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Benevento, Province of Benevento, Campania

Benevento, the capital of the province of the same name, is situated on a hill 400 ft. above sea-level at the confluence of the Calore and Sabbato rivers, on the site of the ancient Beneventum, originally Maleventum in Latin, from the Oscan Maloeis, perhaps in homage to Apollo Maloeis, protector of flocks, or from "Mallos", sheep's fleece. The legend says that it was founded by Diomedes after the Trojan War.

Info

  • Altitude: 135 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 59,000 inhabitants in 2018
  • Zip/postal code: 82100
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0824
  • Patron Saint: St. Bartolomeo the Apostle, celebrated on 24 August.

Administrative Division

    The city of Benevento is divided into "rioni" (=quarters) and "frazioni" (=smaller localities)
  • The "rioni": Acquafredda, Cancelleria, Capodimonte, Cellarulo, Cretarossa, Epitaffio, Madonna della Salute, Olivola, Pantano, Piano Cappelle, Ponte Corvo, San Chirico, San Domenico, San Vitale
  • The "frazioni": Caprarella, Cardoncielli, Cardoni, Chiumiento, Ciancelle, Ciofani, Cretazzo, Francavilla, Gran Potenza, Imperatore, Lammia, Masseria del Ponte, Masseria La Vipera, Mascambruni, Montecalvo, Pamparuottolo, Perrottiello, Pino, Rosetiello, Ripa Zecca, Roseto, Santa Clementina, San Cumano, Sant'Angelo a Piesco, Scafa, Serretelle, Sponsilli, Torre Alfieri, Vallereccia.

History - Antiquity

The town was the chief center of the Samnites, who took refuge here after their defeat by the Roman Republic in 314 BC. A Latin colony was established in 268 BC, and it was then that the name was changed for the sake of superstition, and probably then that the Via Appia was extended from Capua to Beneventum. It remained in the hands of the Romans during both the Punic and the Social Wars, and was a fortress of importance to them. After the Social War it became a municipium and under Augustus a colony.

Being a meeting point of six main roads, Beneventum was much visited by travellers. The naturally strong position, protected by the two rivers, and the medieval fortifications, which are nearly 2 miles in length, probably follow the ancient tracks.

History - from the Middle Ages

It was sacked by Totila and its walls razed (545), then, occupied by the Lombards, became the seat of a powerful duchy. The Dukes immediately walled the city once more and in the early Middle Ages Benevento had become the most important city of southern Italy.

In 758, Desiderius, king of the Lombards, briefly captured Spoleto and Benevento, but with the collapse of the Lombard kingdom in 773, Duke Arechi II was elevated to Prince under the new empire of the Franks. Arechi expanded the Roman city, with new walled enclosures extending onto the level ground southwest of the old city. Benevento continued to be independent until the Normans of Sicily conquered it in 1053. Manfred of Sicily lost his life in 1266 in battle with Charles of Anjou not far from the town.

Benevento passed to the Papacy when the emperor Henry III ceded it to Leo IX in exchange for the bishopric of Bamberg, and was the cornerstone of the Papacy's temporal powers in southern Italy. The principality continued to be a papal possession until 1806, when Napoleon granted it to his minister Talleyrand; in 1815 Benevento was returned to the papacy and finally united to Italy in 1860.

What to see

  • The Arch of Trajan, erected A.D. 114, one of the best-preserved Roman structures in Campania.
  • The church of Santa Sophia, with polygonal groundplan of about 760 AD, but rebuilt in the following centuries, is one of the most important Lombard architectural complexes. The roof supported by six ancient columns is a relic of the Lombard period; it has a fine cloister of the 12th century built in part with fragments of earlier buildings.
  • Roman ruins, including a well-preserved theatre, a large cryptoporticus 197 ft. long, known as the ruins of Santi Quaranta, probably an emporium; the Ponte Lebroso, a bridge on the Via Appia over the Sabbato, below the city center; and Thermae along the road to Avellino.

[the text above is derived from Wikipedia and is subject to the GNU licence]