Buonalbergo

Tra storia e bellezze naturalistiche

Where’s

Buonalbergo is a small town in the province of Benevento. It rises on the steep side of Mount San Silvestro, near the valley that descends from the hill known as Mount Chiodo into the valley of the Miscano River.


Not to be missed

The historic center, girded by as many as three neighborhoods: Terravecchia (which originated as an administrative center), Casale (religious center) and Santjanni (where commercial activities are concentrated). Prominent among the civil buildings of the historical architectural heritage is the 17th-century Palazzo Spinelli; among the religious buildings is the shrine of the Madonna della Macchia.

The Shrine of Our Lady of the Spot: the sanctuary rises in the midst of nature, in the exact place where, according to a legend, a miracle took place: a mute shepherdess regained her speech at the sight of the statue of the Madonna, hidden there by the Crusaders returning from the Holy Land, exactly in a “bush” of trees (hence the name). It was then erected and dedicated to Our Lady of the Spot, who became the Patroness of Buonalbergo. Inside is preserved a wooden Byzantine statue from the 1100s, depicting the Virgin holding the Child, covered by a mantle that leaves only the heads of both uncovered.

Chianche Bridge: a Roman bridge placed along the Trajan Way that crosses Buonalbergo. Three arches are still visible of the ancient bridge. Today, unfortunately, it is in a partial state of neglect and precariousness, especially since a severe flood in 2015 caused the displacement of numerous stones, carried by the raging torrent.

Monte Chiodo archaeological area: a pre-Roman settlement has been recognized here, identified with the ancient Samnite city of Cluvia, which in the Middle Ages gave way to a fortified settlement called Montegiove.

History

Although its historical origins date back to the Neolithic, there is evidence of the first settlements during the Samnite period. It was the seat, in all probability, of the ancient city of CLUVIA, located at the confluence of natural routes between the lands of the Irpini, Pentri, Caudini and Dauni and became, after the Samnite wars, a Roman colony. Under Emperor Trajan it became an important center for the exchange of agricultural products, when he built the Via Traiana linking Benevento to Brindisi and had its route passed along the territory of Buonalbergo.

It later housed the settlement called LOCUS ALIPERGUS, probably founded around the year 1000 by refugees from some surrounding villages destroyed by barbarians. Administered for a long time by a line of Norman counts loyal to the Swabians, it was destroyed in 1266 with the victory of the Angevins and was partitioned at the behest of the pope. It subsequently fell under the aegis of the Di Tocco family and was then brought as a dowry to Giovanni Spinelli of Salerno (1298). Donated in 1390 by Louis of Anjou to Pietro Macedonio, it was sold in 1414 to the Guevara family, which held it for over a century. In 1515 the king of Naples signed a decree to rebuild the settlement on Mount San Silvestro, where it is currently located. Sold again to the Spinelli family, it passed to the Coscias in 1727. In 1860 it proclaimed, first in the whole province, the provisional government of Irpinia, and afterwards was the first town in the province to raise the tricolor.

Curiosities

The place name, of clear etymology, refers to the village’s characteristic of being a good “hotel” for refugees from nearby villages who moved there in the early Middle Ages. Three round arches remain of the Roman Chianche bridge, with polygonal stone slab paving (“chianche”). Some ruins of an 11th-century Lombard castle, inhabited by the Norman leader Robert Guiscard, are also visible.

Buonalbergo’s gastronomic specialty is the ciammarruchelle, snails, whose production and promotion is strongly supported by the local government through the event Sagra dello Ciammarruchiello.