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Benevento Guide

Benevento is located in the Campania region, in the province of the same name. It is found at the location of the ancient city of Beneventum, originally thought to be named Maleventum or Malowent. The -vent is taken from �market', so at one time the town probably had a market place there. The Romans thought that the �mal' meant �the site of bad events' (mal-eventum).

In any case, at one time it was one of the most important cities, and in the early 200 BC, it was a prosperous place, with many important Romans residing there, due in part to its strength as a fortress and its closeness to Campania. While under the Romans the land owned by Beneventum was large and wealthy.

Later, in about 1077, the city passed into the papacy with little fuss, and became the cornerstone of the papacy's powers in the south of Italy for two years. There are many churches in Benevento that are well worth visiting, including Santa Sophia, dating back to 760 -inside are columns taken from the temple of Isis. The church was almost destroyed in 1688 in an earthquake, and rebuilt. The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta goes back to the 800s, and was rebuilt in 1114. The bell tower was built in 1269.

There is in Benevento a castle, which is in actual fact two edifices - one begun in 871 by the Lombards, the second in 1320 by the Popes. The castle is located at the highest point of the town, centrally to the two ancient main roads (the Appia and Traiana), and overlooking the rivers near to Beneventum (the Sabato and Calore). The castle is named for the Papal governors (the Rettori) and is known as either Rocca dei Rettori or Rocca di Manfredi. It was at one time the location of a Benedictine monastery.

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