Avellino - 12th Century Cathedral
A trip to Avellino Province is a journey into nature and into the history of Irpinia. This charming zone welcomes the visitor with its gorgeous landscape and intriguing cultural heritage. Its incredibly-beautiful natural endowments inspired the name "Green Irpinia."
An exploration of the zone is an experience that forever remains imprinted in one's memory.
Mountains, vast plains, reserves, lakes and rivers make this province the perfect destination for those who love nature and who desire a vacation marked by thorough relaxation, among mountains and springs, fresh air and great food, all year-round.
Irpinia is best discovered gradually, on a journey through the wilderness that whispers of ancient times, when this land was inhabited by Samnites, Romans and Longobards.
Ancient villages are nestled in the green of the valleys that begin at the feet of the Partenio and Terminio Mountains, covered by beech, fir, oak and chestnut.
In addition to the archaeological sites, massive castles recall not only wars and plundering, sieges and battles, but also celebrations and elegant courts. In the valleys, vineyards and olive groves are the origins of high-quality wine and oil production.
It is clear that the entirety of the terrain boasts of how man and nature have learned to live in harmony here from the early ages.
Avellino, the Provincial Capital, has maintained its quaint old village appearance (despite the earthquakes of 1910 and 1980), with its narrow streets along which one finds the Clock Tower, the Cathedral and the Castle, the symbols of the city.
On the Partenio Mountain is the Montevergine Sanctuary, which can be reached by walking up a road that is worth the effort for the rewarding views. As the hike continues, the panorama opens onto the entire valley and, on sunny days, all the way to the sea.
The Basilica is made up of two components: that modern, built in the second half of the 1900s and protecting the grand Table of Santa Maria di Montevergine; and that older, with a beautiful altar, finely adorned with mother of pearl and gems.
As one continues this excursion, the view over the basin widens and reaches to the coast on clear days.
Nearby, in Mercogliano’s Palazzo Abbaziale di Loreto are historic and religious documents - some of which date back to the first century - and over 300 majolica vases from the ancient apothecary.
The Medieval period is narrated by the primary castles that overlook the provincial villages, defense structures that, in some cases, were transformed into residences during the Renaissance.
Among them are Montemiletto’s Castle of the Leonessa, one of the best-preserved of the Avellino area, Lauro’s Lancellotti Castle, completely restored in the second half of the 19th Century, and Ariano Irpino’s Castle, which dominates the town from a strategic, almost inaccessible position.
Visiting these castles, either intact or in ruins, restored or abandoned, is also an opportunity to combine pleasant strolls through the streets with the discovery of the local cuisine.
This is an ancient, generous and unpredictable land that conceals countless itineraries to make for easy yet intriguing exploration.
Trekking, hiking and mountain biking are great ways to explore the enchanted places scattered throughout the Apennine Range; be sure to experience a local trattoria, where the cuisine reflects longstanding and beloved traditions. Near Bagnoli Irpino lies the gorgeous Lake Laceno, nestled amidst beech- and conifer-covered mountains, a popular summer destination for those seeking a holiday in the quiet of a pristine environment. A highly recommended itinerary is the Fiumara di Tannera, a series of crystal-clear streams and waterfalls.
Cervialto, Raiamagra, Cervarolo, Montagna Grande and Piscacca are peaks with extraordinary views, ideal for photography enthusiasts; as an alternative, one can seek out natural treasures hidden inside the dense woods, such as highly sought-after mushrooms and black truffles.
This area bewitches in both summer and winter, when a white blanket covers the entire area and thus turns Laceno into a popular ski resort, equipped with modern lifts and excellent facilities. These mountains offer many opportunities for alpine and cross-country skiing, as well as ice-climbing.
Speleologists should visit the Grotta del Caliendo, an underground world made of infinite shades of color that reflect on this long, silent corridor, in a place that provides unforgettable sensations and emotions.
The keyword during the time of Carnevale in this area is "fun!" Every town, from Montemarano to Taurano, from Avellino to Castelvetere sul Calore, is infused with the magic of costumes and colors, all in a vivacious atmospere and amidst the wild rhythms of music and dance.
Irpinian cuisine is characterized by the fertility of the land and its people's devotion.
The relationship between man and the land has allowed the Province of Avellino to make products high in quality. The distance from the sea, whose flavors are the trademark of the regional cuisine, is balanced by the quality of the meat, especially of sheep and pork. Some examples are capocollo, soppressata, pancetta and the fiocco di prosciutto.
Cheese production is also remarkable, thanks to the milk obtained from the Laticauda and Bagnolese sheep breeds: Pecorino Carmasciano (still prepared traditionally), Pecorino Bagnolese (with its slightly piccante aftertaste), Ricotta Laticauda (fresh and light but with a strong milky flavor) are only a few examples of the specialties found in the Avellino area.
To be fully enjoyed, cold-cuts and cheeses need nothing more than a slice of the Irpinian bread, still made in traditional fashion, to confer to the breads of Calitri, Iurmano and Montecalvo their unique shape, smell and taste.
Peperone Quagliettano, cipolla ramata and Montoro’s artichoke, and Volturara Irpina beans are some of the best examples of the characteristic products of this land, flavors that delight the taste buds when eating bean soup with friselle, a ciambottella, or the Santa Lucia cicci.
As far as desserts are concerned, the area is famous for its torrone, made with the local hazelnuts or chestnuts. The crumbly spantorrone is wrapped in sponge cake dipped in rum and Strega liqueur.
The excellent Extra-Virgin Olive Oil is the main ingredient in just about any local dish, and three excellent wines can be found in abundance: the Taurasi, with an intense smell but smooth flavor; Greco di Tufo, fruity with a slight almond aftertaste; and the Fiano di Avellino, protected and guaranteed by the DOCG label.
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