In our local dialect, Barnìa is the word for baronia, meaning barony.
In Italian the word has a negative connotation, referring as it does to a system where peasant farmers worked the land and were obliged to hand over a large part of their crop to the barons.
But for people from Ascea, Barnìa is synonymous with a good wine-producing area, a rugged but sun-kissed land. A gentle land.
A land of passions.
Love for the land, hard work, the fruits of the earth and the smell of the country. Like wet earth after a summer rain. What word would you use to describe that distinctive smell?
We call it the smell of Barnìa.
Today, La Barnìa is a small semi-working farm planted with olives, vineyards and fig trees. The original farm buildings have been lovingly converted into self-catering villas equipped with all modern comforts, ideal for nature lovers and a perfect base to explore this unspoilt and undiscovered part of Italy.
A bit of history
La Barnìa is just a kilometre away from the ruins of the Greek colony of Elea, founded by the Phocaeans in about 540 BC. After years wandering the Mediterranean sea, and founding the towns of Ajaccio and Marseille, they finally settled close to the mouth of the Alento river, which gave its name to this area. In Latin cis means “on this side of”, and so “on this side of Alento” was Cis Alento, later shortened to Cilento.
La torre medievale è costruita sulle basamenta del tempio a Venere, sono ancora ben visibili l’anfiteatro, l’agorà, la porta di accesso, la parte militare, le terme greche e quelle romane.
The Medieval tower was built on site of a temple dedicated to Venus, while the remains of a theatre, agora, gate and military area as well as Greek and Roman baths are still clearly visible.
Parmenides, founder of the Eleatic school of philosophy, was born here and who knows, his thinking may have been influenced by a glass or two of the excellent locally produced wine. Elea, then called Velia, later became a spa town and holiday resort for wealthy Romans.