Preserving Cultural Heritage for All

Tradition flows through Irpinia like the waters of the Ufita or the Ofanto— it is just as much a part of the area’s history  as its own natural landscape. For Valentina Taccone and Nunzio Gaeta, preserving that cultural heritage in a way to reach modern audiences has become a passion. Their latest project, Etn.ia, plays on the word “ethnicity,” bringing people to a fuller understanding of what it means to be from Irpinia and how the region’s traditions can, and should be preserved for everyone, with the ultimate goal of encouraging the area’s young people to stay as well as to encourage tourism. In this week’s post, Valentina Taccone shares the vision for Etn.ia. Continue reading

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