Ariano Irpino is a town in Campania. It is known as la Città del Tricolle ("the City of the Three Knolls") because it towers on three rounded hills.
Ariano Irpino lies upon the Irpinian Apennines and is almost centred between the Adriatic Sea and the Tyrrhenian Sea. Its population is roughly 22,500 (2017) and its elevation is 788 metres (2,585 ft) above sea level, which brings the town a mild climate in summer and some snow in winter.
It used to be called Ariano or weirdly Ariano di Puglia ("Apulian Ariano"), although it was never part of Apulia. Ariano Irpino was legally granted the status of città ("city") in 1952.
The official and most widely spoken language in Ariano Irpino is Italian. A variety of Irpinian dialect (similar to Neapolitan) is used too. English is the most commonly spoken foreign language, although the average knowledge of English is far from excellent.
The town has very ancient origins, and there are two archaeological sites in the area: the Neolithic village of "La Starza" (the oldest in Campania) and the Roman village of "Aequum Tuticum" (a road junction between the Via Traiana and the Via Herculea). The historical centre of Ariano has medieval origins. Founded by the Lombards, it assumed great importance under the Normans. King Roger II lived there and held the famous "Assizes of Ariano" (in the 12th century). It was devastated by the Saracens of Lucera, but rose again under the Angevins. It was one of the first southern towns to free itself from the feudal yoke (in 1585).
Naples International Airport (NAP IATA) (Aeroporto Internazionale di Napoli, also known as Capodichino Airport) is 100 km away from the town, which is easily accessible via A16 highway. From the airport you can also take an AIR bus for €5; you should buy your ticket at a bar or a kiosk specifying the destination ("Ariano Irpino"). There are several AIR buses on working days and Saturdays, but only a few on Sundays.
Alternatively you can arrive at Napoli Centrale train station and take an AIR bus to Ariano Irpino. You can also get to Foggia railway station and there take an AIR bus to Ariano Irpino, but on working days only.
- 1 Ariano Irpino railway station (Stazione di Ariano Irpino).
AIR bus daily connects the town with Naples, Avellino, Benevento and, on working days, Foggia too. Two companies (Caputo bus, Caruccio bus) connect the town with Rome-Tiburtina train station, but only Caputo arrives right at the Ariano Irpino terminal, while Caruccio stops in the suburbs only.
Ariano Irpino is directly connected with the A16 highway by Grottaminarda junction. The trip takes generally less than 2 hours from Naples or Bari, and at most 3 hours from Rome. Alternatively you can follow the SS 90 road for Foggia and take there the A14 highway for Pescara-Bologna.
Except at peak hours, traffic is flowing and parking is easy and cheap. Most distances in the historic centre are small and can be walked in a matter of minutes: only remember to always look left for incoming cars or motorbikes because circulation follows European standards.
The bus terminal is a 10-minute walk-away, but you can conveniently use the intermediate stops.
There is also Circolare, an urban bus service that connects all points of the town (except the train station), but the frequency is poor (1 every hour on weekdays, 1 every 2 hours on holidays); you will pay €1.20 if you buy the ticket onboard the bus, but only €1 if you buy it at an authorized selling point or tobacco shops (Tabaccheria, easily identified by a big white "T" on a rectangular black field). In any case the validity is one hour.
Despite wars and earthquakes the town retains several historic buildings and ancient sights.
- 1 Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta), Piazza Duomo. The Romanesque cathedral preserves a High-Medieval baptismal font, various artistic works and a silver museum, while nearby are the bishop's palace, many other churches, the diocesan museum and the museum dedicated to Giuseppina Arcucci, founder of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit's nuns.
- 2 Norman Castle (Castello Normanno), Piazza Lusi, ☏ . Tu-Su 10:30-12:30, 17:00-19:00. Founded by the Lombards, this castle became very important under the Normans, when it was the head of a powerful county; there did King Roger II stay and there he held the Assizes of Ariano and coined the ducat. Later the castle was remodeled by the Aragonese and today houses the museum of Norman civilization. All around the castle there is a wide and panoramic public park.
- 3 Palazzo San Giacomo, Via Tranesi. On a cliff overlooking the Irpinian valleys, it used to be a hospital. Thereabouts were many ancient majolica furnaces, and nowadays the building houses a permanent exhibition of majolica art.
- 4 Palazzo Forte, Via D'Afflitto. Home of the European Centre for Norman Studies, and the Archaeological, Civic & Ceramics Museum. The town has a long, ancient history and is still a center of ceramics manufacturing.
- 5 Palazzo Bevere, Via Mancini. It is a majestic building that in 18th century was converted into a high-school complex. Today it hosts a branch of the University of Samnium.
- 6 Norman Civilization Museum, Lusi square (Norman Castle). Set in an evocative historical setting, it houses weapons and artifacts of all kinds dating back to the Middle Ages in general and to the Norman era in particular.
- Civic and Ceramics Museum, Via d'Afflitto (Forte Palace). In addition to numerous prints and period images, the Museum exhibits a wide range of local majolica and ceramics dating back to the 12th century.
- Silver Museum, Piazza Plebiscito (Cathedral Basilica). Inside it houses a good number of ancient finely worked silver works, although the most precious find is a case containing two Holy Thorns of Christ donated to the city by King Charles of Anjou in the 13th century.
- 7 Diocesan Museum, Via Annunziata (at Piazza Duomo). Divided into several sections, the museum contains paintings, textiles, wood and stone from the entire diocese, attested since the 10th century.
- Arcucci Museum, Via Mancini (behind the town hall, at the Sisters of the Holy Spirit), ☏ . Dedicated to the founder of an entire female religious order, it houses ancient monastic finds as well as contemporary artistic works of the missionary field.
- 8 Archaeological Museum, Via Donato Anzani (Forte Palace), ☏ . Next to the Civic Museum, it exhibits archaeological finds from the nearby Valle del Miscano, continuously populated since the Paleolithic.
- Biogeo, Museum of the History of Life and Earth, contrada Camporeale (inside the Biogem research center, 8 km from the centre). This curious museum provides, thanks to paleontological finds, reproductions and multimedia supports, a realistic and compelling picture of the origin and evolution of life on Earth.
- 9 Sanctuary of the Madonna of Valleluogo, Valleluogo district (in a green valley 4 km from the centre, along the provincial road to Montecalvo). Ancient Marian sanctuary built near a water mill after the Madonna appeared to the miller's daughter. The mill is also well preserved and can be visited.
- 10 La Starza, contrada Cristina (12 km from the city centre, along the SS 90 Bis). Neolithic village (near a chalk cliff at 410 m asl), the oldest in Campania, populated continuously from the sixth millennium BC until around 900 BC The area is rich in woods and water (there is also a small lake with the spring spring in use since ancient times) .
- * Aequum Tuticum, contrada S.Eleuterio (16 km from the city centre, along the SS 90 Bis). Ancient Roman village (on a plateau at 575 m asl), at the intersection between the Via Traiana and the Via Herculea. In the early Middle Ages the village, located along the Via Francigena , came back to life, but only for a few centuries. However, nearby it is still possible to admire several majestic medieval farms.
Halfway between the Romanesque Cathedral and the Norman Castle, along via Tribunali street, there is the Communal Cinema-Theatre. Instead the nightclubs are in the suburbs, along the statal road.
- Ariano International Film Festival (AIFF), July and August. International film festival.
- Historical re-enactment of the gift of the Holy Thorns, August. Ancient historical reenactment.
- Pizza party (in Bosco Frólice, a large green area 5 km from the city center). Simple icon time.svg August. Traditional appointment dedicated to good food and excellent company. modification
- Ariano Folkfestival (AFF), August and December. International folk music festival
BioGeM is a university consortium based in Ariano Irpino. Its campus runs master's degrees in biomedical, biochemical and bio-juridical fields. The town is also home to Pegaso e-learning university and the European Center for Norman Studies.
An employment office is available along SS-90 statal road, but if you want to find a job in a short time ask around at the hotels, restaurants, bars and shops. However, learning Italian is a worthwhile activity if you plan to stay in Ariano Irpino for any length of time.
In the historic center there is plenty of small and typical shops, among which the traditional majolica ones stand out. There are important fairs on Palm Sunday, on Sunday in Albis, on June 13th, on July 16th and on November 1st. The weekly market takes place on Wednesday.
Large distribution chains find a place in the outskirts, with two big fairs: on the second Sunday of May in Cardito suburb, and on the first Sunday of August in Martiri suburb.
- La Pignata, a high level restaurant near the bus terminal, offers many typical local products.
- San Domenico, another medium-level restaurant, is just in front of the police station.
- Agrodolce Zincone, the most convenient bistro in the historical centre, next to the Romanic Cathedral
- Pizzerias, delis, rotisseries and pastry shops are everywhere, whereas agritourism accomodations are numerous in the countryside.
The typical place for nightlife movida is around the bars and cafes on Piazza Pasteni, at the terminal bus, becoming busy after about 22:00. If you want to venture to the outskirts of the city, there are many clubs and discos along the statal road.
- 1 Suore dello Spirito Santo (Sisters of Holy Spirit), Via Mancini 16 (behind the town hall building), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheap hostel with refectory, inside a monastery, in the middle of the historic center. The nuns speak English fluently.
A few luxury hotels are instead in the suburbs, along the statal road.
The town has a free network of public Wi-Fi access, which covers several areas in the historic centre with each area being indicated by a special signal.
All around the town there are several medieval villages, each of them with only hundreds or, at most, a few thousand inhabitants. Among them, Zungoli, Savignano Irpino and Greci better retain their ancient shape and the surrounding natural environment.
|Routes through Ariano Irpino|
|Foggia ← merges into ←||NE SO||→ merges into → Benevento → Avellino → Napoli|