Wednesday, February 10, 2021

In San Mauro Cilento

San Mauro is a hillside town located in central Cilento, below the Stella mountain. San Mauro San Mauro Cilento actually consists of two hill towns: Casal Sottano and Casal Soprano.  An inhabited center with the name 'Santo Mauro' is already mentioned in a document dated 1092 and the town itself was first mentioned in 1130. 

It is the town where Maria Mazziotti Gillan's mother lived before coming to America. During a visit there in 2016, Maria, accompanied by her grandson, was feted by townspeople who recited her poetry. The mayor unveiled a ceramic tile tribute to Maria's poetry, her visit and her mother's connection to the town.

Maria's tiles are now in the wall of this "walled" town on the hillside that was protected from invaders by its location. It joins others (shown below) found around the town and at the church.

San Mauro is an ancient mountaintop village with gorgeous vistas and a view of the Mediterranean Sea.

Here is a poem Maria wrote about her visit.

The Sky in San Mauro
by Maria Mazziotti Gillan

The sky in San Mauro turns mauve
over the Mediterranean, visible
at the base of the mountain
on which I stand
and the air rushes past gnarled fig trees
and graceful ones bent like dancers
under the weight of large lemons,
the air fragrant with the scent of dark, rich earth,
the tang of rosemary and lavender.

Standing here looking out over so much open space,
I feel buoyant as if my feet
were no longer bound to the earth. I think

of my ordinary life,
my appointment book so full it is difficult to read,
no time for this incredible stillness,
which I wrap around me now in San Mauro
like a silk shawl,

of my every day, a list of things I must do
until I too am bent, under the weight
of so many people who need me,

of my desk covered in books to be reviewed,
letters to be answered, programs to plan,
so this moment, this blessed moment

when I can breathe in the clean mountain air,
this moment, a salve on burned skin,
this moment, a treasure I will carry with me
to remind me how fortunate I am,
just to pause, to breathe this glorious air.

Maria Mazziotti Gillan's most recent books are the poetry and photography collection, Paterson Light and Shadow and the poetry collection, What Blooms in Winter. Her collection of poems paired with some of her paintings is The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets. Her artist's website is and her poetry website is

No comments:

Post a Comment