06 Oct 2022

Benevento in short

The last couple of days, on my way to Apulia, I called at Benevento for few hours. Benevento is a city of Campania 50 kilometres northeast of Naples. It is situated on a hill 130 metres above sea level at the confluence of the Calore Irpino and the Sabato. It is also the seat of a Catholic archbishop. Benevento occupies the site of the ancient Beneventum, originally Maleventum or even earlier Maloenton. The meaning of the name of the town is evidenced by its former Latin name, translating as good or fair wind. In the imperial period it was supposed to have been founded by Diomedes after the Trojan War. 

Benevento is a rather small city if compared to Naples. It’s very livable and far from being as chaotic as the Campania capital. The street life is centered around Corso Garibaldi and, from a short distance from this main street, are all the attractions worth to be seen. The importance of Benevento in classical times is vouched for by the many remains of antiquity which it possesses, of which the most famous is the triumphal arch erected in honor of Trajan by the senate and people of Rome in 114, with important reliefs relating to its history. Enclosed in the walls, this construction marked the entrance in Benevento of the Via Traiana, the road built by the Spanish emperor to shorten the path from Rome to Brindisi. The reliefs show the civil and military deeds of Trajan. Few meters from this site, the Santa Sofia Church was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011, due to its artistic and cultural significance. Not to be missed is the Bue Apis, popularly known as Aufara (“buffalo”). It is a basement in the shape of an ox or bull coming from the Temple of Isis and it’s located near the Basilica Madonna delle Grazie. Another highlight is the well-preserved ancient theatre, next to the Cathedral and the Port’Arsa gate. This grandiose building was erected by Hadrian, and later expanded by Caracalla. It is a testimony of the presence of different Hellenic tendencies, in opposition to the previous arch of Traiano. 

I hope that you’ll enjoy the following pictures and maybe, who knows, they will arise an interest to visit this less-known city but still a place to go. Leaving Benevento I ended up in Montesarchio, at the right time of the day, before sunset when the sun is low and shades play hide-and-seek with the warm light. Montesarchio is the site of ancient Caudium, an ancient city of Apulia et Calabria, situated on the road from Beneventum, modern Benevento, to Capua. It seems probable that it was a place of importance in early times and the capital or chief city of the tribe called the Caudini. It is first mentioned during the Second Samnite War, 321 BC, when the Samnite army under Gaius Pontius encamped there, previous to the great disaster of the Romans in the neighbouring pass known as the Caudine Forks and again, a few years later, as the headquarters occupied by the Samnites, with a view of being at hand to watch the movements of the Campanians. 

Too many words. Time to enjoy the pictures