The old road leading from the centre of Cervinara to San Martino touches, after leaving Pantanari, the more important settlement of Valle
. This casale
is, nowadays, the farthest from the town centre and therefore it retains a partially distinct identity.
It was mentioned for the first time in 1273: parts of its soil used to belong to the monastery of San Gabriele in Airola, and the monks leased them to a man called Bartolomeo de Luciano, who was accused of having guzzled under his control also other rural properties that would belong to the Royal Court in Naples. Ten years later, Valle was given to Giovanni della Lagonessa: this was the first of the feudal achievements of the della Leonessa family in Cervinara.
Corso Caudino is the current name that the old main road takes in Valle. It runs just at the edge of the old core of Valle, and then proceeds out of the town running between the two hills called Toppa Marchese (317 m) and Toppo del Conte (390 m). An undulating stretch of farmland north of the road reaches Via Variante, the modern road that connects Cervinara with San Martino. The old casale
, lying on the opposite side, is structured as usual along a single road, named Via Sacchi.
At the other extreme of Mount Pizzone, Valle includes a block built on top of another hillock, and streches almost up to reach the northern slopes of Mount Pizzone. Similarly as Ferrari, it is topped by its parish church, simply dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Not far from this area, a path climbs the Pizzone to reach another small religious edifice: the hermitage of San Biagio.
Hermitage of San Biagio
Eremo di San Biagio
The hermitage of San Biagio lies along the slope of Mount Pizzone, at 404 m elevation, between Valle and Castello. It is reached through an old path through the woods. It is a tiny building, consisting of a chapel and former house of the hermit.
It was mentioned for the first time in 1127 as San Biagio in monte Tolino
, in a document whereby its rector Roffrit was donated some lands. In 1581 a Church inspector ordered the closure of the hermitage, and the structure was abandoned (in 1701 it was mentioned merely as a possession). The chapel, that had lost its roofing, has been restored in 2009.
St. Blaise is celebrated in Cervinara with a pilgrimage to the hermitage, every year on the Sunday after Easter: throats of the worshippers are anointed to remember the miraculous healing operated by the saint, and a picnic is organized.
Ritorna la gita di S. Biagio a Cervinara [IrpiniaOggi.it]
An article from 2009 about the reinstatement of the pilgrimage to San Biagio after some years.
The path to San Biagio
View of the front side, almost at the edge of the mountain slope
Cervinara seen from San Biagio
On the left is Mount Cornito with (starting from the left) the casali of Castello, Ioffredo and Ferrari (on the right of the mount). The districts of Cervinara located more downhill follow. The mountains delimiting the estern side of Valle Caudina are visible (Mount Tairano with its quarry is partially covered by Mount Paraturo). Mount Taburno peekes in on the right side.