Ceppaloni

In the enchanting medieval village

Location

The town of Ceppaloni stands on a predominantly hilly area located between the Sabato valley to the east and the Serretelle torrent valley to the west. The landscape is dominated by uncultivated land with oak and chestnut forests. The entire medieval village rises around the Castle, located in the highest part of the town. It collects the past and the identity of the community, also becoming a source of pride for the citizens. Ceppaloni, given its extension, has wonderful historic centers both in the individual hamlets and in the small villages. The oldest is certainly the historic center of Barba which dominates the Sabato river valley and which, according to legend, was a place of perdition for witches: the Ianare.



Not to be missed

The entire medieval village gravitates around the Norman Castle, which is located in the highest part of the town. Ceppaloni, fortunately, has beautiful historic centres, both in the individual hamlets and in the small villages. The oldest is certainly the historic center of Barba (ancient BALBA or later VALVA i.e. the shell of the shell that opens, like the strait of BARBA). Barba, an ancient strategic centre, dominates the Sabato river valley. According to legend, the witches’ rites called “SABBA” or place of perdition took place right in the Strait of Barba.

In addition to the castle with its medieval village, Ceppaloni preserves various historic buildings, in particular the churches: S. Nicola Vescovo (13th-16th century), SS. Annunziata (16th century) in the capital Ceppaloni, S. Giovanni Battista (medieval, rebuilt in the 18th century) in the hamlet. S. Giovanni, Maria SS. Del Rosario (17th century, rebuilt in the 18th and 19th centuries) in the hamlet. Beltiglio, Maria SS. Assunta (1950) in S. Croce and the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception in Barba (c.1861).

A bit of history

The first historical information on Ceppaloni dates back to the end of the 8th century. During the Lombard period it depended on the gastaldato of Benevento. The presence in medieval times of various monastic churches belonging to the Abbey of Santa Sofia and the Abbey of San Modesto of Benevento (9th-14th century) is significant.

The toponym Ceppaloni is of uncertain origin. Among the most accredited hypotheses: Cepalonis derives from the noble Latin Caeparius and from the predial suffix -anus, from which Caeparanus (bottom of Caeparius) or from Cippus leonis, i.e. “cippo del lion”, where cippo is in the meaning of high ground, mountain or stone, column.

The Ceppalonise territory includes, in addition to Ceppaloni the capital with its medieval village dominated by the 11th century Norman castle, the farmhouses, now hamlets, which also haveorigine medievale: Barba (l’antica Balba o Valva ove tra il XII e il XV secolo there was a castle), Santa Croce, San Giovanni and Beltiglio (once San Bartolomeo, then Chianche).

Ceppaloni with its castle was in a strategic position bordering the pontifical Benevento and controlling the underlying Via Antiqua Maiore which led from Benevento to Avellino, through the nearby Strait of Barba. For this reason it was involved several times in the wars between the papacy and the empire and then between the Angevins and the Aragonese. It hosted famous people: Roger II, Pope Honorius II and Alfonso V of Aragon, the King of Naples

It was a feudal possession first of the Frainetas and then of the Bussones in the 12th century. In two periods, at the beginning of the thirteenth century, it was occupied by the papal troops of Benevento. It was then reconquered with violence by Frederick II. Under the Angevins it was granted as a fief to various French soldiers. It was then owned by the Stellato family (13th-14th century), the Della Marra family (15th-16th century), the D’Avalos family (16th century), the Coscia family (16th-17th century) and finally the de Lagonissa or della Leonessa family (from 1633 to 1806).

Families belonging to the nobility and local notables were, in the mid-16th century: Cacaro, Civita, Cutillo, de Juliis, de Dionisio, de Tocco, de Rubbo, Ferraguto, Margiotta, Russo (Rubeo), Santo Gemma, Stellato; from the century XVII to the century. XIX: Stellato, Sellitto, Iannotti, Venaglia (extinct in the Zerella family).

According to legend, the witches’ rites called “SABBA” or place of perdition took place right in the Strait of Barba. Witches, according to tradition, were women related to the devil. Their homeland of choice is Benevento and, apparently and still today, the human capacity to believe in magic and the devil has never been fully concluded. The sacrilegious witches exercised dominion over man thanks to their relationships with the devil (or pseudo devils). And right in the Strait of Barba, in the shade of centuries-old walnut trees, the most daring witches, smeared with magical ointment, composed of donkey’s milk and wolf meat, flirted with devils or with Satan himself, and then bivouacked and dance wildly until the light of dawn. In Sannio the witches were called “IANARE”. The sacrilegious tree was destroyed by San Barbato, bishop of Benevento. According to some scholars, the “WITCHES’ SABBA” of Sannio derives from the cult of the Egyptian ISIS, goddess of the moon and magic, healer of the SUN God.

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Under the Strait of BARBA passed the “via antique maiore” which from Benevento reached Avellino and then Salerno. Documents from the 10th and 11th centuries, cited by the historian Scandone, demonstrate the importance of this road, which connected the Appia (Regina viarum) with the “Capua o Brutium” road.Under the Strait of BARBA passed the “via antique maiore” which from Benevento reached Avellino and then Salerno. Documents from the 10th and 11th centuries, cited by the historian Scandone, demonstrate the importance of this road, which connected the Appia (Regina viarum) with the “Capua o Brutium” road.

BARBA was the birthplace of Father Innocenzo Polcari, a distinguished Jesuit, great poet and Latinist, who loved his native land very much and to which he dedicated many poems.

Symbols

The coat of arms and the banner were granted with the Presidential Decree of 5 November 1981. The municipal coat of arms depicts a mountain of three Italian-style silver peaks, narrowed, surmounted by a five-rayed gold star. The banner is a white cloth.

Curiosity

The most important festival is Tartufo al Borgo, an artistic-gastronomic event organized by the municipality of Ceppaloni. The event puts its spotlight on the most sought after and appreciated product: the prized white truffle. The “Tartufo al Borgo” program in Ceppaloni reveals itself as a magnificent food and wine journey, an authentic celebration of the truffle, the jewel of Italian cuisine. This event transforms the medieval village into a lively culinary epicentre, offering guests an unforgettable experience. All of this is often accompanied by conferences that offer a cultural and ecological perspective, integrating gastronomy with environmental and territorial issues. The “Path of Taste, however, invites the visitor on a sensorial journey to explore new taste combinations. Everything is accompanied by a festive atmosphere created by the traveling music through the streets of the village. Another very interesting program is the experience of truffle hunting and extraction which puts participants in direct contact with nature.

The typical dishes linked to the ancient tradition, therefore, are: Eggs with truffle and parmesan with white truffle: pork fillet with white truffle, trout with white truffle, crostini with cooked ham and truffle and polenta and fried cheese with truffle.