Avellino listen (help·info) is a town and comune, capital of the province of Avellino in the Campania region of southern Italy. It is situated in a plain surrounded by mountains 50 kilometres (31 mi) northeast of Naples and is an important hub on the road from Salerno to Benevento.
Before the Roman conquest, the ancient Abellinum was a centre of the Samnite Hirpini, located on the Civita hill some 4 kilometres (2 mi) outside the current town, in what is now Atripalda. The city could correspond to the ancient Velecha, documented by coins found in the area. Abellinum was conquered by the Romans in 293 BC, changing name several times in the following centuries (Veneria, Livia, Augusta, Alexandriana, and Abellinatium). However, the construction of a true Roman town occurred only after the conquest by Lucius Cornelius Sulla in 89 BC.
The town was Christianized around 500 AD, becoming an episcopal seat. There followed the invasions of the Goths and Vandals. After the Lombard conquest of southern Italy, the ancient city was abandoned (it is disputed if completely or partly), and a new settlement grew on the Terra hill, corresponding to the modern Avellino. Defended by a castle, it became part of the Duchy (later Principality) of Benevento and, after the latter's fall, of the Principality of Salerno.
In 1100, during the Norman rule of southern Italy, it was acquired by Riccardo dell'Aquila. Later, King Charles I of Anjou assigned it to the Montfort family, who were succeeded by the Del Balzo and the Filangieri.
The feudal rights to Avellino were purchased in 1581 by Don Marino I Caracciolo, duke of Atripalda, of a patrician family of Naples, who was made Prince of Avellino in 1589. Avellino became the main seat of the Caracciolo. Don Marino’s son and grandson were consecutively Grand Chancellor of the Kingdom of Naples and chevaliers of the Order of the Golden Fleece. The grandson, Don Marino II (1587–1630), was the patron of Giambattista Basile, author of the Pentamerone.
In 1820 Avellino was seat of revolutionary riots. However, the Unification of Italy some fifty years later did not bring any benefit to the city, being cut off from the main railway line Naples-Benevento-Foggia, and far from the sea as well.
In 1943 the city was bombed by Allied planes in an attempt to cut off the retreat of German panzer units over the important Bridge of Ferriera.