The 10 most beautiful villages in the province of Avellino
The province of Avellino has within it a wealth of villages rich in history and traditions. But that’s not all: Irpinia in general is a land rich in uncontaminated Nature, where Man has managed to find and preserve a symbiotic way to live in respect of the environment, allowing each place to keep inside areas rich in greenery and wild animals.
In this article we present ten of these villages in the province of Avellino that deserve to be seen at least once in a lifetime, some of which are also elected among the “Borghi più belli d’Italia“. It should be emphasized, however, before leaving, that choosing only ten was an injustice, because each of the 118 towns of the province deserves to be seen and experienced to savor all aspects.
Avella, the town of hazelnuts
Situated at 207 meters above sea level in a valley at the foot of the Partenio Mountains, among which Montevergine stands out, Avella has a natural characteristic that has made its name known all over the world: the hazelnut. Suffice it to say that this fruit, in scientific terminology is called nux avellana. A village characterized by a millennial history and the presence of many places to visit.
• San Michele Castle: ancient stronghold of Longobard origin. Dedicated to the archangel Michael. Consisting of a cylindrical tower is surrounded by two walls: one Lombard and one Norman.
• Roman Amphitheatre: situated south-east of the town, it was built where once there were already some structures of Samnite age. It still preserves intact parts of the construction and it is among the most famous Roman buildings in the area. The area also represents the first nucleus of the Archaeological Park of ancient Abella.
• Necropolis: many have been the findings that testify ancient burial places in antiquity. One of the most characteristic is that of S. Nazzaro, where the findings testify to how the place was used as a cemetery by wealthy and well-to-do families.
• Church of Saints Martyrs Nazario and Celso: ancient little church already existing in 1087. At the center is still visible the figure of the Madonna with the child in her arms, between Saints Peter and John the Baptist.
To taste: Tagliatelle with walnut sauce, pecoranesca beans, roast lamb, stufarola, hazelnut nougat, crispy, castle wine, nocino, apple cider.
Caposele, among water, history and saints
The characteristic village of Caposele is located at the foot of Monti Picentini, at an altitude of 405 meters above sea level. The main features that have made this village one of the most famous of Irpinia are two: the sanctuary of San Gerardo and the springs of the river Sele.
What to see:
• Sanctuary of San Gerardo: ancient place of worship located in the hamlet of Materdomini, seat of the Redemptorist convent where, on October 16, 1755, Gerardo Maiella died, buried there and proclaimed a saint in 1904. The church of Mater Domini, in 1930, was elevated to the rank of minor basilica by Pope Pius XI.
• Sorgenti del Sele (Springs of the Sele River): here you can admire the force of Nature that frees from the bowels of the earth the most precious good: water. Here the Sele river is born and from here, through the capture of water, one of the most important engineering works in Italy was built: the Apulian Aqueduct. Who will visit these places will see locks of 1909 still working and the generating force of 4000 l/s of today’s flow of the sources.
• River Park: starting from the locality Tredogge, until you reach the source S. Lucia, you will be immersed in the pristine nature of these areas, along trails, being able to observe the local fauna surrounded by the natural beauty of the oasis.
• Leonardo Museum: inside the dedicated space it is possible to admire, reproduced in scale, the machines that the genius of Vinci designed during his life, following a path to the discovery of the four elements: Water, Earth, Fire and Air. The permanent exhibition has been designed and realized thanks to the consultancy of the Laboratory of Set Design of PUSA University.
To taste: Matasse di Caposele with chickpeas, Muffletto bread, amaretto biscuit.
What you can do with us: THE WAY OF THE 7 FOUNTAINS
A suggestive trekking in the uncontaminated nature, to discover the history and the legends linked to the seven fountains of Caposele. You will walk, meeting the fountains, up to the highest viewpoint of Lagarelli (1260m), you will discover unusual places of rare beauty, descending you will arrive at the viewpoint on Caposele Materdomini, accompanied by friendly hiking professionals.
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Gesualdo, the city of the prince of the musicians
Situated at 676 m.s.l.m., the town of Gesualdo preserves a very long history. Territory frequented since prehistoric times, owes its celebrity mainly to the musician and madrigalist Carlo Gesualdo, who lived here his last years of life, transforming the small village in a cultural center of the first order.
What to see:
• Castello: Castle: among the most beautiful and important monuments of the whole Campania, the structure was built in the Lombard era as a defensive outpost. After the marriage between Carlo Gesualdo and Eleonora d’Este in ‘500, it was transformed into a stately home in Renaissance style.
• Church of the S.S. Rosario and Dominican convent: building whose project and foundations were made by Prince Charles Gesualdo, then finished by Nicolò Ludovisi in the first half of the seventeenth century. In addition to the artistic aspect, of considerable interest, must be remembered an event that is celebrated every last Sunday in August: the traditional “Flight of the Angel”.
• Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie and Convent of the Capuchins: this building was also built by the will of Prince Gesualdo, in 1592. Of high artistic value is the painting here preserved by the name “The forgiveness of Carlo Gesualdo”, attributed to the artist Giovanni Balducci.
To taste: Fusilli e cauzun’ (Fusilli and ravioli with ricotta cheese), Laghene e fasule (Tagliatelle or lagane and beans), Cecarocquele e vruoccole (Cavatelli and broccoli), Pizza Jonna (cornmeal pie), Menestra Ammaretata (Vegetables with pieces of meat), Paparott co li paparul sicc (Polenta and peppers).
What you can do with us: DISCOVERING GESUALDO AND PATERNOPOLI
Discover the village of the madrigalist Carlo Gesualdo and the rural village of Paternopoli. A journey through narrow streets, stately palaces and castles. A coffee with the people of the place, fertile lands of extraordinary excellence. You will taste characteristic DOCG wines and delicious gastronomic products, accompanied by nice tourist professionals.
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Monteverde, the village of the uncontaminated nature
The municipality of Monteverde, located at 740 m.s.l., has been included in the circuit of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Natural oasis of great natural interest, since 2010 is also the nesting site of the rare black stork.
• The castle: built by the Lombards, was enlarged in the fifteenth century by the Aragonese and transformed into a stately home in 1744 by Barons Sangermano.
• Former Cathedral of Santa Maria di Nazareth: came to us with the Baroque renovations of 1728, its first plant is dated to the fourteenth century. It preserves inside paintings of Neapolitan school of the seventeenth century.
• Mezzana Forest: situated at the north-western limits of Irpinia. It doesn’t present human activities to its inside so that, in its 456 hectares, you can admire an uncontaminated Nature, rich of flora and fauna and of remarkable interest for scholars and fans.
To Taste: Ravioli, orecchiette, cavatelli, lasagna, vegetables, legumes, sausages, local cheeses, Aglianico and Sangiovese wine.
Nusco, the balcony of Irpinia
Located between the valleys of Ofanto and Calore, Nusco is part of the circuit of the most beautiful villages in Italy and from its 914 meters of altitude, offers one of the most beautiful views of the province.
• Cathedral of Nusco: the present facade and the bell tower are dated 1512. The interior, with three naves, has undergone various readaptations. Dedicated to Sant’Amato, first bishop of Nusco, it preserves his mortal remains. Recently discovered a crypt with representations of the nativity that represent a unicum in Irpinia.
• Castle: of Lombard age, here William, the last duke of Apulia, found refuge. Today the interior of the structure is the subject of archaeological excavations.
• Abbey of Santa Maria di Fontigliano: the church dates back at least to the sixth century AD. The original structure has been destroyed and modified several times. It was the seat of the Benedictines and restored in 1842 with a mullioned window in Gothic style on the facade.
To taste: Soup of beans and chestnuts, maltagliati alla napoletana, pork rind rolls, pizza chiena, gattò di patate, castagnaccio.
Rocca san Felice, the village of the Middle Ages
The village of Rocca is one of the most famous and characteristic of the province of Avellino. Set in the rock to 750 m.s.l.m., it preserves a medieval urban plan, with natural characteristics, present in its territory, unique in the world.
• Castle: located at the top of the village. Its construction dominates the surrounding valleys. Built in the Longobard period, it preserves inside the traces of the ancient houses of artisans and soldiers, as well as the Donjon and the defensive structures.
• Mephitis and archaeological area: one of the most amazing places in the world. The Ansanto Valley, already known at the time of Virgil, who here placed the gates of the Underworld, is an area of considerable geological and natural interest. Site of sulphurous gas production, it is the largest non-volcanic carbon dioxide production area in the world. Around were many archaeological findings, some of which can be admired in the Civic Museum.
• Church of Santa Maria Maggiore: probably born together with the town around the XI century, inside you can admire valuable works of art.
To taste: Cravaiuoli (ravioli with Carmasciano ricotta cheese), handmade cicaluccoli, barbecued Carmasciano lamb, ricotta cheese pizza with chocolate flakes.
What you can do with us: THE MYSTERY OF ROCCA, THE MAGIC OF MESPHITE AND THE Abbey OF GOLETO
Discover the mysterious Mephitis, at the gates of Hell, among archaic characters, mystical legends and ancient stories. Walk in the magic of the enchanted Rocca and among the beauties of a millenary Abbey. You will taste the legendary pecorino cheese Carmasciano and the delicacies of a generous land, together with local producers. An unforgettable adventure in a unique place in the world, accompanied by friendly tourist professionals.
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Savignano Irpino, the town of transhumance
Situated between the hills Tombola and Calvario, on the border between Puglia and Campania, at 718 meters above sea level, Savignano Irpino is part of the club of the most beautiful villages in Italy. The inhabited center takes the shape of a horse saddle, with a position that allows it to dominate the Cervaro Valley. The first archaeological attestations tell us that already in the Palaeolithic period the area was frequented by human beings.
• Guevara Castle: built in the Norman era, it is part of the defensive system that surrounded the whole town. Today, inside, there is a conference center.
• Mother Church of San Nicola: dating back to the fourteenth century, it has a nave and two aisles interior with stone columns. The baptistery has a portal dated 1514. The style of the facade is neoclassical, divided into three sections surmounted by rose windows.
• Osini Palace: Built at the behest of Pope Benedict XIII, born Pietro Francesco Orsini, in 1727. Today it is the seat of the Town Hall.
• Plateau of Ferrara: locality placed to 7 km from the inhabited center, it is an important archaeological site with recoveries that are attested to the neolithic one, to the Roman epoch and medieval.
To taste: Handmade Orecchiette, anchovies mbuttunate, sardines and potatoes.
Summonte, the town immersed in the woods
The town is located within the Regional Park of Partenio, 750 m.s.l.m. and is part of the circuit of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Surrounded by luxuriant nature, Summonte preserves the signs of a history that has covered the centuries in this area of the province of Avellino.
• Castle: the first news date it around 1094. Military fortification of first plan in the zone, preserve to its inside the famous Tower Angioina, an archaeological area and the amphitheater.
• Church of San Nicola di Bari: the current plant is dated to the seventeenth century. Of baroque style, has an interior with three naves, divided by arches with Ionic capitals. The high altar dates back to 1717. Many are the artistic details present inside. Adjacent to the church there is also the bell tower and the Congrega del SS. Rosario.
• Historical center: characterized by the medieval village, has had numerous interventions of restoration, is characterized by the presence of numerous architectural elements of interest.
To taste: Caciocavallo podolico, mortarella hazelnut, millefiori honey, acacia honey, copeta (nougat), fennel liqueur, black truffle of Partenio, chestnuts, porcini mushrooms.
What you can do with us: DISCOVERING SUMMONTE: ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VILLAGES OF ITALY
Discover the small village of Summonte, one of “The most beautiful villages in Italy, nestled in the protected natural area of the Regional Park of Partenio. An evocative trekking in the mountain paths among rocky churches, fantastic stories, shelters and breathtaking views, the enogastromic experience in the restaurant of the village, to taste the traditional dishes and the spectacular Angevin Tower with a view of Irpinia, accompanied by nice tourist professions.
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Trevico, the roof of Irpinia
The name of “roof” of Irpinia doesn’t make actually total justice considering that Trevico is the highest commune of the whole Campania, the only one, besides, with the communal center placed over 1000 meters. The village is placed at 1090 m.s.l.m. and it is the most ancient village of Baronia.
• Castle: Already existing in Norman times, fell into disrepair after the sixteenth century. Today there are only a few curtain walls and the remains of a tower in Aragonese style.
• Palazzo Scola: here the director Ettore Scola was born on May 10, 1931. Donated by the same family to the Municipality in 2003, it preserves many original architectural elements.
• Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta: built between the V and VI century with a Greek cross plan. It was deeply modified in the XI century, when Trevico became an Episcopal seat. Modernized at the end of the nineteenth century, it was declared a national monument and houses the relics of Sant’Euplio and the martyr Santa Rosalia.
To taste: Ciambotta (vegetable soup), lagane and beans, pasta and chickling peas, flour and cooked wine, corn pizza with pork fat, cacchiarielli (corn focaccia with pepper, grated cheese and vegetables), salt cod with pickled peppers, onions in the fire, mugliatielli, panzerotti, pizza chiena (ricotta cheese tart), castagnaccio, susamielli, strufoli, walnut liqueur.
Zungoli, the Orange Flag of Irpinia
The only center of the province of Avellino, for the moment, to have the Orange Flag of the Italian Touring Club, Zungoli is also part of the European Association of Vie Francigene and of the circuit of the most beautiful villages of Italy. Situated at 657 m.s.l.m., the center is crossed by the tratturo Pescasseroli-Candela, ancient way of transhumance.
• Castle: Probably built around the eleventh century as a defense against Byzantine incursions, it was originally equipped with four cylindrical towers placed on the sides of the structure. Today, after many modifications, it is the residence of the marquises Susanna di Sant’Eligio.
• Convent of San Francesco: Located where once stood the church of San Cataldo, the convent of the Friars Minor Reformed, was built around ‘500. Articulated on two levels, of the previous structure are preserved the entrance with a fresco representing the Virgin of Mount Carmel and some frescoes of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
• Historical center: inside there are many elegant buildings and churches that make up one of the most characteristic villages of the province.
To taste: Caciomolara.
What you can do with us: DISCOVERING ZUNGOLI, ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VILLAGES OF ITALY
Discover the charming village of Zungoli “Orange Flag” of the Touring Club and one of “The most beautiful villages in Italy, a crossroads of the ancient Roman roads Appia and Traiana. Among romantic alleys, breathtaking views and ancient traditions, you will know the art of ceramics Irpinia, meet the locals and taste the excellent local food and wine, accompanied by friendly tourist professionals.
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