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Solofra, Province of Avellino, Campania

Solofra extends in a valley of the Picentini Mountains that opens, through Montoro, onto the plain of Mercato San Severino, a vital hub in the Campania plain connecting the basins of the rivers Irno and Sarno.
The favourable geographical position has benefited the economic growth of the town, especially in leather crafts, for which it is highly renowned; just as an example, the nappa leather for the red jacket with black stripes worn by Michael Jackson for the video of Thriller, from the 1982 album, was made in the Solofra tanning district.

Info

  • Altitude: 230-300 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 12,400 inhabitants in 2018
  • Zip/postal code: 83029
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0825
  • Demonym: solofrani
  • Patron Saint: St. Michele Arcangelo celebrated on 29 September
  • Frazioni & Localities: Sant'Agata Irpina, Sant'Andrea Apostolo.

History - Antiquity

A possible origin of the toponym is from the Oscan "Salufer" (=healthy), or from the two Latin words: Sol (=sun) and offero-offers (=to offer), with reference to a cult of the Sun, probably practiced by the Oscan population at the time of the Romans.

History - the Middle Ages

After the fall of the Roman Empire two settlements were formed, the Cortine del Cerro and the Cortine di Sant'Agata, protected by the Church of Sant'Angelo. In the 6th century AD it was incorporated into the Duchy of Benevento and was part of the Rota Gastaldate.

Later on the Duchy was divided into the two Principalities of Benevento and Salerno, and Solofra, located in the border area, came under the protecttion of the latter. With the coming of the Normans it became a fief of the Sanseverino, then the Filangieri de Candida, then the Zurlo.

History - Modern Times

From the 14th century it was a flourishing crafts and mercantile center, and reached its greatest splendor in the 16th century, when it had as many as 14 districts or hamlets. The Orsini princes of Gravina governed the fiefdom from 1555 until the end of feudalism in southern Italy. Since 1895 it has the title of city.

In 1895 it was granted the title of "città". On 23 November 1980, at 7:34 pm, the municipality, along with many other centers in the provinces of Avellino, Salerno and Potenza, was hit by the violent Irpinia earthquake that caused in Solofra 21 victims and enormous damage to monuments and homes.

What to see

  • The Cathedral dedicated to San Michele, with a baroque façade, embellished with carved woodworks covered with gold and paintings by Francesco Guarini, a follower of Caravaggio.
  • The Palazzo Ducale, late Renaissance.

Where to stay