Benevento is a city located in the Campania's hinterland, a place rich in history, culture and food tourism. In the past it was a Samnite, Roman, Lombard and later Pontifical city, and you can still the sign today of every time period.
WHAT YOU MUST SEE IN TOWN:
The Arch of Trajan. It is a celebratory arch, erected in 114 in honor of the Emperor Trajan, and is located on the road that bears its own name, Traiana St. Today the work presents itself as a whole, resulting in one of the best preserved arches in Italy. Taller than 15 meters wide and almost nine, it is rich in sculptural decorations representing imperial triumphs and ancient sacrifices.
The Cathedral of Benevento. Consecrated in 780 it is the main place of worship in the city. Despite having suffered the heavy bombing of World War II, the sacred building has a façade still almost entirely intact. The bell tower is also remarkable. It’s composed of Roman marbles and it’s far more ancient than the Duomo itself. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina was a priest of the Cathedral of Benevento in 1910.
Saint Sofia Church. The building was erected in 760 and is one of the best preserved examples of medieval architecture in Italy. The plant is a central hexagon, which, considered the time in which the church was erected, was completely innovative and original. In the former monastery adjacent to the church there is a collection of paintings from the sixteenth and seventeen centuries.
Benevento’s Castle. Also known as Rocca dei Rettori, it was born as a defensive fortress, then it become a monastery and later it was the residence of the rectors of the Pope. This splendid castle as all the fortresses is located in the highest part of the city.
Hortus Conclusus, It is an art installation by Domenico Paladino, realized in 1992 together with the architects Roberto Sahoo and Pasquale Palmieri together with the lighting designer Filippo Cannae. The monument is located in one of the gardens of the convent of Saint Domenico.
Roman Theater. Brought to light only in the last century, the Roman amphitheater of Benevento was built under the Emperor Hadrian and finished under Caracalla. It is a very large theater, which initially could accommodate about 15,000 people. Today the theater is one of the flagships of the monumental heritage of Benevento.
Isis’ Temple. Two obelisks testify that here in the past it was a grandiose temple dedicated to the goddess Isis.
The Sannio Museum. It rises next to the Saint Sofia Church, and preserves important testimonies of Samnite history. Here you can admire a collection of Egyptian artifacts, second in Italy only to the one present at the Egyptian Museum in Turin.
The city of Benevento is also a popular destination for cultural tourism and during the summer Benevento hosts many traditional and folkloric festivals.
BENEVENTO’S CULTURE: THE JANARE E CITY OF THE WITCHES
Benevento is also known as the “City of Witches” thanks to a famous legend that said that in the city a group of women used to gather around a large walnut in the nights between Saturday and Sunday, to give life to a demonic Sabbath made of banquets, dancing and singing.
The legend also said that the witches reached the place flying on the horse of brooms, after having greasy with a miraculous ointment that, in addition to giving them the ability to fly, made them invisible. These women of course were very much feared, as they would have the power to cause abortions and deformity in newborns, as well as having the ability to pass under the doors.
To put an end to this phenomenon intervened the inquisitors, who tortured and sent to the stake many women accused of witchcraft. All the records of those trials were destroyed at the end of what became a terrible and bloody “witch hunt”.
EAT AND DRINK
While visiting this amazing territory you must try all the food that you can and enjoy all the great wine they produce.
The food specialties of the areas are: the ammugliatielli, grilled lamb entrails with chilly pepper, parsley, and garlic and the so called witch soup, a mixed vegetable soup, enriched with cheeses and chunks of toast bread.
You want also try the famous products of the Liquore Strega brand and the Alberti brand.
The wines you want to try are: Falanghina, Barbera, Solopaca, Coda di Volpe, Aglianico, Piedirosso.
Telese Thermal baths
The Telese hot spring is located within a green park and is known for its sulphureous and curative waters. It has two spring thermal water pools, called Goccioloni and Pera, particularly suitable for dermatologic pathologies, while the third thermal swimming pool is located in the spaces used by the Grand Hotel Telese, and is mainly used for rehabilitation.
The Telese Lake
If you are a nature’s lover you can also decide to spend a day at Telese lake, a very popular quiet spot.
The village of Pietrelcina is birthplace of Saint Pius.
Saint Agata of Goths, it’s listed among the most beautiful villages in Italy.
The Airola Secret Garden it’s a park and gives residence to 16,000 plants and 300 animals from 53 countries.