When I meet new people and I tell them I’m coming from a South Italian city called Benevento, all I see is a big question mark on their faces. So to make things easier, I explain that it’s pretty much close to Naples. And then comes the big “Aww, yeah Naples, the Amalfi Coast, Capri…”.
I decided to bring you closer to a place that probably isn’t in any Lonely Planet or online reccomandation for your trip to the Naples area, and I have to admit, I’m happy to belong to a less touristy place. Besides the big metropoles like Rome, Milan or Florence, Italy has a lot of little hidden cities that are also worth a visit.
They’re more authentic, I’d say. Everything happens in a slower motion (alright, maybe despite of the driving!), things are more enjoyable and you’ll have the big plus of having everything affordable. Because there’s no tourist here to rip off. My friends come down here to visit me from time to time, and they were all pretty enthusiastic about this little gem of a city. It feels cosy, somehow.
Benevento is so called “Città delle Streghe” aka “City of Witches”, because legend says, they really were here a long time ago. Strega is also the name of our super delicious liquor, which is used as a drink or is added into sweets and pastries. I can assure you that everything is yum!
Of course, you cannot start the day by missing a very strong ristretto in one of the bars: standing, a ritual that takes you a maximum of 5 minutes, because usually that’s what the italian coffee break is about before heading back to work. Believe me, the coffee will be a 2 sip thing, but boy, you’ll be awake within seconds I swear!
Come here during the warm period, it’s the loveliest time of the year to stroll at Corso Garibaldi, between stores, cafés and the Arco di Traiano, one of the most important monuments here, a tiny version of Paris’ Arch the Triomphe. Don’t miss the aperitivos here, it’s a must! Guys having prosecco belong to normality, and so do nice mocassins. Have a seat, watch the shoppers pass by, your Spritz will be served with a load of free pizza (THIS is the aperitivo culture!) – everything for 10 bucks for two people. It must be love!
You can get lost a bit in the tiny streets around the corso, the historical city centre can be very charming and picturesque. Everything here is pretty untouched, you can’t get into a tourist trap because you’ll be almost the only one.
We are proud of a couple of things here: Benevento has an old Roman Amphitheatre, which was location for some events and concerts. It’s worth the visit especially if you like the past culture. You’ll have a lot of space for yourself and you can enjoy some time that stands still here. As great as the theatre, so is our “Villa” – a park with fountains and benches, one of the typical Sunday places. Oh well, and for wedding photoshoots too!
I think the pictures speak for themselves. I want to invite you to enjoy something different and less popular. But cute and lovely. You’ll eat the best regional dishes and have great wines, you’ll laugh a lot because you’ll be forced to learn a couple of words of Italian to communicate, and if you’re lucky enough, there will be a festa to join on the streets, with lights sparkling all over, music included. Reason enough for us down here to dust off the “good” blazer or the nice dress, and take them for a walk downtown.
How to get here: Benevento is located one hour away from Naples by car. I suggest a rental at the airport, that’s how I do it myself.
Where to stay: You can book yourself the best rooms in the historical centre via Airbnb (click here to save 24$ on your booking) – you won’t be disappointed!
Otherwise you can book one of the numerous affordable hotels in town by clicking here
Shopping: Forget the shops for once and hit the markets! The small one on Thursdays at district Libertà or the huge one on Saturdays by the stadium. Clothes, Food, Plants and everything your heart wants is here. I know you’ll walk away with a bunch of Italian shoes, I know it!
Eating: Japit has the best sushi I’ve ever had. No joking. Just basic sushi plates, but an amazing quality of fish, especially the tuna! It melts on your tongue…
0824 is my personal tip for local food. Even the wine is from the surroundings and you’ll dine outside with the Arco di Traiano shining down the piazza. It’s called affordable dolce vita glamour 🙂
*most pictures taken by my friend metropolischt