Being a meeting point of six main roads, Beneventum was much visited by travellers. The naturally strong position, protected by the two rivers, and the medieval fortifications, which are nearly 2 miles in length, probably follow the ancient line, which was razed to the ground by Totila.
Not long after it had been sacked by Totila and its walls razed (545), Benevento became the seat of a powerful Lombard duchy. The Dukes immediately walled the city once more and in the early Middle Ages, Benevento was the most important city of southern Italy.
In 758, Desiderius, king of the Lombards, briefly captured Spoleto and Benevento, but with the collapse of the Lombard kingdom in 773, Duke Arechi II was elevated to Prince under the new empire of the Franks. Arechi expanded the Roman city, with new walled enclosures extending onto the level ground southwest of the old city. Benevento continued to be independent until the Normans of Sicily conquered it in 1053. Manfred of Sicily lost his life in 1266 in battle with Charles of Anjou not far from the town.
Benevento passed to the Papacy when the emperor Henry III ceded it to Leo IX in exchange for the bishopric of Bamberg, and was the cornerstone of the Papacy's temporal powers in southern Italy. The principality continued to be a papal possession until 1806, when Napoleon granted it to his minister Talleyrand; in 1815 Benevento was returned to the papacy and finally united to Italy in 1860.