The Municipality of Altavilla Irpina extends over three hills (Torone, Ripa and Foresta). It's a town with 4,120 inhabitants, located 334 metres above sea level, at 15 km from Avellino. The territory extends for 14.08 sq km and the adjoining municipalities are: Arpaise, Ceppaloni, Chianche, Grottolella, Petruro Irpino, Pietrastornina, Prata di Principato Ultra, Sant’Angelo a Scala and Tufo.
The etymology of the name is clear and is composed of the adjective “high” that precedes the noun “villa”, with obvious reference to the location of the primitive medieval settlement. The inhabitants are called Altavillesi. Saint Bernard of Siena and Saint Pellegrino the Martyr are their patron saints.
PLACES OF INTEREST
- Baronial Palace - Also known as “Comital Palace”, it is considered one of the most interesting examples of the “Campania Renaissance”
- Museum of People without History - Museum dedicated to 19th-century folk costume, the Middle Ages and the liturgical vestments worn by the clergy of Altavilla between the 16th and 18th centuries
- Museum of Saint Alberico Crescitelli - Dedicated to Father Alberico Crescitelli, PIME missionary, who was martyred in China in 1900, during the Boxers revolt
- Verginian Monastery - Once named after Saints Peter and Paul, is now the municipal seat; the building, built between the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century, has a quadrangular structure
- Sanctuary of the Santi Martiri Pellegrino e Alberico (Holy Martyrs Pellegrino and Alberico) - Known, in the past, as the Collegiate Church of San Pellegrino, is distinguished by the bronze portal on the façade and the imposing bell tower
- Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo (Saint Mary of the Assumption into Heaven) - Located a few metres from the Baronial Palace, it was built in the 16th century
- Sulphur Mines - Built after the discovery in 1886, in the municipal territory on the border with Tufo, of important sulphur deposits, they are mines dedicated precisely to the extraction of that mineral
- San Leone Hospital - Structure located on the main street, dating back to the 14th century
- Historic buildings - Capone Palace, D’Agostino Palace, Salerno Palace, Caruso Palace
- Other - Chapel of San Bernardino da Siena (Saint Bernardino of Siena), Church of the Purgatory, Church of the Madonna del Loreto (Our Lady of Loreto), Church of Maria SS. del Carmelo (Our Lady of Mount Carmel), Church of Santi Pietro e Alberico Crescitelli, Norman Tower (Bruno Tower)
- Battenti di San Pellegrino (Barefoot Confreres of San Pellegrino) - Ancient and important rite of devotion that has taken place every 24 August since 1780, attracting thousands of people to the town
- Palio dell’Anguria (Watermelon race) - Feast of medieval origins that takes place on every year on 18 August
- Madonna del Loreto - Feast that takes place on Easter Monday
- Provincial Fair of Saint Bernardino - Fair that takes place every year from 5 to 17 May
- Night of the Witches - Event that takes place on 24 June, with the election of the Queen of the Sabbath
- Feast of Saint Bernardino - Celebrations in honour of the patron saint, held in May
TYPICAL FOOD AND PRODUCTS
- Typical dishes - Handmade fusilli, Minestra maritata, Mugliatielli
- Greco di Tufo DOCG - Noble wine deriving from a grape variety of ancient origins, in this case, Greek, with unparalleled typicality, renowned the world over for its aromas and flavour
- White apple of Grottolella PAT - Fruit with white pulp, compact, very sweet, aromatic and preservable
With the discovery of the sulphur deposits, in 1886, Altavilla Irpina was radically transformed, especially from an economic point of view: 588 workers soon found employment engaged in the extraction, processing and marketing of the mineral, which soon reached up to a thousand workers. Today, however, the mine has been closed.
Altavilla Irpina is mentioned in the novel “Il marito di Elena”, the work of the famous Sicilian author Giovanni Verga, who desired to transfer, from his sunny island to the lush hills of Irpinia, the scenery of the difficult struggles in the lives of the enigmatic protagonists of his unforgettable stories.
The origins of Altavilla are certainly very ancient, so much so that according to some it is said to have been mentioned, albeit with the different name of Poetilia, by Virgil in the Aeneid.
The first historical information concerning this territory, however, can be linked to a castle, of which today there are no remaining traces, built there in the Lombard era and called Altacauda. Other certain information about the history of Altavilla is the domination by the Normans in the 12th century and the possession of the fief by the De Capua family. It is to this last period, in fact, that the name of Altavilla dates back, used by Luigi De Capua to indicate his family holding.
Come and savour the taste of traditions and discover that story that Altavilla Irpina has to tell of its “people without history”, an ancestral memory that makes you feel at your ease when you travel here
Piazza IV Novembre, 83011 Altavilla Irpina AV, Italia