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History of Vico Equense

Archaeological discoveries suggest a probable Etruscan presence whose settlements extended along the coast from Pompeii to Pontecagnano.

Its former name, Aequa, probably derives from the flat physiognomy of its terrain, in comparison with the mountain range that surrounds it.

The Tyrrhenians, then the Samnites from the Sanio Mountains, settled there until it passed under the rule of Rome.

Important remains of pre-Roman necropolises, from the 7th before our era, were found on its territory. They testify of the presence of Etruscans, Oscic then Samnites, who before the arrival of the Greeks, moved from the plains of the north towards the south.

From the Roman period remain only the ruins of two large cisterns.

Later, the territory of Vico Equense was part of the Duchy of Sorrento until the Angevin domination and its accession to a relative autonomy.

In Roman times, Equa (or Aequana) was more prosperous than most other cities in the Sorrentine Peninsula.

It is probable that the Vicus Romano was a village dependent on the locality of Stabia. Ranked on the side of the Social League against Rome, the town paid the price: in 89 BC, Sylla razed the territories allied with Stabia, expropriating the inhabitants and expelling them.

Under the Emperor Augustus, Aequa is reborn, the Sorrentine Peninsula became a Roman colony.

Along the coastal strip that stretches from the current Marina di Vico to Scutolo Point, today separated by the sea, but once contiguous, was in the first century BC a series of villas well known at the time.

But Vesuvius began to make its own: violent earthquakes in 62 and 64 AD, and in 79, the village and the coastal villas were buried by an eruption. “That one” who made a definite fate to Pompeii, Stabia and Herculaneum.

Vico then went through a dark period, marked by the devastation of the Goths in the sixth century, the birth of a village at the present Marina of Equa, and another nucleus inhabited to the present Church of San Ciro (St. Cyr of Alexandria).

The Saracen incursions of the 9th led the inhabitants of Aequa to take refuge permanently on the heights. Then centuries later, in the thirteenth century, the Angevins arrived in Naples. At Vico was founded a “University”.

It was only in 1271, when Charles II of Anjou received Sorrento and Vico from the Pope, that the town was rebuilt and surrounded by defensive walls.

Vico became the capital of Equense territory. It took an important role in the preparation of the fleet for the crusade of the King of France Louis IX.

Charles of Anjou (1285-1309) stayed regularly in the area and he transformed the town into a small city by building its urban center. Vico is a name that derives from Vici (small villages on the main roads). The main town was then called Vicus Aequensis, also known as “Bourg des Cavaliers”. In 1301, Charles of Anjou built a castle there. It was restored by the count Girolamo Giusso in the 17th century, giving it its name.

Vico, however, was prey to the attacks of the Pisans, Aragonese and even Sorrentines who betrayed King Charles of Anjou in 1284 in front of the port of Naples.

After the Angevin period and the punitive expeditions of Alfonso of Aragon to submit Vico, the history of the city became that of fief of various families, as Carrafa and Durazzo.

In the 17th, Vico is connected to its neighbor Sorrento, despite a desire for autonomy that has always been very strong in this regard.

It was an episcopal see since the first decades of the seventh century, counting among its bishops Paolo Regio, famous writer of the sixteenth, and Michele Natale. The last one paid with his life for his liberal ideas, executed in 1799 in Naples by the Bourbons, during the Neapolitan revolution.

By the decree of June 27, 1818 of Pius VII, the diocese was abolished and the ecclesiastical territory grouped in the diocese of Sorrento.

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