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Alife, Province of Caserta, Campania, Italy





Situated in the Volturno valley Alife is an important historical and archaeological center. The fertile plain was left from a lake created by the eruptions of the Roccamonfina volcano, and lies below the Matese chain. Today Alife is a thriving agricultural center especially for cereals, olive tree and vineyards which produce a highly celebrated quality of wine, already known to the Romans, called "pallagallo".

Info

Population: ca. 7000 inhabitants -- Zip/postal code: 81011 -- Phone Area Code: 0823

History

The present day town rises on the place of the Roman colony of Alliphae, an important communication center since the 1st century BC. On the origin of Alife there are a number of legends: that it was founded by Noah, or by Hercules, or by the companions of Diomedes returning from the Trojan war, but it is very likely it was established by the Osci people in the 5th century BC. During the second world war, in October1943, the city endured a terrible American bombing which killed half the population and destroyed a great part of the historical center.

What to see

  • the Roman Amphitheater still partly to be excavated, a little distance from the walls along the road to f Telesia, 48 m. by 38, which was the fourth largest amphitheater after the Coliseum and the amphitheaters of Pompei and Capua.
  • the Mausoleum of the Glabrioni Acilis, a rectangular U-shaped gallery, over one hundred meters long, consisting of two vaulted locals connected by 30 arches, with 21 square openings for the light, built mostly in "opus incertum"
  • In Norman times the original Roman walls became a fortress with a castle on one corner. The walls are 2.5 meters thick, and reach a height of 6 mt; every 40 meters there are small sighting towers. Four doors open into the walls, and the main streets (the ancient Roman decumanus and cardo maximus) divide the town into four sections. More parallel streets originally divided the Roman town into 48 rectangular sections. The castle, probably an ancient Languebard garrison, was transformed by the Normans into a fortress with high towers and surrounded by a ditch. After a number of sieges and destruction during the Middle Ages, the castle was finally severely damaged in 1561 by the troops of the Church State, and never restored, so that now only the north-western tower can still be seen. In 2001 among the ruins the circular foundations of a Roman cylindrical tower were found, and it seems more ruins are still to be excavated underground.
  • Cathedral of S. Sisto

Province of Caserta

Events

  • In the first week of September there is the festival of the onion, when typical dishes are served, and dance and competitions are held, among them that for the biggest onion.

Where to stay