Venafro Molise

Venafro is situated at the foot of Mount Santa Croce. Venafro can be divided into two distinct areas: the old town, of Roman origin, enclosed by walls and dominated by Castle Pandone, and new town that has several newly developed neighborhoods. The old town was built on the existing Roman urban structure. The upper floors of buildings are residences, while the lower floor of the premises are used as shops.

Main sights

Castle Pandone. Built in the highest part of the city, it derives its name from the Lombards who built it on an older fortification in the 10th century. In the 14th century it was expanded with the addition of three circular towers, and was transformed in the 15th century by adding a moat. Frescoes depicting horses, commissioned by Count Enrico Pandone, were added during the Renaissance. Currently, the halls of this castle have hosted an art gallery in which paintings are collected from several different churches abandoned or closed in Venafro.

There are the still visible remains of the Roman elliptical amphitheater. It is believed that the stands could hold up to 15,000 spectators.

The Roman Theater. In the town center are visible traces of a Roman aqueduct, , the walled city of the Samnites dating from the 4th century BC and one polygonal Samnite structure of the 1st century BC. Of Roman origin is the “Torricella”, a fortified structure recently restored to its former glory. Other monuments include “Market Tower” (Palazzo Caracciolo), a defensive structure with its massive medieval battlements. Due to a large number of churches in the area Venafro was given the nickname “The city of 33 churches.” These are many churches of various sizes and ages in the historic center and in the foothills area. Unfortunately, many places of worship are now closed and abandoned.

The Cathedral. The greatest cathedral of the city is situated at the foot of Parco Oraziano. Dating from the 5th century.

The Church of the Annunciation. The church is an example of Baroque architecture built in the 14th century, and has been repeatedly amended over time. The single nave interior preserves a crucifix of the 14th century.

In an 18th century monastic structure houses the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Santa Chiara.

The French Military Cemetery. Along Highway 85 to Isernia, on an extended flat area is the French war cemetery in which are buried about 4,500 (but many have been exhumed) soldiers.

The Parco Oraziano behind the city’s cathedral became the Regional Agricultural Historical Olive Park of Venafro. A regional law aimed at establishing a protected area to preserve the heritage of Venafro’s olives and olive trees. The Regional Agricultural Historical Olive Park of Venafro is the first park in the Mediterranean area with an olive theme.

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