I have a large collection of photos that I took in October 2011 and never got around to posting here. As it's Saturday night and I'm doing nothing at all, I'm going to try to catch up a bit.
The Cilento National Park is a strange place with some non-contiguous sections separated by a so-called 'buffer zone'. This buffer zone is the Valle del Diano, a narrow, elongated, completely flat plain between two mountain ranges. There is a freeway through the middle and the Diano seems to have been forced into a dead straight concrete channel that feeds irrigated agriculture. In short, most of the Valle del Diano is characterised by industrialized agriculture and architecturally nondescript towns. From Fogna, where we were staying, you have to drive over the western mountain range (steep climb + winding road = car sickness for me; happens every time!). At the southern end of the Valle is the Certosa di Padula, a Carthusian monastery nestled into the side of the eastern range. The Carthusians were a silent order, and they originally owned vast tracts of land extending down to the Gulf of Taranto (the instep of the Italian boot). Nowadays the monastery is part of the Cilento World Heritage area, excised from the rest of the buffer zone and included in the National Park. The Certosa is a truly fabulous place - one of the more amazing historical monuments I've ever seen. I took masses of photos, so I'm going to present them in a series of posts.
First, the approach and the grounds. First up is the view from the car park. I don't know if this palazzo ever belonged to the monastery, but it gives a good idea of the flatness of the land. Looking towards the western side of the valley.
Then you have to walk along a narrow, tree-lined street with the wall of the monastery on your left and a view of the village of Padula, on the edge of the eastern range, ahead.
After about half a kilometre you turn into the entry courtyard of the Certosa. It was too big to get into my viewfinder! So here you see just one side of it.
On entering this forecourt we had to decide whether to go into the park or into the building. We chose the park.
There was a dry well with a spiral staircase. From N, aged not quite 2.5 at the time, we learned that throwing stuff into the well was the obvious thing to do. Fortunately, unlike others, the only things he could find to throw were sticks, leaves and so on. Most of the other stuff was plastic.
An elegant side gate.
We occupied quite a lot of our time throwing sticks up into the trees and making the autumn leaves flutter down on N's head.
Eventually you come out of the woods to some open fields.
... with sheep and some very vigilant dogs!
Finally, this track leads back towards the monastery buildings.