Avella, Province of Avellino, Campania

Situated at the foot of the Avella Mountains in the upper valley of the Clanio river, a natural communication route between Irpinia and the Tyrrhenian coastline, was historically an important communication and exchange center.


  • Altitude: 207 m a.s.l
  • Territory: hilly
  • Population: about 7800 inhabitants in 2017
  • Zip/postal code: 83021
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 081
  • Patron Saint: St. Sebastiano
  • Frazioni & Localities: Fusaro, Purgatorio, Casale
  • How to reach it: Autostrada A-16 Napoli - Bari, exit Baiano.


The etymology of the toponym is still unresolved, going from the nut Corylus Abellana, abundant in the area, to Belo, a mythical founder to Aper (boar), also represented in the town coat of arms, to Abel, meaning grassland, name given by a Calcidian colony that according to San Giustino founded the town.

Archelogical remains show the human presence since the late Paleolithic Age along the Clanio. In the 8th century BC the ancient Abella was under the influence of the Etruscans and Greeks who had settled in Paestum and Neapolis, as well as the influence of the fierce Samnite peoples of the Apennines.

In the 3rd century BC Abella was a Roman municipium, as documented in the Oscan inscription of the "Cippus Abellanus", presently kept in Nola. During the social war of the Italic peoples against Rome, Abella was destroyed in 87 BC by the Nolans for being faithful to the Romans.

An important cultural center throughout the Roman empire, it was sacked by the barbarians in 410 AD and again in 455 AD, and the population took refuge in the mountains. The city rose again under the Lombards, creating the quarters of San Pietro, Corta Lupino, Farrio, Cortabucci around a castle.Among later feudal lords were the Del Balzo, Orsini, Colonna, Spinelli and Doria del Carretto families.

What to see

  • The Roman town of Abella with amphitheater, road, funeral monuments.
  • The Castle, one of the most interesting in the region, built by the Lombards in the 7th century, then strengthened by the Normans, Anjou and Aragonese, surrounded by three circle of walls around a round tower.
  • San Michele Grotto, a place of hermits and refuge for the population during invasions, consecrated to the Archangel and containing three chapels to the Immaculate Conception, Christ the Savior and Saint Michael, with many fine frescos.
  • The church of San Pietro, the most ancient in Avella, built on a previous Roman palace.
  • The church of Santa Marina, built on the ruins of a 6th century church founded by San Silverio.
  • The church and monastery of Santissima Annunziata (16th century) with a fine cloister and frescos on the life of Saint Francis.

Where to stay

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Provinces of Campania
Campania region
Surnames in the Provinces of Campania