We invited the Mayor of Cerreto Sannita, Pasquale Santagata, to tell our readers why a tourist should visit the smaller communes of Sannio. “This picturesque corner of Campania is just as beautiful as many other of the better-known landmark attractions and sightseeing spots in Campania – commented the Mayor – Visitors will have a chance to discover the originality, hospitality, art and history of this singular area, an absolutely unmissable destination”.
The Mayor chose five communes that he considers well worth a visit, indicating the highlights of each one. Below is his guide to their must-see attractions.
Home to world-famed dinosaur Ciro. Make sure to visit the Geopalentological Park and adjacent Paleolab museum housing fossils of considerable importance, including Ciro, the first baby dinosaur discovered in Italy, several of whose internal organs are still intact. The fossils of Pietraroja are known throughout the world and the park is a popular attraction to which tourists flock year-round
A planned community. Entirely destroyed by the earthquake of 1688, it was redesigned and rebuilt based on the plan of the old medieval city. The development of an archaeological park, surrounding the town, is currently under way. Awarded Orange Flag certification by Italian Touring Club on account of its artistic treasures, its culture and its hospitality, Cerreto is part of the 35 cities of the Italian City of Ceramics Association, headquartered in Faenza in the province of Ravenna, Emilia Romagna. The town not only boasts an Ancient Ceramics Museum, the only one officially recognized in Regione Campania, but also a museum of modern ceramics and a museum of sacred art. New projects including the opening of a museum designed to explore the history of its farming traditions. Its Baroque historic centre is also well worth a visit.
Every seven years, the people of Guardia Sanframondi hold a religious festival in which hundreds of hooded penitents, dressed in white habits, gather to honour Santa Maria dell’Assunta by whipping themselves with iron chains and ‘sponges’,i.e. pieces of cork covered with nails, which they use to beat their chests. Guardia Sanframondi also boasts a picturesque historic centre. In a bid to promote the town, the communal administration has put several of its ruins up for sale, several of which have been purchased by Australian, British and American buyers. A city boasting a strong agricultural tradition, its wine-growing cooperative produces a number of delicious wines for export throughout the world.
A centre renowned for its porcini mushroom festival whose fame has now spread beyond the confines of its borders. Each year, the festival attracts hundreds of tourists. Its medieval centre, built entirely in stone, is a stunning landmark attraction.
San Lorenzello shares the tradition of the art of ceramic-making with Cerreto and one of its top attractions includes its beautiful 18th century historic centre. Make sure to pay a visit to its noteworthy Church of the Congregazione della Sanità, featuring several precious ceramic artworks including a magnificent majolica tympanum. The city is home to the San Sebastiano Park which hosts the city of dinosaurs, an educational park extending over a surface area of roughly one hectare where visitors can admire fifteen fiberglass reproductions of life-sized dinosaurs.
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