church can be admired the ceiling decorated at the beginnings of the XX centur y by the Neapolitan artists Vincenzo and Raffaele Severino, while the frescos of the cloister belong to Filippo Pennini, active in the first half of the XVIII century. Interesting is La Gloria di San Francesco, by Belisario Corenzio and a Pentecoste of the XVII century.




Events and folklore

Holy Friday:
Sacred and centenary representation of the Via Crucis. It starts from the Church of St.Giovanni Battista in the first hours of the afternoon and it extends to late evening. On the way back, before midnight, it is proposed the dramatic event of the Crucifixion of Christ.

1st May:
Ancient Feast of the Majo, documented since 1758 for the 1st of May celebration; the Mayors of Nocera Superiore and Roccapiemonte and the Prior of the Confraternity of the SS. Rosario bring the majo in procession (three ornate little trees) to the Madonna di Materdomini in order to ropitiate abundant crops.

Between the first and the second half of the month, is organized an international competition of the Madonnaris; it takes place in the Pecorari hamlet.

Pizziche, muzziche e Tammorre, popular feast with tasting of typical dishes.

Ancient Feast of the Assunta.The tradition says that, in the summer of 1041, a farmer, subsequently called Caramari (dear to Maria), had a vision.The Madonna suggested her to dig under an oak, to whose shade she rested, because there she would have found her icon. The first searches didn’t give any result, but later, overcome the mistrust of the people, the dig starts again and it came to light a splendid painted wooden board of the Blessed Virgin Maria, of Byzantine style. It hands down, besides, that the image of the Virgin, known as “the Cona” has cured the Emperor Enrico II from the leprosy. Today, in the night between the 14 and the 15 of August, numerous believers, coming from almost all Campania, meet in pilgrimage toward the famous Sanctuary of Materdomini to obtain plenary indulgence. In front of the Sanctuary square, tammorre (tambourine), scëtavajàssë (sort of tambourine to be beaten by a staff with tin disks), triccheballacche (instrument formed by three wooden hammers, a fixed central one and two mobile side with tin disks outside) accompany animate and allusive popular dances.





In June, on occasion of the popular feast pizziche, muzzeche e tammorre, the foil of dried cod and broccoli is prepared, as well as the maccheroncelli del francescano, small macaroni seasoned with a mixture of Gaeta olives, capers, raisins, pine-kernels and anchovies.

During the Feast of Materdomini, the pilgrims taste the palatella ca’ ’mbupa- ta e alice, a sort of bread with rounded bits, stuffed with marinated aubergines with vinegar and then seasoned with olive oil and salty anchovies. Red watermelons accompany the juicy dish.




By bus
With different Sita and Cstp lines.

By car
With the A3 Napoli-Salerno, exit Nocera Inferiore or with the A30 Caserta-Salerno, exit Castel San Giorgio.

By train
Both with the FF.SS., Napoli-Salerno line, or with the Salerno-Mercato San Severino of the Circumsalernitana line.



Telephone numbers

• Municipality - 081/5169111  
• Police (local) - 081/5144743 - 081/5169111 - 081/5169211
• Police (state) - 081/920311 (Noc. Inf.)
• Carabinieri - 081/931065
• Guardia di Finanza - 081/5176334
• Fire services - 081/5157128
• Medical aid - 081/9212534
• Civil protection - 081/5169211
• Water services - 081/5161517 (Gori) - 800218270
• Electricity-Gas – 800900800 - 800016086
• Superintendency - 081/932052 (also fax)

From "Guida alla Valle del Sarno" Istituto geografico De Agostini 2006

Realizzato dalla Soprintendenza Beni Archeologici Salerno-Avellino e Benevento, nell'ambito del progetto pilota per la gestione dei beni complessi della Valle del Sarno di cui all'Intesa Istituzionale di Programma, finanziata dalla Regione Campania nell'ambito dell'Accordo di Programma Quadro - II atto integrativo all'APQ 'Sviluppo Locale'.

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