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Stage 8 : Teggiano / Sanza

Your eighth stop will take you back from the Vallo di Diano to the heart of the Cilento National Park, but not without first visiting one of the greatest wonders of this Way: the Charterhouse of San Lorenzo, better known as the Charterhouse of Padula. From Teggiano to the Carthusian Monastery is a short step, but even before reaching the monastery, the Baptistery of S.Giovanni in Fonte (or of Marcelliano) is absolutely worth a visit, unique in Italy for the presence of a spring in the center of the church, with the waters collected in a basin for baptism by immersion. It is one of the oldest Christian settlements of the Constantinian era, founded in the 4th century by Pope Marcellus I; also dating from that period are paintings depicting the four Evangelists. (The Baptistery is located at Via S. Giovanni in Fonti 1, Fonti – Padula) At the foot of the ancient town of Padula stands the immense Carthusian Monastery of St. Lawrence, the largest in Italy, founded in 1306 by Tommaso Sanseverino on the site of an ancient monastery. Construction was very slow and lasted until the mid-19th century, but the prevailing appearance is still the Baroque style of the 17th and 18th centuries. Charles V was hosted here on his return trip from Reggio to Naples after the capture of Tunis (1535). According to tradition, an omelet of 1,000 eggs was prepared by monks on that occasion to feed the emperor’s court. The French suppressed the monastery in 1806, despoiling it of many of its works and turning it into a barracks. Returned in 1815, the Carthusians were finally removed in 1866. It was used as a concentration camp both during the Great War and in 1944. The Carthusian Monastery was affected by the 1980 earthquake, and has since undergone careful restoration, becoming a venue for major exhibitions and events. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. Access is in front of a descending staircase, with a large ashlar doorway leading into a rectangular courtyard with the monumental 18th-century facade in the background, which was the true entrance to the monastic complex. Most notable among the rooms is the vast Great Cloister, but before accessing it, at the side of the corridor, a small door leads to a very elegant spiral staircase connecting to the library, paved with majolica and 18th-century canvases. The Great Cloister dates back to 1690 and is the largest in Europe at 15,000 square meters, with a portico of 84 arches on rusticated pillars. From the large courtyard you can see the town of Padula, which from here appears almost suspended over the rooftops of the Charterhouse. If you have legs to climb back up the slope, we recommend a visit to the historic center of Padula with the Church of St. Michael the Archangel rising above the houses and the convent and Church of St. Augustine, built around the 14th century. Also notable in the historic center is the Joe Petrosino House-Museum, dedicated to the famous Italian-American policeman, with documents and objects belonging to or related to his figure. Leaving Padula will avoid much of the busy SS19 by heading toward Arenabianca and from there descending to Montesano Scalo. Here you quickly cross the SS19 turning onto a side road that leads to a traffic circle where you follow the signs for Buonabitacolo. In this village in May they prepare the Cuccìa Festival, a soup of legumes and grains first cooked separately and mixed all together only at the end. Ask for a plate in the trattorias in the village; it will provide you with enough energy to get back on the road to Sanza, your destination today.