Tocco Caudio

Misteries and magic of a forgotten place

Location

The eastern slope of Mount Taburno is a wonderful green lung in Campania, not far from Benevento. At a certain point, the vegetation breaks off to give way to a small village that, however, appears rather strange: everything is still and silent, so much so that it seems unreal. A spontaneous desire arises to get closer in order to understand what strange magic is at work, and it is then that we come to a long road overgrown with grass at the sides of which are lined up abandoned houses, with no more present, but with a cumbersome past to tell: the long life of the village of Tocco Caudio.

Not to be missed

The mystery given by the abandonment and the not-yet-dormant memories is like a siren song for visitors, who thanks to a partial recovery of the old town can visit many of its parts safely, suspended in a well-defined time where silence, nature and mystery will take them on an entirely unprecedented inner journey. There are also guided excursions that are not limited to the abandoned village, but also reach near the Taburno-Camposauro plain: hiking, trekking, history and magic are guaranteed for both young and old.

Past the main gate of the village, you can find the ruins of the 18th-century Church of St. Vincent and the Chapel of the Most Holy Body of Christ; the magnificent shrine is located a few kilometers from the ghost town. Fortunately, one has the opportunity to enter inside the ruins in order to fully understand how the people of the time lived and to immerse oneself in an atmosphere now considered rarefied. The ancient village also possesses numerous assets, both artistic and historical, such as the majestic canvas depicting the Virgin with Saints Cosmas and Damian and the Child Jesus, a stone on which a bucranio (calf’s head) is carved, or the remains of the walls.

A bit of history

The very ancient village of Tocco Caudio, located in the province of Benevento, about which Plutarch first spoke, calling it the “most important metropolis,” has its roots in the time of the Samnites, in the fourth century before Christ. Like many other ancient Italian towns, the town was built on a long, narrow hillside; its strategic location, which gave it easy defense, made it a coveted center by many different conquerors over the centuries. The well-known medieval town, now uninhabited, was unfortunately plagued by several earthquakes that razed it to the ground and completely eliminated the evidence concerning its ancient architecture. Abandoned for good after the 1980 earthquake.

Curiosity

Amid the gusts of wind that caress the rubble, one can catch distant echoes of an ancient legend of this area, which tells us of the Janare, witches, and their Sabbaths along the banks of the Jenga stream that laps the southern part of the village.

In the area it is possible to find several agritourisms where you can enjoy typical local dishes such as homemade pasta, grilled lamb, asparagus that, stand out for their bitter taste, and mushrooms accompanied, by oil and seasoned with the delicious flavors of the D.O.C. territory that, turn Tocco Caudio one of the most sought-after destinations in Samnium . Finally, not to be absolutely forgotten, is the festival in honor of the town’s patron saints that is held in September