Limatola

The medieval castle between attractions and history

Location

The town was born at the foot of a hill dominated by the medieval castle guarding the Volturno river. Limatola is, therefore, surrounded by the Taburno massif, Monte Maggiore and the Tifani Mountains: becoming one of the gateways of the Sannio area towards the metropolitan area of ​​Naples. Its name derives from limata, in Latin limatula, meaning sand or a sandy place. Limatola is made up of four hamlets: Biancano, Limatola, Ave Gratia Plena and Giardoni. The territory is 30% hilly and the remainder flat.

Of ancient origin, numerous finds dating back to the Samnite and Roman ages have been found in the municipal area.



Not to be missed

Limatola, surrounded by greenery between the Volturno river and the Tifatini Mountains, is the ideal destination for those who want to spend a few hours in the open air. The center is also known for the freshness and healthiness of the waters of the fountains. The main fountains are that of Margherita de Tucziaco and that of Biancano, both of which have animal troughs and stone wash houses dating back to the 17th century.

Among the most interesting monuments is the medieval castle. In the walls of the manor which developed around a Lombard tower (10th century), its history can be read perfectly: from the Romanesque period to the Gothic and Renaissance periods. Inside the upper courtyard is the church of San Nicola “intra castrum”, with two naves, which is accessed through a beautiful Romanesque portal.

The small church appears in clear rococo forms and houses the most important pictorial work found in the municipality of Limatola: the polyptych by Francesco da Tolentino (1527).

The Castle, which is privately owned, has been open to the public since 2010, after five years of restoration, as a place for events, ceremonies, meetings, as well as hosting an à la carte restaurant and a hotel.

The Church of Ave Gratia Plena, consecrated in 1404, built by the will of the local population, is worth a visit. The bell tower dates back to the Baroque era (1764). The three-nave interior is rich in baroque stucco work. The high altar in polychrome marble from the 1700s and the large neoclassical sacristy are noteworthy. Since 1977, the church has been owned by the Municipality.

In the historic center there is the old Church of San Biagio, which, like the Church of the Castle, is already documented in the bull of Sennete of 1113, delimiting the diocese of Caserta.

Today, it no longer retains its original Romanesque appearance, but a Renaissance layout, due to the interventions of the Gambacorta dukes.

In the main square of Limatola, there is the new Church of San Biagio, inaugurated in 1965. The church, like that of Sant’Eligio in Biancano, built in the early 1940s, was commissioned by Monsignor Salvatore Carrese (1914 -1989), a tireless Limatolese. To remember Mons. Carrese, a bronze half-bust was created and placed outside the church of San Biagio, to the left of the main door

In 2000, on the occasion of the Jubilee, an imposing bell was built, which can be admired at the foot of the bell tower. The bell, blessed by John Paul II, is the fifth largest in Italy.

In Biancano, on a hill from which you can enjoy a spectacular view of the middle Volturno valley towards Capua, stands the old church of Sant’Eligio (16th century). It is a small church with a single nave and a hemispherical dome on a square presbytery. There are some late Renaissance frescoes of a popular style.

In Limatola, craft activities related to the processing of wood, stone and iron are sought after. In recent years there has been a return to sheep farming and the land with the production of vegetables, fruit and preserves.

A bit of history

 There are two schools of thought on the origins of the name. There are those who derive Limatola from “limo” or slimy land, fertilized by the river and those who, however, mean smooth land, leveled by the river. The first hypothesis seems to be the most consistent with the linguistic and dialectal tradition of these lands.

Limatola is documented already in the Lombard era as a military garrison of the Principality of Capua, on the border with the Duchy of Benevento, although some archaeological finds attest to the importance of the area already in the Roman period.

With the establishment of the County of Caserta, it follows its dynastic events, first with the Lombard House, then with the Lauro (cadet branch of the Sanseverino) and the Della Ratta (until the 15th century).

Acquired by marriage from the Gambacorta family, it experienced renewed splendor in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Passed to the Royal State Property (1734) it was purchased by the Mastelloni, who were succeeded by the Lattieri D’Aquino and the Carafa, until the emergence of feudalism (1806).

With the unification of Italy, Limatola was aggregated to the province of Benevento.

In the last decades of the last century, the Sannite center with an agricultural vocation (production of fruit, vegetables and tobacco) transformed into an industrial reality linked to the world of car wiring and silk.

The economic crisis led to the closure of these companies, but new excellent production companies have established themselves, supporting the small and medium-sized businesses already operating in the area.

Curiosity

Limatola Castle today is a dream location for weddings, offering the possibility of celebrating both civil and religious rites in historic environments such as the Garibaldi Museum Room or the Palatine Church of San Nicola.

For nine years, “Cadeaux at the castle” has been held, a Christmas market that combines quality craftsmanship and gastronomy. The event attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over Italy, in a unique setting, the Limatola castle.

The Consecration Festival is a secular event, linked to the celebration of the consecration of the Ave GratiaPlena church (15th century). It is held every third weekend of July. For a couple of decades, the Sgabbeo festival, a tasty fried pizza with mortadella, has been organized at the same time as the festival.

The Limatola Carnival involves hundreds of people in its organization. Three days of celebrations, including float parades and great entertainment in the square, with majorettes, barrel players, theatrical performances, folk songs and dances.

The country’s culinary tradition, therefore, is quite rich:

A cubaita” prepared by melting honey or sugar, then pouring in some sesame seeds and almonds and stirring until boiling. When everything is mixed, pour it onto a damp surface and roll it out until it reaches a thickness of about a centimeter, then cut it and serve cold.

The stuffed spleen: spleen stuffed with parsley, garlic, chilli pepper, chopped mint and salt. It is browned in oil with the addition of vinegar and wine until cooked. It is served cold and covered in sauce.

Le Graffe made with potatoes, butter, milk, flour, eggs, yeast, salt, sugar, grated lemon peel, oil, sugar for decoration. They are, essentially, donuts with baked potato dough.

Among the alleys of its ancient village, during the Christmas period, visitors can taste roccocò, traditional Christmas sweets, zeppole, soft and aromatic, and struffoli, small balls of dough fried and covered in honey. These flavours, rooted in local tradition, offer a real sensorial journey between sweetness and history.

Tour of the historic center