Paternopoli – The country of the “Fathers” and of the Carnival
Placed among the hills of central Irpinia, in the middle valley of the river Calore, Paternopoli is a characteristic village in the province of Avellino, positioned at only 28 km from the chief town.
Its territory has an extension of 18.43 square kilometers, the number of its inhabitants exceeds 1300 units and its height above sea level is 501 meters.
The patron of the town is Saint Nicholas, who is celebrated on December 6th.
A bit of history
Paternopoli, that is “the city of the Father”, has a millenary history: some sources would like the human presence to be dated back to the VIII century B.C.. Colonized by the Sabines, the settlement was then destroyed by the Romans in the third century BC, who began to fortify their presence with a fortified center expanding until the fourth century AD.
The territory, over time, became a refuge for real hermits, called “Pater“, becoming real points of reference for the local people. The hill where they lived was called “Paternum“.
After the collapse of the Roman Empire, here settled the Lombards who, after the conversion, favored the construction of churches and monasteries and began to fortify the “hill of the fathers“, which with the Normans will become the seat of the castle.
During the eighteenth and nineteenth century there was a deep cultural ferment and it was established in Paternopoli an appreciated “School of letters and arts” and many local people contributed to the construction of the unification of Italy.
What to see in Paternopoli
Many are the monuments of remarkable importance present in this Irpinian village. Among the most important ones that can not be missed during a visit in these places there are the many noble palaces, such as De Iorio (now De Conciliis) which was built in the sixteenth century; the Rossi Palace, whose basement has caves dating back to the Middle Ages. The Palazzo Famiglietti, whose foundations were laid in the fourteenth century.
There are many religious buildings in this territory, such as the Mother Church of St. Nicholas, which was built in 1522 on a pre-existing medieval church and in which you can admire ancient works such as the icon of the “Madonna della Consolazione” by Fiorentino and dated between 1587 and 1588 and an icon of St. Nicholas dating back to 1522.
Besides the buildings of remarkable importance are the historical fountains, such as those of “Acquara di Sotto” and “Pescara“.
What to eat in Paternopoli
Among the many typical products of the area, Paternopoli is famous for the “Broccolo Aprilatico” defined as “Slow-Food Presidium“. The cultivation of this vegetable is secular and it takes a long time to ripen, and once harvested it is a delicacy cooked. In Paternopoli it is mainly cooked with sardines, garlic and lemon, but it can also be matched to first courses.
Very common is also the production of Aglianico wine and olive oil.
Festivities and recurrences of Paternopoli
The recurrence and characteristic that make this town famous in the whole province of Avellino is the Carnival of Paternopoli. Thousands of people gather to observe the passage of allegorical wagons realized also by experts of painting and working of materials. Also called the “Viareggio d’Irpinia“, this appointment over the years has meant that the quality of work done is exceptionally high offering two days of celebration unique in their kind and that define the Carnival of Paternopoli as one of the most beautiful in Italy.
Other characteristic of the country is the recurrence of the “Night of Lauro” that is celebrated between Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. In this occasion is in use that the boys, the husbands and the fiancés donate to the respective companions a plant of laurel. Thus, it is possible to see some real artistic creations, often adorned with Easter eggs. After the Night of Laurel, on Easter day, the balconies and the entrances of the houses are filled with these works. There is also a less “romantic” side: always on the same night, in fact, in case one wants to show contempt, elder branches are given as a sign of refusal.
Our activities in Paternopoli
There are many eiTRAVEL proposals to know Irpinia and the best way to live Paternopoli under all its most characteristic aspects is to visit it with our tour “Discovering the villages Gesualdo and Paternopoli“, which will allow you to discover all the characteristics of this place and taste the products that are cultivated in the lands of these places.