Points of interest
Located in the northwest of Atripalda, it was inhabited by the Hirpini. It extends for 25 hectares, with a wall of 2 km. It is divided into a public part, with the forum and the baths, and a private part, with the domus. The remains of the ancient city of Abellinum occupy the current plateau of the “Civita”, north-west of today’s Atripalda, on the left bank of the Sabato river. Before the Roman conquest, the Sabato Valley was inhabited by the Samnite tribe of the Hirpini, to which the Abellinates group must have belonged, identified as inhabitants of Abellinum in the Samnite age. The hill of Civita, in fact, has returned votive materials that can lead us to hypothesize the use of the hill as a “sacred area”, fortified by a Samnite-type wall, which attests to the existence of a meeting place for the Abellinates compared to the villages of the Valley. The city itself was founded in Roman times, which preserved its Samnite lineage in the toponym. In the Augustan age the colony experienced the period of its maximum splendor with the construction of the complex of walls and public buildings, such as the amphitheater and the baths, as well as the construction of the great Roman aqueduct at the Serino springs. For the age that follows, up to the middle of the fourth century. A.D., there is little information on the life of the center, up to the phase of gradual abandonment due to the arrival of the Greek-Gothic war up to the Lombard conquest in the seventh century. The urban layout of the ancient Abellinum, whose extension is about 25 hectares, is delimited by a 2 km long wall dating back to the late Republican age. Inside the walls, on the east side, is the area affected by the public complexes: the forum and the baths. Of the thermal complex, which can be seen on the right going up the slope, the tubular tiles of the warm room (calidarium) on which the well-known “Torre degli Orefici” rests are preserved. In the north-eastern area of the Civita, an important residential complex bordered by a major decumanus and a minor cardo has come to light. The Pompeian Hellenistic-type domus has an extension of about 2500 square meters and belonged in the initial period of the empire to Marcus Vipsanius primigenius, freedman of Vipsanio Agrippa, son-in-law of Augustus, as attested by the discovery of a bronze seal. many artifacts found during the excavation of the site are kept at the Dogana dei Grani in Atripalda.
It was born with the burial of Hippolistus, the first martyr of Atripalda. Above, stands the Church of S. Ippolisto. The Specus was a cave of an ancient Patrician villa which, due to its shape, was later used as a refuge and venue for Christian rites. Many martyrs have been buried in this crypt, but our story begins with one man, Hippolytus. This was born in 277 in Avellino into a noble family and at the age of only ten he was sent to be educated in Antioch under the priest Babila, who made him a priest about ten years later. During the period of persecution by Diocletian, who did not spare Babila, martyred before the eyes of Hippolytus, the latter returns to his homeland, denigrated for his beliefs, and spends a silent and hidden life, remaining segregated until the age of thirty ‘years. The life of Hippolytus is narrated in this early Christian painting dating back to the 4th century AD. which tells the story in three different moments. The common factor of the three scenes is the presence of two noble women, daughters of Senator Massimiano, who, according to tradition, in 303 AD. Massimilla and Lucrezia decided to give Sant’Ippolisto a worthy burial in the Grotto. These, discovered, were also killed and, later, buried near the saint. After Sant’Ippolisto, other figures tried to carry on the work started by the saint, two of the most important are San Sabino, protector of the city, and his follower San Romolo. Sabino found himself governing the country during the period of the barbarian invasions, when Atripalda was left without a political or even less religious leader. You therefore take on the burden of guiding the city, also and above all spiritually. Everyone begins to follow this just, good, loving and charitable man, so much so that, upon his death, the people of Atripal are shocked. Since he was a humble person, it was the citizens who decided on a more important burial for him, reusing an ancient marble tomb (a very expensive and valuable material at the time) probably Roman (going around the tombstone it is possible to see pagan symbols, such as the Griffin), turning it over and engraving the epigraph of San Sabino on it. Many martyrs found their burial inside the Specus, as evidenced by the dates engraved on the floor, including one in particular, a follower of San Sabino: San Romolo, in whose epigraph we have the first real news, in the antepenultimate line, of the presence of the Specus as a place of prayer for Christians and, in particular, for Sabinus and his follower. Not long after, in 313, the Edict of Constantine would make the Christian religion the state religion, putting an end to all the persecutions which, until then, had characterized the cult. So much so that a part of the cave had been reserved for a singular practice, consisting in the deposition of the deceased in small furrows called drains, we distinguish two types in which the bodies were placed sitting or lying down, and there are also tunnels, yes think about possible escape routes for the persecuted.
Above the entrance to this area there is a fresco from the 4th century. The 1980 earthquake deeply damaged the Specus and the renovation work carried out brought to light this Christ Pantocrator, the one who can and governs everything. All around we can see other improvements and restorations which, however, date back to the 14th century, a period marked by one family in particular: the Caracciolos. This family became the owner of this place and made improvements, such as the twisted columns that recall the Constantinian basilica and the stuccos in the vaults depicting angels, frescoes and a second staircase for better access from the church above. The Caracciolos brought prestige to the city of Atripalda thanks also to the Grani customs, a place of exchange of goods, a symbol of the city’s trade. Finally, in 1728 the Chapel of the Treasure was annexed by Baron De Donato, a wealthy and very religious man. The construction is circular in shape surmounted by an elliptical dome on a decorated drum and 4 underlying lunettes. The dome, finely frescoed by the Neapolitan painter Michele Ricciardi, represents the Virgin in the act of being crowned by her Son, who blesses with his right hand and holds the globe in the other. The Holy Spirit is depicted by a white dove that gives light and a pleiad of Saints accompanied by symbols that identify them, arranged according to the curvature of the dome, observe the scene, including: Saint Lucia and her fixed gaze, with her eyes on the flat, protector of sight as etymologically her name tells us, from the Latin Lux, Light; San Lorenzo with a grate, symbol of his martyrdom due to the Edict of the Emperor Valerian by which all bishops, presbyters and deacons were to be put to death. The four cardinal virtues are depicted on the lunettes and spandrels (Fortitude, the young woman with a helmet, Prudence, a young woman looking at herself in the mirror, Justice, a woman with scales, and Temperance, a woman with light clothes and a red ribbon hair), there is a large fresco which, we hypothesize, depicts San Romolo as a child who probably listens to the prayers of San Sabino, who has a Gospel in his hand, and it is thought that the face was that of the painter Ricciardi, who used to insert of self-portraits in his works, while inside the drum there are two scenes, one with the martyrdom of Sant’Ippolisto and the other with one of the reconnaissance of San Sabino and the Santa Manna: on May 1, 1588 there was the reconnaissance of the saint’s body and when the sarcophagus was opened, the body was covered with a liquid which was placed partly in the shrines and partly at the feet of a cripple, Sabino Farese, who suddenly became healthy. This liquid, the Holy Manna, is said to have been extracted every year until 1943, the year in which the phenomenon stopped. Today the Saint is celebrated on two occasions, on February 9, the anniversary of his death, and on September 16, the remembrance of the transhumation of the sacred relics. His body was placed in a silver half-bust in 1612. Watching over this dome and all the relics is the Archangel St. Michael represented with his feet on a snake, defeating it, to symbolize the Good that triumph over evil.
CUSTOMS OF GRAIN
Founded in 1883, the market was held there. In 1900, were added the half-bust of King Umberto I and an epigraph. The Palazzo Museum, former Dogana dei Grani, built in 1883 on the occasion of the restructuring of the current Largo Mercato Piazza Umberto I, marked, in the history of Atripalda, the shift of the city’s business center to the left bank of the Sabato river. The building replaced the old customs that stood in the current historic center in continuity with the pivotal role of the city for the sale of grains coming from Puglia and directed towards the Neapolitan capital. Atripalda, in fact, was one of the most important markets of the Kingdom of Naples before and of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies afterwards. Over the years, the town on the Sabato river strengthened its commercial vocation which did not only concern the sale of grain and its flouring in the mills located along the river, but also the processing of paper, copper, iron, steel and wool. In 1900, with the assassination of King Umberto I by an anarchist, the Workers’ Society of Atripalda and the municipal administration decided to affix the half-bust of the king and an epigraph dedicated to him on the facade of the Customs House. It was from then on that the denomination of Largo Mercato was replaced with that of Piazza Umberto I. Today the building, consisting of a large pavilion hall and supported by a wooden structure that ends with a pyramidal roof, has become a container for the most various functions: inside it conferences, concerts and temporary exhibitions are held. In addition to hosting the Superintendency offices, a small museum was created on the ground floor, called the Antiquarium, which houses the finds from the archaeological site of Abellinum and from the necropolis of Capo la Torre.
The toponym Largo Mercato indicates that over the centuries, the weekly market on Thursdays always took place in the current Piazza Umberto I; in the Middle Ages, as can be seen from a document dated 1272 by King Charles of Anjou, a large market took place in Atripalda which had the purpose of regulating above all the debts and credits between peasants and merchants. Alongside the markets, there were then the fairs, distributed in several places in the city, also as a place of exchange, generally coinciding with religious festivals; there was that of S. Marco, of S. Maria delle Grazie, of S. Lorenzo, of S. Sabino and of S. Martino.
MONUMENT TO THE FALLEN
Opened in 1927, it is a statue dedicated to the unknown soldier. A plaque commemorates the people of Atripalda who fell during the First World War.
Built in the 16th century: the Caracciolos became feudal lords of Atripalda.