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Cerreto Sannita

Published in Cerreto Sannita
20 October 2015

A unique town renowned for its porcelain and culinary specialities. Positioned on a hill in the high valley of Titerno, on the slopes of the Matese mountains, the town of Cerreto Sannita was rebuilt in record time after an earthquake completely destroyed it in 1688. The new town, now located further down the valley, was reconstructed just a short distance from its original site (of which only a few ruins remain) using anti-seismic criteria, still considered avant-garde toady. The town boasts Orange Flag certification (an eco-tourist award, serving as a seal of excellence, given by Touring Club Italian to small, less well-known towns and villages that not only make a particular effort to welcome tourists in a carefully maintained environment but also promote sustainable tourism,  local industry and crafts).

An ancient Episcopal seat, Cerreto Sannita boasts a treasure trove of urban, cultural and artistic treasures that combine to make it a truly unique town. These include its churches rich in ceramics, its small streets and it squares, including piazza San Martino, the real heart of Cerreto, famed for its fountain of dolphins. Originally located in Naples in piazza Mercato, the fountain was subsequently bought by the town in 1812.    

The comune is known for its time-honoured tradition of ceramic-making. Cerretese ceramics have ancient origins  even if the most florid period of production was the one following earthquake of 5 June 1688.  In fact, the reconstruction of the town attracted lots of "faenzari" (potters), Neapolitans who contributed to giving life to a new art of more opulent, Baroque-style porcelain. After 1688, various Neapolitan master craftsmen settled in the town including  the Giustinianos, the Festas, the Scaranos and the Marchittos who made the porcelain of Cerreto truly sought-after pieces that were also greatly admired by Neapolitan sovereigns who commissioned the potters to make several of the figurines displayed in the nativity scene of the Reggia of Caserta.

The town also boasts a rich culinary tradition, based mainly on homemade pasta, lamb, ham and cold cuts. Moreover, its clayey, hilly soil serves as an ideal habitat for its vineyards and olive groves which, each year, produce delectable, high-quality offerings. In autumn, the king of the table is its ‘novello’ olive oil (the first olive oil from the new harvest). Cerretto is, in fact, also known as the ‘City of Oil’! Savouring the delicate, fragrant bouquet of the oil of these hills is both a unique and delectable experience.

Those travelling by train can alight at the station of Telese-Cerreto Sannita on the regional train route that connects Naples and Bari. Buses to Cerreto Sannita leave from the station. For more information visit  www.cerretosannita.it.

A note from the mayor

We are truly pleased about the recent re-launch of tourism in Cerreto Sannita. We have done a lot to develop tourism in this planned city, inverting the trend of foreign tourism to better-known destinations, through activities targeted at the recovery of the urban landscape and the re-launch of the local porcelain crafted in Cerreto. We can now count on a tourist offer that includes nature and scenic panoramas, local products and history -thanks to the recent opening of the Ceramics Museum - and archaeology. With regard to the latter, the injection of significant investments is still ongoing: the old city of Cerreto Sannita, destroyed by an earthquake in 1688, with its medieval tower, is currently the focal point of an important project targeted at its recovery and enhancement. A place of enormous archaeological interest, it has been defined by archaeologists as the “medieval Pompeii.

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