Guardiaregia, Province of Campobasso, Molise
Rising on a crest over the Quirino river at the foot of monte Capraro, facing the forests of Colle Antona, the village takes its name from a garrison ("Royal Guard") assigned here in 1865 as a defence of nearby Campochiaro.
- Altitude: 731 m a.s.l
- Territory: mountainous
- Population: about 800 inhabitants
- Zip/postal code: 86014
- Dialing Area Code: +39 0874
- Patron Saint: St. Nicola di Bari on 9-31 May
- Frazioni & Localities: Campate, Cauzaro, Fonte Amica, Fonte La Cesa, Formelle, Fornelle, Mencaro, Quadri, Vecchiarelli.
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The nature around is almost incontaminated, with abundance of streams and forests, and wealth of wild vegetation like strawberries, mushrooms and medicinal herbs. A ruinous earthquake in 1805 destroyed the place utterly. This small center is also famous for the beautiful female costume and the "pignatari", craftsmen makers of clay tools.
In Lombard time Guardiaregia was part of the Boiano county, then under the Normans it was a fiefdom of Guglielmo di Sessano. Later on, it assed to the Pandone and finally the Di Capua family. As other centers of the Matese area, it was sadly famous in the years following the unity of Italy for the many episodes of brigandage, still part of the memory of the population.
What to see
- The church of San Nicola, 18th century.
- Monte Mutria, 1823 mt (ascent requires 3.30 hours) with a great view on Irpinia and the whole province of Campobasso. Along the itinerary, there are beautiful, though still partly unexplored, grottos.
- The "Grotta Rumita", of great interest for speleologists.
- "Campitello di Guardiaregia", seat of a WWF Natural Oasis established here for the preservation of the natural flora comprising century-old trees (leech trees over 500 years old in the area called "Tre Frati") and a great variety of flowers, among them orchids (over 20 species) and gentians. Wildlife includes the wolf, boar, a great many rare amphibians, birds and rare butterflies.