Montemarano is a town in the province of Avellino, famous for its large chestnut forests, good wine (Taurasi DOCG), Carnival and the "montemaranese", a tarantella dance used since ancient times with mystical-therapeutical purposes, in order to drive away evil spirits.
According to tradition Montemarano was founded by Mario Egnazio, a brave samnite general who managed to stand up the Roman troops near Monte Toro. Episcopal seat in 1059, it lived its most prosperous time during the episcopate of Giovanni, citizen and, later, Patron saint of the town.
Noteworthy is the episode of the "dead from Montemarano", also depicted by Giotto in the frescoes of the Superior Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi: it is said that a noble woman from Montemarano, already passed away, came back to life just the time needed to confession and save her soul.
Sites of interest:
- the beautiful Medieval style historical center, perched on a hill around the castle;
- Montemarano castle, built between V and IV century BC as a Samnite outpost for the control of trade traffic towards Puglia; later it became a Roman "oppidum". It was renovated during the Renaissance period. Numerous owners dwelt within its walls, including Giovan Battista Basile, Montemarano governor between 1615 and 1616, the same period during which he completed the first edition of his masterpiece "Lo Cunto de li Cunti". Today it houses the Wine Museum.
- the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, one of the oldest church in Irpinia region. Despite numerous renovations, it still preserves Romanesque style columns; the façade has three portals and an imposing bell-tower. Inside there is a valuable painting attributed to Guido Reni's school, a fine XV century wood chair, the Choir and Organ (XVIII century), the Episcopal Throne and three paintings by Andrea Vaccaro. Moreover, during the last renovation works, Medieval columns and capitals were found in the crypt.
- the Church of Purgatorio, built in the first years of the XVIII century, today hosts the Museum of Sacred Fabric and Hanging.
- the Ethnomusical Museum.