Campoli del Monte Taburno

The stone village at the gates of the Vitulanese valley


Location

On the extreme edge of the Vitulanese Valley, where Mount Taburno presents its protuberances in limestone boulders, smoothed by water and wind, sloping gently toward the Ierino stream, amidst the green of olive trees and vines and characteristic coppice groves, is located Campoli Monte Taburno, a small town in the province of Benevento. Arranged in the shape of a “T” along the Vitulanese provincial road, the ancient center stands on a spur of rock. With numerous districts scattered on the Taburno foothills and the historic center around the Ariella and the Church of St. Nicholas of Bari.

Not to be missed

The Church of S. Nicola da Mira, dating back to the 17th century, which houses some interesting sacred sculptures, and the Piazzetta Ariella: this is an ancient urban structure that in its toponym of “Little Farmyard” reflects times when it was only a space between farm buildings.

The walk through the characteristic Centro Storico, consisting of a complex of limestone buildings facing narrow, steep streets and stairs, also paved in local stone.

A bit of history

The name may derive from the Latin Campulus, diminutive of Campus (field), or from campora. The specification “of Mount Taburno” is identifying for the area.

From being a small village, it went on to be in the 14th century a hamlet in the state of Vitulano, in the province of Principato Ultra.

The settlement was essentially born after the earthquake of 1456 when the inhabitants of the “Sala” district of Cacciano, then a hamlet of Tocco, joined a hamlet in the locality then called Campora.

The numerous archaeological finds in the valley allow us to state that the Vitulanese Valley was inhabited since prehistoric times.

The story begins with the coming of the Samnites to the Valley. The Samnite people, like all ancient peoples, transplanted in the Sannio, did not fail in their characteristic of a nomadic people devoted to pastoralism. From the 4 main Samnite tribes (Pentra, Caracena, Caudina and Irpina) the Caudina occupied the area of the Taburno massif bounded by the rivers Isclero in the CaudinaValley and the lower reaches of the Calore. The Vitulanese Valley thus came to be in the heart of the Sannio Caudino, in a strategic position of defense against enemy attacks.

Perhaps the largest center was Plistia, which some identify with Tocco Caudio. The Valley, because of its climate and geophysical structure, became the natural home of a people devoted to sheep farming and agriculture.

Although the Valley was cut off from major traffic and trade routes, since the Via Appia and the Via Latina barely skirted it, in the Samnite period it must have had its own particular strategic importance.

Curiosity

Campoli’s bread has the De.C.O. (Denominazione Comunale di Origine), which serves to certify the origin of the products and their historical and cultural link with the municipal territory, as well as an effective promotional tool of the Municipality of Campoli del Monte Taburno. Through the De.C.O. is aimed at: preserving over time products that are identified with customs and are part of local popular culture; protecting history, traditions, cultural heritage and flavors related to the  typical local productions.

Calici di Stelle (August): Event of the Cities of Wine that every year, on the night of San Lorenzo, enlivens the most enchanting places in Italy and during which it is possible to taste wines combined with typical local products.

Sagra del Fagiolo (August): Tasting of typical dishes based on beans and pork, according to the most ancient and genuine local traditions, and of “Aglianico” wine.

Cherry Festival: (June): Tasting of cherries and cherry products.