5 things to see in Vico Equense
On the slopes of Monte Sant’Angelo, about 25 kilometers from our boutique hotel, lies Vico Equense, the largest town on the Sorrento Peninsula. Several civilizations have followed one another here, marking the history and architecture of the coastal town with their passage. Compared to neighboring Sorrento, it is less tourism-oriented, although it offers visitors splendid views and a lovely historic center, as well as a vast architectural heritage.
What to see in Vico Equense? Here are 5 things not to miss.
The Church of the Most Holy Annunciation
Absolutely not to be missed is the Church of the Santissima Annunziata, one of the most beautiful in Italy as well as one of the very few examples of Gothic-style sacred architecture on the Sorrento Coast. It was built at the beginning of the 14th century, probably between 1320 and 1330, although its current appearance is the result of several restorations. What is most striking about this church is its spectacular location. In fact, it stands on a rocky ridge about 90 meters high overlooking the sea. The interior holds a large number of works of great artistic value, including the funerary urns of the jurist Gaetano Filangieri.
The Church of Saints Cyrus and John
A few steps from the Church of the Santissima Annunziata is the monumental Church of Saints Cyrus and John, dedicated to the patron saints of Vico Equense. The present building was erected in the early 18th century but consecrated only in 1774. The church, characterized by its lively tiled dome, has a facade decorated with tuff elements. Inside, in addition to the authentic relics of the two saints, several works of art are preserved, including a wooden statue of the Immaculate by Francesco Antonio Pisano and a canvas, depicting the Deposition, by Antonio Asturi, a painter originally from Vico Equense.
The Shrine of Santa Maria del Toro
Another religious building not to be missed is the Sanctuary of Santa Maria del Toro. It was erected between 1542 and 1549 as a result of two legends attributed to the fresco of the Virgin and Child. The first has it that it was built on the site of a rock on which an image of the Virgin was painted, found after many years by an elderly lady who was taking her bull to pasture. The second tells of a bull that when it passed in front of the rock it knelt down; the event was repeated until the day a crippled girl went to the site and was healed. The shrine contains frescoes by Francesco Solimena and numerous other paintings.
The Bank of the Holy Cross
A few hundred meters off the coast of Vico Equense, midway between the coastal arch of Punta Orlando and Torre Angellara, is a submerged site called Banco di Santa Croce consisting of a “shoal,” which all divers have always described as unique, spectacular and surprising. More than a shoal, it is a small underwater archipelago consisting mainly of five large rocky pinnacles along whose walls a wide variety of animal and plant species can be observed, including red coral. It is one of the richest underwater sites in the Mediterranean.
The Mineralogical Museum of Campania
Also definitely worth a visit is the Museo Mineralogico Campano, one of the most important scientific museums in Italy because of the number, variety and rarity of the specimens on display. Opened on October 22, 1992, it has been housed in the historic former Convent of the Holy Trinity and Paradise (17th century) since April 2011. The exhibition is divided into six sections: Anthropology, Gemology, Graphene, Malacology, Mineralogy and Paleontology. Between a shell and a fossil you will also pass by the diorama of “Ciro,” the cub from Pietraroja (Bn), the only dinosaur whose internal organs have been found.