At the foot of the monastery of the same name stands the Vigna di San Martino, one of the largest vineyards in Europe. We are talking about an agricultural area with an even medieval tradition, whose charm has never waned over the centuries, given the breathtaking view of Vesuvius and the Gulf of Naples. Let's discover some characteristic features of this Neapolitan excellence to be jealously preserved and cherished.
The secular tradition of the vineyard
The ancient Vigna di San Martino has been around since 1368, the year the Charterhouse of the same name was built. There are seven hectares of agricultural land that give it space, as well as the merit of being declared a National Monument by the Ministry of Culture and UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.
The entrance is at Corso Vittorio Emanuele, number 340, on the hill leading to the residential district of Vomero. It must be said that everything is almost concealed, as you enter through a darkly coloured gate, which conveys everything but the light-heartedness that the greenery that you will later come to breathe will give. Even the rest of the route does not promise anything special, with a steep climb through solitude and half-abandoned, shabby buildings. Then, a little later, we finally arrive at the vineyard, a place that perhaps belongs little to its surroundings, to the grey and dullness of the road and daily traffic.
This large and precious green space was owned by the Carthusian monks until the Unification of Italy, so it was theirs for five hundred years of work and activity. From then on, it passed into the hands of various private individuals. In 1967, it first became "Property of Landscape Interest", then in 1988 it was purchased by Giuseppe Morra, a Neapolitan art gallery owner.
Initiatives to protect Naples' green spaces
For several years now, the care of the vineyard has been entrusted to the non-profit association 'Piedi per la Terra' (Feet for the Earth), which for over twenty years has been involved in educational research in the field of Ecological Education in nature contexts. All this is addressed through activities aimed at children, educators and families, with the aim of enriching the knowledge of the entire community.
As previously said, the objectives of the Association are to educate people to respect nature and to spread an ecological culture. This dual mission is implemented through an experiential approach, creating direct contact between man and nature. The management of the Vigna di San Martino is the clearest reflection of this thanks to all the recreational activities that are carried out.
There are numerous camps for children aged between 3 and 12 years. For them, it is a precious opportunity to immerse themselves from an early age in the countryside and nature, playing in the open countryside and breathing in the farm air. In fact, let's not forget the presence of animals such as donkeys, horses, ducks, hens and chicks.
Ecological education, but not only, among the activities of 'Piedi per la terra' is, of course and inevitably, also the production of wine. Around four thousand litres of wine are produced each year from Aglianico, Piedirosso, Falanghina and Catalanesca grapes. What is produced at San Martino is not sold, but only consumed by the producers and members, as well as by visitors in specific cases. Therefore, there is all the air of carefree drinking with the breathtaking panorama of the Gulf of Naples as a magical backdrop.