Campania - Places to Visit - Benevento
Benevento stands 135 m. above sea level in a vast hollow in the Samnite hills, near the confluence of the Sabato and Calore rivers.
This ancient Samnite town was the scene of the Roman victory (275 BC.) over Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, and the Romans changed its name from Maleventum to Beneventum (Lat. bene-good).
A few years later it was a Roman colony and the town, lying at the crossroads of important consular ways, grew rapidly in size. The Goths and Byzantines fought over it after the fall of the Empire, but (in 571) it was seized by the Lombards, who made it capital of an important duchy.
Under Arechi II, who gave himself a princely title, Benevento reached its greatest splendour. In 839, the principality was split with the creation of that of Salerno.
At the beginning of the 11th century, after the death of the last prince, Landolfo V, the Church and the Normans struggled for possession of the town which, together with a small part of the surrounding territory, became part of the Papal States in 1077 and remained under Papal rule until the unification of Italy in 1860.
Its monuments include: Trajan's Arch (114 AD.), one of the best conserved Roman triumphal arches, the Roman theatre (2nd century AD.), Duomo (of medieval origin, 13th century faade), S. Sofia church (8th century, coeval frescoes), and adjacent cloisters (12th century), Rocca dei Rettori (14th century).
The economy of Benevento, chief town of a depressed province, is still partly based on agriculture, animal husbandry and related activities.
The industrial sector consists of food (liqueurs, cakes), engineering, construction materials, wood and leather processing.
Events: Festa della Madonna delle Grazie (2-6 July), Opera and theatre season (in the Roman theatre), Rassegna Citt-spettacolo (September).
Famous People: Filippo Raguzzini (architect, c. 1680-1771), Emanuele Caggiano (sculptor, 1837-1905), Clemente Romano (surgeon, 1847-1927), Angelo Catone (doctor and philosopher, 1440-1496), San Gennaro (3rd-4th centuries, bishop and patron saint of Naples).
Cultural Institutions: State Archives, Catholic University Cultural Centre, Vittorio Emanuele Theatre, Museo del Sannio (archeological, medieval and modern art, numismatics, history sections, art gallery), Art school.
In the Province: Guardia Sanframondi (Procession of the Flagellants every seven years), Telese (spa, remains of Roman city, Telesia), Sant'Agata dei Goti (Holy Week Procession).