In San Giovanni a Piro, the first place we visit with local guide Lucio is the Basilian coenobium, built around the year One Thousand. Among the monks who lived here was Saint Nilus, to whom the first of the the trails created by Settimio is dedicated: an itinerary of approximately 100 kilometres, with 7 stops, starting from the municipality of Torraca and ending in Palinuro, in the municipality of Centola, through 11 beautiful villages set among lush nature, in the national park Parco Nazionale del Cilento, Vallo di Diano e Alburni.

Participation in ReStartApp, in the summer of 2019, was a “crucial” step, points out Settimio. It was there that the idea grew and became what it is today: “My goal was to create something that would be useful for the local territory, but to do so I needed to figure what type of public involvement I could expect and how it could support my business, setting a clear distinction between the two. Cammini Bizantini cannot replace local bodies where the hiking infrastructure is lacking. But private initiative can press the public sector to make certain choices”.

“In the case of the Cammino di San Nilo (Saint Nilus Trail), we began by involving the public bodies, as they are the ones who are responsible for retracing the itineraries. When taking people on a trail, you need to be sure that it is going to be in good order. We can make up for some shortcomings, some weaknesses in the territory, intervening where a degree of maintenance is required, but opening the trails to the public is not our responsibility. Fortunately, the Parco Nazionale del Cilento proved to be our keenest supporter. They immediately approved the idea and together we began to restore some portions of the trail. Plus, we were also able to obtain a € 2,000 contribution for the purchase of the signs, making the trail available for independent hikers too” points out Settimio.
Along the trails, at junctions, a monk appears: “follow the monk” says the slogan for Cammini Bizantini.

Saint Nilus

Born in Rossano (in the province of Cosenza), near Calabria’s Ionic coast, Nicola crossed the inland portion of Cilento before the year One Thousand to get to San Nazario – now an outlying portion of the municipality of San Mauro la Bruca (in the province of Salerno) – where he became a monk and was given the name ‘Nilus’.
In the course of his life, Nilus travelled across most of Southern and Central Italy, stopping at numerous monasteries. During the 10th and 11th centuries, a significant number of Greek Italian monks were recognised as saints. There was a climate of exchange and respect between the eastern and western monastic traditions. Saint Nilus also stayed at the Benedictine monastery of Montecassino, where he composed a Greek hymn in honour of Saint Benedictine. In 1004 AD, shortly before his death, he began the construction, near Frascati, of the most important Greek Italian institution in the western Christian world, a powerful beam of spirituality and eastern culture at the gates of Rome to this date: the abbey of Santa Maria di Grottaferrata.

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