When it comes to Italy, most people’s minds immediately jump to places like Rome, Florence, Venice, or the Amalfi Coast. However, this country is full of surprises, and there are plenty of lesser-known destinations that are worth exploring. One of these hidden gems is Montella, a small town located in the province of Avellino, in the Campania region, in the southern part of Italy.
Montella has a rich history that dates back to ancient times, when it was inhabited by the Samnites, an Italic tribe that lived in central and southern Italy before the Roman conquest. Later on, the town became a strategic location for the Longobards, a Germanic people who ruled Italy from the 6th to the 8th century AD. Montella’s strategic importance was due to its location on the slopes of Mount Terminio, which provided a natural defense against invaders.
One of the most remarkable landmarks in Montella is the Abbey of Santa Maria in Sylvis, which is located on the outskirts of the town, in the middle of a dense forest. This abbey was founded in the 6th century AD by Benedictine monks and was later rebuilt in the Romanesque style in the 11th century. Today, the abbey is a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims alike, who come to admire its beautiful frescoes, ancient crypts, and peaceful surroundings.
Another must-see attraction in Montella is the Sanctuary of the Madonna di Montevergine, which is situated on top of a hill overlooking the town. This sanctuary is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is considered one of the most important religious sites in southern Italy. The sanctuary’s origins date back to the 12th century, and it has been expanded and renovated over the centuries. Inside the sanctuary, visitors can admire numerous works of art, including frescoes, sculptures, and paintings.
Montella is also famous for its culinary traditions, which are deeply rooted in the local culture. The town is renowned for its chestnuts, which are harvested in the surrounding forests and used in many traditional dishes, such as chestnut soup, chestnut risotto, and roasted chestnuts. Other local specialties include pasta with chickpeas, lamb roasted on a spit, and buffalo mozzarella, which is produced in the nearby town of Battipaglia.
If you are looking for a unique and authentic experience in Italy, Montella is definitely worth a visit. This charming town offers a glimpse into the country’s rich history and culture, and its beautiful surroundings make it a perfect destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you want to explore its ancient monuments, savor its delicious cuisine, or simply soak up its laid-back atmosphere, Montella is sure to leave a lasting impression on you.
Fun Facts About Montella:
- Montella is home to one of the oldest chestnut festivals in Italy, which takes place every year in October and celebrates the harvest of this delicious fruit.
- The Sanctuary of the Madonna di Montevergine is famous for its annual procession, which takes place on February 2nd and attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over Italy.
- Montella is also known for its traditional carnival, which features colorful parades, street performances, and music.
- The town is located in the heart of the Irpinia wine region, which produces some of the finest wines in Italy, including Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, and Taurasi.
- Montella is surrounded by beautiful natural parks, including the Monti Picentini Regional Park and the Terminio Forest, which offer numerous hiking trails and scenic viewpoints.