Calitri is a small town built upon a pleasant hill overlooking the river Ofanto. Its typical triangular shape resembles the famous city of Positano: for this reason it is often defined as la Positano dell’Irpinia.
What else would you know about Calitri on the internet? You would learn that Calitri is the third largest municipality by area in the province of Avellino; also, it originated in very ancient times and over the centuries a lot of families of noble stock ruled over this territory.
Some interesting information about Calitri that is not available on the internet, but is certainly worth a mention: Calitri is a wonderful small town whose old area is one of the widest and most mysterious places all over Italy. The old part of the town is similar to a striking labyrinth made of tiny little alleys and gorgeous landscapes which can take its visitors back in time.
Calitri offers its visitors lots of beautiful views: surrounded by verdant fields and woods, its old area is characterised by alleys, small squares, peculiar widenings and caves, upon which 18th – 19thcentury noble buildings are built. These buildings have typical entrance gates and stone loggias.
The magazine International Living has awarded Calitri a prize for being a perfect place to live when you retire. Therefore, it has been included in the category “Nine places when you can retire and live like a king”. Thanks to that prize, Calitri is lately experiencing a growing interest from the media and tourists from all over the world.
The earliest human traces in Calitri date back to the Neolithic Age. Some of them, such as flint utensils, are safeguarded in Museo Irpino, located in Avellino.
The name Calitri originates from the Greek place-name “Alètrion”, which derives from the Etruscan
“Alètriom”; in Roman times, it became “Aletrium”, then “Caletrum” and eventually “Calitri”.
Pliny the Elder (23-79 A.D.) proves us the existence of a settlement in Calitri (the Aletrini community) when listing all the different populations in the Irpinia region. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Calitri’s destiny was strictly linked to the feud of Conza, which at that time was a very strategic point in Southern Italy.
In Medieval times, Calitri was one of the many villages under the Longobards. After them, the Normans took power, until the Swabians took their place in all Southern Italy. Under the Normans and the Swabians, the settlement in Calitri flourished and expanded widely.
After the unification of Italy, Calitri shared a similar destiny to any other municipality in the South of Italy: criminality (banditry), out-migration, baronial land command and peasant struggles for the division of land.
During the Thirties, the Town Hall area in Calitri was completely renewed. This project included the creation of Piazza della Repubblica and the erection of massive landslip retaining walls.
On 23rd November, 1980 Calitri was damaged by a terrible earthquake, which destroyed most of the old town centre buildings.
− Calitri today: the town of the wedding celebrations
Calitri has been awarded a sweet meaningful nickname, il paese dello sposalizio, that is «the town of the wedding celebrations». Those weddings took place in a hall, known as La Casa dell’Eca1. Between the Fifties and the Eighties, it was the most representative and symbolic place in the town of the wedding celebrations: it used to be the hall where all the town dwellers celebrated their weddings with joy, happiness and harmony.
As the time went by, those celebrations became part of every inhabitant’s unconscious, till they turned into legends based on a cheerful sense of sharing and exchange.
In August 2013, the singer with Calitrani origins Vinicio Capossela promoted and managed as artistic director the first wedding music festival, Calitri Sponz Fest.
On the occasion of Calitri Sponz Fest, the singer Vinicio Capossela renamed la Casa dell’Eca as la Casa dell’Eco, «Echo house». This nickname originates from the idea of a echoing place where every visitor can still recall ancient memories of those legendary celebrations.
– Facts and Figures
LOCATION: Southern Italy
NAME OF INHABITANTS: Calitrani
MIN ALTITUDE (sea-level): 297 m
MAX ALTITUDE (sea-level): 918 m
ALTITUDE PIAZZA REPUBBLICA: 601 m
AREA: 100,88 sq Km
POPULATION (31/12/2013): 4.921
POP. DENSITY: 49,98/sq. km
RIVERS AND STREAMS: Ofanto, Cortino, Defezze e Orato
NEIGHBOURING MUNICIPALITIES: Andretta (AV), Aquilonia (AV), Atella (PZ), Bisaccia(AV),
Cairano(AV), Pescopagano (PZ), Rapone (PZ), Rionero in Vulture (PZ), Ruvo del Monte (PZ)
MOUNTAIN COMMUNITY: Alta Irpinia
POST CODE: 83045
AREA CODE: 0827
PATRON SAINT: San Canio Martire (25th May)