The Mefite Geological Site in Valle d'Ansanto is a place of historical and natural interest located in Rocca San Felice.
A sulphurous lake of the same name, it is not only a rare geological phenomenon of gaseous exhalations in a non-volcanic land but also the site of a sanctuary dedicated to the Italic goddess Mefitis, worshipped in ancient times by the Hirpini who, having settled in this hostile place, asked for protection and wealth for worshippers and farmers, as well as fertility, especially for the female universe. From being a place of worship, the image of the Mefitis was converted in Roman times, taking on an impervious and hostile appearance: in a famous quotation from the seventh canto of the Aeneid, Virgil describes the Ansanto Valley as a mysterious area, believed - due to the lethal fumes - to be the passage from earth to the underworld. Cicero too, speaks of the place as funereal in his De Divinatione, emphasising the gloomy atmosphere coming from the sulphurous waters.
Today, this flat and very arid area still retains a very evocative charm: it continues to give off the typical sharp and acrid smell of gaseous exhalations, which cause the noisy boiling of the water, similar to the phenomenon of volcanism. This geological phenomenon makes the Mefite Geological Site a unique place, whose emissions condition the vegetation in the vast 3 km radius, an area where the botanical species that manage to survive are grasses and hay devoted to the production of Pecorino di Carmasciano PAT, unique because it is strongly typical of an area that still arouses a strong attraction.
A place of extraordinary beauty and fascinating millenary history, the Mefite Geological Site in Valle d'Ansanto is one of the main places of interest in Irpinia, made even more fascinating by the aura of mystery and danger that surrounds the entire area.
Geosito della Mefite in Valle d'Ansanto
Località Mefite, 83050 Rocca San Felice AV, Italia