San Marco dei Cavoti

La città del torrone


The historic center of San Marco dei Cavoti is located on high ground at an elevation between 690 and 710 m above sea level, one of the last eastern spurs of the Campanian Apennines before they slope down, in the area of the Fortore River, to the Tavoliere delle Puglie. Its location allows a panoramic view that reaches south to the Partenio mountains, west to Taburno, and northwest to the Matese massif. The municipal territory stretches in a north-south direction for about 12 km. Near its northeastern borders is Mount San Marco (also called Telegraph, 1007 m a.s.l.), one of the highest mountain massifs in the eastern portion of the province of Benevento. Southeast of the latter, State Road 369 Appulo Fortorina, which connects San Marco to the towns of the Fortorina area, crosses the pass of Casone Cocca (in the territory of Molinara, 963 m a.s.l.), so named after an ancient farmhouse that belonged to this distinguished family of landowners, now extinct.

The urban center is lapped by the Tammarecchia stream with the Ripa Falls rocks. The watercourse flows in a north-south direction, eventually flowing into the Tammaro River, which flows through a valley in the Calisi district, bordering the municipality of Pago Veiano.

Not to be missed

Resurgence Square: is a square with a square plan built in the 18th century at the end of Via Roma, and paved with local limestone. It is home to the Jelardi and Colarusso palaces, and at its center is a fountain adorned with four cast-iron dolphins.

Clock Museum: housed since 2004 in a historic building on Rovagnera Street that connects Via Roma to the old town. It consists of 52 examples of tower clocks that make up a unique gallery. A valuable collection of tower clock mechanisms, dating from around 1400 onward, belonging to the private collection of master watchmaker Salvatore Ricci from San Marino, has become the property of the National Research Council since 2000.

Palace Jelardi: designed in neoclassical style by Jesuit architect Giovan Battista Iazeolla, commissioned by Cavalier Nicola Jelardi, it is still inhabited by descendants of the family. The building is listed by the Soprintendenza per i beni archeologici di Salerno, Avellino, Benevento and Caserta.

Museum of Advertising Packaging Commerce: located in Risorgimento Square at the Jelardi Palace in the attic rooms. A newspaper library, library and civic museum in a total of 13 rooms, four of which house a display of advertising materials, furniture and other trade-related items from the late 1800s to the present.

Via Roma the street connects Risorgimento Square to Porta Grande, characteristic for the presence of various stately buildings including the Zuppa mansion, the Valente, Zurlo and Jansiti palaces (the latter later de’ Conno and then former municipal headquarters).

Porta Grande: is a gate in the medieval village leading from Via Roma to the Mother Church. Over time it became part of the adjacent de’ Conno-Jansiti Palace, now municipal property. Two other gates have survived: Porta di Rose to the south, and Porta Palazzo, which, passing under the Palazzo Marchesale, leads into Largo Vicidomini. The fourth town gate, Porta Nuova, on the other hand, has disappeared.

Church of St. Mark the Evangelist: located at the top of the medieval center, the present church replaced the original one that dated back to the founding of the town and was dedicated to St. Mark of Eca; only later did the cult shift to St. Mark the Evangelist. The ancient building, with its harmonious architecture, was restored by Mayor Federico Jelardi in the second half of the 19th century when the original bell tower–which had been torn down at the beginning of the same century–had already been replaced by the nearby Provencal Tower. However, the sacred building was severely damaged in the 1962 earthquake, and although restoration was possible, it was decided to rebuild from scratch, saving only the aforementioned tower. The new church was then renovated in more harmonious forms in the early 2000s by the interest of the parish priest Monsignor Michele Marinella to whom the belvedere in front is now named.

Belvedere Grazionella: (today Belvedere Mons. Michele Marinella), the clearing in front of St. Mark’s Church presents a wide view to the south, particularly to the medieval town dominated by the Carmine Church, the surrounding countryside and mountains.Belvedere Grazionella: (today Belvedere Mons. Michele Marinella), the clearing in front of St. Mark’s Church presents a wide view to the south, particularly to the medieval town dominated by the Carmine Church, the surrounding countryside and mountains.

Church of Carmine: (14th century), located in the square of the same name, has undergone various remodeling over the centuries.

Near the town center and Molino Jelardi is the noteworthy “Ripa Waterfall” on the Tammarecchia stream, which can be reached via a picturesque path, made in December 2020, that features the ancient Conca Fountain at the beginning of the route.

The municipal territory includes a number of woods: the largest ones are the Bosco di Zenna, in the district of the same name, and the “Bosco del Toppo” (i.e. “high ground” in local dialect) “Santa Barbara,” in the Calisi district. Other wooded area is located along the suburban route of Via Giovanni XXIII (extension), also known as “Via dei Tre Boschetti” and used for running, trekking and cycling sports activities.

In addition to a Villa Comunale, the municipality also has Ettore Cosomati Park with a nature trail in Largo San Rocco along the Tammarecchia stream. Inaugurated in 2019, the park is named after the painter of Sammarchesi origins because it is not far from the place from where he made an etching depicting San Marco dei Cavoti, which was awarded a gold medal at the 1911 Barcelona International Exhibition. The predominant tree flora consists of holm oaks and oaks. In the Monte San Marco area, on the other hand, the forest stand was made by the Forest Guard with firs and pines.


The places bordering the present urban center of St. Mark were inhabited as early as pre-Roman times: their centerpiece was the town of Cenna, corresponding to the present-day contrada Zenna as claimed by many historians such as Filippo Cluverio, Luca Olstenio, Christoph Keller, Barthold Georg Niebuhr and Alfonso Meomartini. The ancient historian Diodorus Siculus also recalled that Cenna was allied with the Romans and was besieged by the Samnites after the battle of Lautulae.

When Cenna was destroyed, perhaps by an earthquake, the inhabitants built further downstream a new village, San Severo, located on a hill (about 4 km from the present town and about 1.5 km from ancient Cenna), then called Toppo di Santa Barbara after the name of the church that still exists and is situated between the district still called San Severo and the Calisi district. Some remains of ancient San Severo, which in Norman times was part of the grancontea of Aryan, are still visible on the Toppo near the church of Santa Barbara.

A little further down the valley, in contrada Calisi, in the 1980s some archaeological findings in the land owned by the Jelardi family proved the existence there of a cemetery whose important remains – including large terracotta tomb slabs – were handed over to the Superintendency then headed by Werner Johannowsky, and then catalogued and transferred to Benevento to museum sites and storage.


San Marco dei Cavoti is known as the town of nougat, but from its land, its farms and the wholesomeness of its air come many other products that make the fortorino center a hallmark of quality food.

Cheeses, meats and cured meats, fruits and vegetables from agritourism farms or from retailers who increasingly choose to follow the entire supply chain, oil produced from the Sammarche olive trees and processed in local mills, pickles, all the tempting goodness from the bakeries, bread pizzas and cookies made in the rustic and sweet version, end up in the basket of the people of San Marco dei Cavoti as well as of the many visitors who come to San Marco dei Cavoti attracted by the town of Croccantino and conquered, not only by the exquisiteness of the confectionery, but also by the uniqueness of the irreplaceable ingredients of the Mediterranean cuisine.

That of the patron saint is the first festivity linked to the country’s religious tradition; it comes in April, the 25th of the month celebrates the patron saint St. Mark the Evangelist, for whom the Mother Church is also named.

Feast of Carmel, the July 16 feast of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel opens the doors of Sammarche’s historic center to religious and civil rites. The old town is home, in fact, to the delightful Church dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Here, and in the little square of the same name in front of it, religious services are concentrated and, for the past few years, also culinary and folkloric events related to the occasion.

La Festa dei Carri di grano cade nella seconda domenica del mese di agosto, la data celebra le origini contadine del borgo sammarchese attraverso la sfilata dei carri di grano, realizzati dalle contrade del paese.

Feast of St. Diodorus Martyr, celebrated on the second Sunday of September symbolically closes the summer of San Marco dei Cavoti. Ever since the then pro-loco inaugurated the Passiata di San Diodoro, a 12.8-kilometer race, in the 1970s, the mystical character of this date has been mixed with the folkloric and sporting significance that the footrace restores each year, to the delight of the many Sanmarchesi and foreign athletes who take part.

The Rosary Fire is lit in the village on the first Saturday of October, already a few days earlier, however, woodpeckers and twigs for burning appear more or less in all the neighborhoods and districts of San Marco. Tradition also dictates that the holy Rosary is recited around the fire, although the mystical element has been lost with the passage of time. The event, however, retains the character of a social moment, and the people of San Marcos do not miss the opportunity to honor, on any occasion, the feeling of sharing that always binds members of the same community.