Avellino in Campania Italy
The town lies 348 m. above sea level in a wide green valley in the Irpinia uplands. An ancient Irpinian centre, it submitted to Rome in 209 AD., becoming a Roman colony and busy agricultural and trading centre. Severely damaged during the war between Goths and Byzantines, it was rebuilt by the Lombards after the fall of the Roman Empire, on its present site only a few kilometres from the original settlement, and grew in importance to become the capital of a County.
Conquered by the Normans at the beginning of the 12th century, it shared the vicissitudes of the Kingdom of Naples, though the fief of various overlords; those who held it for the longest periods of time were the Dell'Aquilas (12th century), the Del Balzos (12th-14th centuries) and the Caracciolo family, whose rule lasted from 1581 to 1806. Avellino became part of Italy in 1860.
Throughout its history, the town has been plagued by terrible earthquakes, the last of which, in November 1980, caused severe damage to the town centre. As a result, there are now few ancient monuments. These are the Duomo, of Romanesque origins, with later additions, the Palazzo della Dogana, medieval, reconstructed in the Seicento, and the 17th century Palazzo Caracciolo. The nearby Montevergine Sanctuary attracts large numbers of visitors.
The economy of the town is still based on agricultural activities and livestock, for which it is a busy marketing centre. In the service sector, public administration offers considerable employment, but industry is still underdeveloped. Small factories produce foods, textiles and furniture.
Events: Concorso della Zeza (masked groups at Carnival time), Concert at the Cimarose Conservatory, in spring.
Famous People: Guido Dorso (expert on southern Italy, 1892-1947), Augusto Guerriero-Ricciardetto (journalist, 1893-1981).
Cultural Institutions: State Archives, Provincial Library, Museo Irpino (archaeological and modern art sections, Museo del Risorgimento), Guido Dorso Research Centre, Cimarose Conservatory.
In the Province: Ariano Irpino (holiday resort, agricultural and industrial centre), Solofra (of environmental interest), Bagnoli Irpino (holiday resort, ski facilities at Piano Laceno), Avella (famous for its hazel nuts, Roman remains), Mercogliano (Museo del Santuario).