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Castello del Matese, Province of Caserta, Campania

A renowned summer resort, Castello del Matese is a small center 50 km from Caserta, on the foothills of the southern slope of the Matese range, on a spur of terraced rock between the Rivo and Torano streams, overlooking much of the Volturno and Telesina Valleys as far as the Taburno and the Vesuvius.

The territory is full of beautiful woods as the Valle Orsara, Serra delle Giumente and Concone delle Rose, with springs, caves and streams in a landscape where nature reigns uncontaminated.

Info

  • Altitude: 476 m a.s.l
  • Population: about 1400 inhabitants in 2018
  • Zip/postal code: 81010
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0823
  • Demonym: castellani
  • Patron Saint: Sant'Antonio di Padova, celebrated on 13 June
  • Frazioni & Localities: Campitello, Miralago, Porchera, San Marco.

History - the Middle Ages

The origins of the settlement date back to the Samnites Pentri, and, according to some historians it was located on the site of ancient Allifae. In the 10th and 11th centuries AD it was a stronghold of Alife and later Piedimonte, with which Castello shared its history until the 19th century. The Normans fortified the castle with five towers, of which only two are extant, and a central tower which served as a citadel and mansion. The fief, which was sold to Thomas Aquinas by Frederick II in 1229, was besieged by the papal troops under Cardinal Giovanni Vitelleschi from Tarquinia.

History - Modern Times

Then the fiefdom came to the Gaetani of Aragona family, and in 1460 suffered another siege by the barons who had rebelled against king Ferrante I of Aragon; Onorato Gaetani, Count of Fondi, and Prince of Piedimonte, to whom also Castello belonged, remained faithful to the king and was finally defeated by the army of the rebel barons.

When in the course of the 17th century Piedimonte lost its military function, Castello became increasingly independent from Piedimonte. In 1691 the parish church of Santa Croce was rebuilt in the Baroque style after the 1688 earthquake. In 1752, by decree of the Real Camera della Sommaria, Casello gained administrative autonomy, but its separation from Piedimonte lasted only until August 1764, when it was reunited to Piedimonte. Finally in 1801 Castello finally broke away from Piedimonte under the name of Castello di Piedimonte. After the unification of Italy in 1860 it took the name of Castello d'Alife; only on August 13, 1970 it was decided to change the name of Castello d'Alife to the more geographically correct Castello del Matese.

Events

  • During the first weekend of August in Castello there is a historical re-enactement, the Giostra medioevale, with the entire population in costume, engaged in tournaments and banquets. The event recalls the tradition of the election of the Captain of the castle. Before the Joust there is a historical parade with flag bearers, the announcement of the Tournament, the return of the banner by the quarter that won the previous year, the lighting of torches. The tournament is a duel among four young men of the three districts (Contrada Torre, Contrada Cavallo and Contrada Platano), who run pulling a cart to collect rings through a lance, and ends with the announcement of the new Lord of the Castle and a feast.
  • Around the central event of the Joust, there are side events such as the "Garden of Artists", exhibition of works by local artists, and the show "Flowers of Matese". It is possible to go horse riding along the old tracks, to take part to guided tours through the alleys, to the "Banquet of the Contrade", and the "Feast of the Lord of the Castle" or to watch craftsmen at work.

Genealogy & Links

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