In ancient times the beauty of Mount Taburno was known and celebrated by such poets as Virgil, who stopped there onhis journey to Brindisi together with Horace and Meacenas, Varo, Fronteio,Filippo Ferrari, Cluverius and others. The mountain rises at the centre of the Sannio region, creating the ideal divide between the valleys: Valle Caudina,Valle Telesina and the Valle del Tammaro.
The south-western side rises with steepand deeply grooved rock faces above the Valle Caudina, the site of ancient Roman settlements. The eastern face slopes down into a series of hills thattake on the shape of a big sleeping woman with loose hair, commonly known as"La dormiente del Sannio- Thesleeping woman of the Sannio," as far as the Benevento hollow which iscrossed through by the Calore River. At its base, gush the copious springs of the Fizzo, which at one time fed the waterfalls in the Royal Park of the Palace of Caserta. At more than one thousand metres is the State Forest of the Taburno, one of the jewels of Taburno Park, with remarkably tall specimens of white pine and beech trees with straight and majestic trunks.
With its rich vegetation, healthy air and scenic views, the Taburno Park is one of the most evocative mountain spots in the Sannio region, an opportunity for excursions and walks that should not bemissed. Wine lovers too will be able to quench their thirst with the excellent Aglianicodel taburno, a full-bodied redconsidered to be one of the aristocratic wines of southern Italy.
Going toward the Irpinia region, on the slopes of Mount Sassetano, it is definitely worth making a visit to the municipality of Montella, which boasts a highly respectable historical andartistic heritage. Not to be missed are the remains of the Castello del Monte, first a Roman fortalice (small fort), then a Lombard bastion protecting the border between the Salerno and Benevento regions, the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria del Piano with its finely decorated sixteenth century gate, and finally, the Sanctuary of San Salvatore. This sanctuary is situated at a thousand metres of altitude in a panoramic position, and is a destination for religious pilgrimages. Those who visit in the autumn months must taste the crunchy and delicious local chestnuts. The Montello variety, famous for its quality and strong ties to the area, is also an Igp product protected by the European Community.
Continuing the trip toward the Salerno region, at approximately 20 km from the city of Salerno we come to Giffoni, a municipality fall of churches, piazzas, and charming views. Each year between July and August, Giffoni attracts thousands of visitors who come for the famousFestival italiano del Cinema per Ragazzi- Italian Cinema Festival for Youth. But Giffoni is not only about cinema. It is also a centre with a wealth of history and art surrounded by uncontaminated nature. Situated on the slopes of Mount Acellica, which is now part of the Picentini Mountains National Park, is La Grotta dello Scalandrone - the Grotto of the Gangplank, an ancient refuge for brigands and a paradise for spelunkers. Theartistic patrimony also includes the noteworthy Chiesa Madre della SS. Annunziata, which has the privilege of guarding a thorn from the Crown of Jesus. No itinerary through Giffoni is complete without trying a unique and unmistakable product: Nocciola di Giffoni - the Giffoni hazelnut, which also carries the Igp brand, and which, thanks to its pale, dense and aromatic meat, is one of themost highly esteemed varieties on the Italian peninsula.