Benevento Tourist Attractions
SituationBenevento, chief town of its province, lies in Campania, some 50km/31mi northeast of Naples. The town, beautifully situated on a flat-topped hill between the rivers Savato and Calore, is the economic and communications center of the fertile Benevento basin.HistoryThe town was originally called Maleventum, but after the "Pyrrhic victory" of King Pyrrhus of Epirus over the Romans in 275 B.C. and the establishment of a Roman military colony in 268 B.C. it was given the more auspicious name of Beneventum. Situated at the junction of the Via Appia with four other Roman roads, it developed into one of the most important towns in southern Italy, and from the sixth to the 11th centuries it was the seat of powerful Lombard dukes. Thereafter the town belonged to the Papal State (with a short interruption under Napoleon) until it became part of Italy in 1860. It has been the see of an archbishop since 969.
Benevento's principal street, running from northwest to southeast, is the Corso Garibaldi, in which stands the cathedral (founded c. 1200), which was completely destroyed in 1943 apart from the facade and the campanile but has since been rebuilt.
500m/550yd southwest of the Teatro Romano in Benevento is the Ponte Leproso, still incorporating part of the Roman bridge which carried the Via Appia over the Sabato.
Arch of Trajan
East of the Benevento cathedral along Corso Garibaldi is the Town Hall, beyond which (to the left, along Via dell'Arco di Traiano) rises the Arch of Trajan (Arco di Traiano), the so-called Porta Aurea, dedicated by the senate and people of Beneventum to the "best of princes" in A.D. 114 in anticipation of his return from the Parthian wars. The arch, built of Greek marble, stands 15.5m/51ft high and is excellently preserved. One of the finest of its kind, it is decorated with reliefs glorifying the emperor.
Along Corso Garibaldi is the Piazza Santa Sofia (officially Piazza Matteotti), where stands the church of Santa Sofia, a circular structure of the Lombard period (760; 12th century doorway).
Adjoining the Santa Sofia in Benevento is the beautiful cloister of a former convent of Benedictine nuns, now housing the interesting Museo de Sannio, which contains a very fine prehistoric and early historical department, including Samnitic and Greco-Roman finds and Egyptian sculpture, as well as a rich coin collection and medieval and modern pictures.
Address: Piazza Santa Sofia, I-82100 Benevento, Italy
Opening hours: 9am-1pm; Closed: Mon
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Easter - Christian
Disability Access: Full facilities for persons with disabilities.
Rocca dei Rettori
In Piazza IV Novembre, is a 14th century castle, the Rocca dei Rettori, which contains the historical section of the museum. There are fine views from the municipal park.