Campolattaro

A village overlooking the WWF oasis

Location

Nestled in a clear and open landscape made up of cultivated fields, Campolattaro is located north of Mount Sauco and hides itself with its historic center on the sides of a hill that slopes steeply toward the Tammaro.
A reservoir known as the Campolattaro Dam has been carved out of part of the municipal territory. The maximum annual accumulation of water, provided by the project, is 1090000 m³.
Local culture is still alive in this place, which finds its highest expression in the preservation of peasant and religious traditions, combined with a history rich in events and dominations.

proverbi e modi di dire

– R’occhi metene (Gli occhi mietono)
– Ce stanno chiù jorni che sausicchie (Ci sono più giorni che salsicce)
– Cu le dà e le tè l’amicizia se mantè, cu le tè e senza dà l’amicizia se ne và (Con il dare e il tenere l’amicizia si mantiene, con il tenere e senza dare l’amicizia passa)



Not be missed

The walk through the historic center still retains its ancient medieval urban layout despite having been the target of numerous natural catastrophic events over the centuries.
Here we find the church of St. Sebastian, patron saint of the town, which was severely damaged in the 1962 earthquake. In it is preserved a valuable 19th-century marble painting depicting Our Lady of Mercy. Continuing along Via Bebiana, we can access the main square dedicated to Urbano de Agostini, a politician of the second half of the 19th century who was mayor of the town and endeavored to give a modern imprint to the small rural center by establishing, among other things, an agricultural credit bank. The square is dominated by the castle (palazzo De Agostini), probably built between the 10th and 11th centuries. In 1861 the palace was sacked and devastated by the townspeople who, led by some brigands, rose up against the lords of the time and stole, among other things, the Tabula Alimentaria.
The castle is presented as a complex architected in such a way that toward the valley, to the south, with the façade of the turrets, it takes on a severe and defensive appearance, while toward the village, to the north, with the barbican façade, it takes on a more hospitable appearance. The castle that dominates the center of the town is surrounded by a medieval village and is built on a rectangular plan of 350 sq. m. around a central courtyard

The WWF Oasis of Campolattaro Lake is located within a Special Area of Conservation (SAC – IT8020001) in the municipalities of Campolattaro and Morcone (BN). It is also a Special Protection Area (SPA IT8020015). The aera covers about 1,000 hectares and is located at the alluvial valley of the Tammaro River.It is a WWF oasis – managed in agreement with the Province of Benevento – with an area of about 1,000 hectares. It is an environmental emergency of considerable interest that surrounds the artificial reservoir formed following the damming of the Tammaro by the Campolattaro dam. At the heart of the Oasis we find hygrophilous forest, reedbed and marshy areas. All around are mixed forests of turkey oaks and downy oaks with the presence of various maples, manna ash, rowan and hornbeam, mid-hill meadow environments, olive groves and non-intensively cultivated fields with natural hedges formed by hawthorn, blackthorn, priest’s cap, privet and elm. The hygrophilous forest consists mainly of willows, poplars and alders, and the marshy areas are colonized by marsh reed and tife. In the meadows, among the expanses of gorse, the blooms of daffodils, violets, daisies and several species of orchids including Ophrys apifera, Ophrys fuciflora and Serapiasvomeracea stand out. The avifauna is very rich: for example, great crested grebe, night heron, little egret, little grebe, bee-eater, and grey shrike nest here; grey herons are present all year round while hundreds of cormorants and woodpigeons winter here. During migration periods, marsh harrier, cuckoo hawk, hen harrier, blackbird and white stork are observed. There is no shortage of ducks (teal, mallards, morigl17-Nov-2010 9:46ne, nocturnal raptors, hoopoes, golden orioles, titmice, woodpeckers, swallows and finches. Mammals present are the fox, badger, skunk, marten, weasel, hare, dormouse, dormouse, hedgehog, mole, and some bat species (rhinolophus major, vespertilus major). Noteworthy among reptiles: the cervon, coluber, great snapper, lizard, and, among amphibians, the yellow-bellied toad and crested newt. The Oasis can be visited throughout the year, just make reservations at your local WWF office.

A bit of history

It seems that the earliest toponym with which it is identified is “Campugattari,” which plausibly derives from “Walthario’s Field,” a person’s name frequently used among the Lombards. The ancient naming and the transformation of the name over the centuries, according to other scholars, is related to pastures for herds and milk production. The earliest written evidence of the existence of this settlement dates back to the 12th century, although archaeological finds from the Samnite period first and then the Roman period confirm, without a shadow of a doubt, the presence of man in associative forms as early as the 5th-4th centuries BC. The settlement of the Apuan Ligurians deported in 180 B.C. to the areas of Upper Tammaro by the consuls Bebius and Cornelius certainly affected Campolattaro as well, as evidenced by the apotropaic signs of the sun and moon carved on the portals of the ancient dwellings, elements that recall similar motifs found in the areas of Versilia and Val di Magra as evidence of an indisputable common strain. In 867 Campolattaro was devastated by the Saracens as was the entire Benevento territory. In 1138, during Norman rule, it was destroyed, however, by King Roger, who-according to the story-punished the inhabitants for jubilantly welcoming the news of his death, which later turned out to be unfounded. Beginning in the 1500s there were furious struggles between its inhabitants and those of the nearby town of Fragneto l’Abate for possession of the fief of Botticella. In 1656 a terrible pestilence caused the death of about 500 people, halting the social development of the town, which suffered further mourning and misery a little more than a century later, in 1764, because of the famine that devastated the whole of southern Italy. Slow but gradual recovery in the following years until the cholera of 1837 that again sowed death and despair. In memory of that event remains a cross placed by pitiful hands in the field known as “del Focale” where a cemetery was set up to accommodate the 100 or so victims of the epidemic. The millennial consistency of this town shines through from the castle still inhabited today, the ancient tower and the historic center severely damaged by the 1962 earthquake. Linked to this small fortress is the history of ancient and terrible feudal lords such as the De Adenulfo, the Monforte, the Di Capua, and the Blanch, masters and lords of this ancient agricultural village until the end of feudal rule. As a reminder of the ancient medieval civilization there remain two gateways to the village, the fondachi, surviving alleys, stones and portals. Concealed in secluded alleys or visible in the architecture of the main square these testimonies remind visitors of their ancient origin, the result of skilled craftsmanship handed down from generation to generation to the present day.

After many vicissitudes, the village, which until then had belonged to the Pontelandolfo District of the province of Molise, was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy and in 1861 passed to the newly created province of Benevento, following an administrative path shared with almost all the other municipalities of today’s Mountain Community. The town, despite its troubled history, resumed development in the second half of the 1800s. The first half of the 20th century was, however, again a period of suffering: hundreds were the campolattaresi forced to leave in the hope of a better future, and great was the tribute of blood offered during the two world wars.

Curiosity

The religious tradition is deeply felt in this municipality and is manifested in festivals and celebrations especially during the summer period. In the last week of August, for example, the martyrdom of Saints Placid and Benedict is dramatized. The dramatization is traced back to an anonymous manuscript from the 18th century.

The penultimate Saturday in August is the festival of “Cicategli e Sausicchia” (cavatelli and sausage). Cavatelli is a typical handmade pasta of the area that owes its name to the shape it takes during processing. Cavatelli are then served with a tomato and sausage ragout, which is another typical product of the area.
On September 15 there is a procession of the Madonna del Canale, whose statue was donated by Cardinal Orsini, archbishop of Benevento (later to be Pope Benedict XIII), during a pastoral visit.