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main index © Jeff Matthews entry June 2010
The Tanagro river ( n.3, right) starts at about 450 meters (c.1500 feet) above sea level near the town of Casalbuono in the Vallo di Diano high plain in the Cilento region of Campania near the border with the Basilicata region. The whole area is one of great natural beauty and forms the Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park. It is on the UN World Heritage list. In ancient times, the river was known as the Tanager. Flowing NW, it picks up a number of tributaries for 92 km (57 miles); it is, itself, the main tributary of the Sele river and joins that river near the town of Contursi Terme. The joint river is then the backbone of the recent Sele-Tangro nature preserve of some 7000 hectares (c.17,000 acres) as it winds to the sea.
In ancient times, the Tanagro valley was the main transit to the south along the Tyrrhenian, and the Romans built the via Annia through it in 128 BC. It also witnessed the passage of Alaric the Visigoth in 410 AD. He had sacked Rome and was on his way to Calabria and then, so he envisioned, to North Africa, where the fish were jumpin' and the cotton was high! He apparently died in Cosenza in Calabria and was interred in the river bed of the Busento river. Also, Garibaldi's forces, on their way up from Sicily in 1860, passed through, bound for Naples during their invasion of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.