Top 10 Places To Visit in Irpinia

Abbazia del Goleto

Abbazia del Goleto, Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi (AV)

This past week, the Region of Campania released its new tourist map, highlighting must-see locales for visitors— including such well-known sites as Naples, Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Paestum, and others. What was striking, as seen below, was that the map excluded must-see locations in Avellino Province. I have been told that this map highlights only UNESCO sites,  but it is not clear on a first glance. (It does, however, raise the question– how do we get Irpinian locales on the UNESCO World Heritage map?)

As an American of Irpinian descent, I do not profess to have all of the answers to when it comes to a “must-see” list for all of Avellino Province. I believe that name “Irpinia” should be just as well-known as Tuscany, Rome, Sicily, Venice, or any other heavily-traveled location throughout Italy. I started this blog because I firmly believe that this incredible section of Italy deserves its rightful place among more well-known locations and that it should be a destination for all, not just for those who claim heritage from the region.

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On the Trail of the Lombards

grottaOne of the Irpinian towns I know quite well is Grottaminarda, as I stayed there several times while visiting when lodging was unavailable in Guardia. Grottaminarda is a beautiful city in the area surrounding the Ufita River– it’s also the access point from the autostrada to most of the Irpinian towns, including Guardia Lombardi, that are closest to my heart.

I follow the Facebook page for the Comune di Grottaminarda on Facebook and was happily surprised recently when I saw that the town recently put its guide, “Grottaminarda within Longobard ways across Europe” on its website. As the Lombard tribe is the tribe from where my ancestral town of Guardia Lombardi derives its name (it means “lookout of the Lombards”) and my own last name, “Longo,” directly comes from the tribe’s name, I knew I had to take a look. The Lombards did settle in Irpinia and several towns, such as Guardia Lombardi, Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi, and Torella dei Lombardi, recognize their influence in their names. Continue reading

La Repubblica Italiana As Seen From Irpinia

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Celebrations for the Festa della Repubblica begin at the Altar of the Fatherland monument in Rome and include a flyover in the Italian colors, as seen here.

La Festa della Repubblica Italiana (Italian National Day) is celebrated annually on June 2 in commemoration of the 1946 referendum where Italians went to the polls to decide on what form of government they would like to have following World War II and the fall of fascism. On this day, 12, 717,923 votes were cast in favor of a republic, while 10,719, 284 were cast hoping to retain the monarchy. Following this vote, the male descendants of the House of Savoy were sent into exile. Continue reading

The Art of Tombolo

One of the most striking traditional art forms I saw while in Irpinia was that of “tombolo,” a form of lace making that requires special needles, a skilled eye and a lot of patience.

In the town of Santa Paolina, nicknamed “the town of tombolo,” the old tradition is alive and well– in fact, there’s even a type of school where the town’s elderly women teach the skill to anyone who would like to learn, ensuring that the centuries-old art form lives on.

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