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81.5 km - Altitude gain 2600mt

Benevento - Cusano Mutri (Bocca della Selva)

Benevento -

Cusano Mutri

(Bocca della Selva)

Tuesday 14  May 2024 81.5km Altitude gain 2600mt
Stage suitable for: Experts

Withdrawals: 0

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Population: 56.600


The Achae hero Diomedes, in 1200 B.C. returning from the Trojan War, traveled across the Mediterranean founding cities and also founded Benevento.
In reality, the city has had five denominations: Maloeis, in Oscan language; Maleonton, of Greek origin; Maleventum, by the Romans; Beneventum, as transformed by the Romans themselves after the battle against Pyrrhus in 275 B.C.; finally Benevento.


City of the five dominations.
The Samnite domination from the 8th to the 3rd century B.C. during which the power of Rome was defeated and humiliated in the famous battle of the Caudine Forks.
Roman domination from the 3rd century B.C. to the 6th century A.D. during which Benevento became the most important city in southern Italy with 250,000 inhabitants, with the Imperial Gladiator School; it was the center of the Mediterranean’s major traffic, doubling the Appian Way from here to Brindisi.
Longobard domination from the 6th to the 11th century in which Benevento was the capital of the Longobardia of the south.
The domination of the Kingdom of the Church from 1077 to 1861.
The city gave birth to 3 popes – Felice VI, Vittore III, and Gregory VII – but considers its second founder Vincenzo Maria Orsini who was Archbishop of the city for 38 years and, when he became Pope with the name Benedict XIII, unlike the other Popes who become Bishops of Rome, wanted to remain Bishop of Benevento.
Finally, the domination of the Kingdom of Italy.


Cardoon at Christmas is a typical cardoon soup from Benevento.
Soups, lasagna, mugliatielli, and cod are the dishes of Samnite tradition.

Local wines

Benevento was the European Capital of Wine in 2019; it is the territory of “Sannio Falanghina”, with its excellent white, red, and rosé wines and its brut.
It produces the famous Strega Liquor, known throughout the world since 1860, the year before the unification of Italy.

Points of interest

Arch of Trajan.
Roman Theater.
Sannio Museum.
Arcos Museum.
The obelisk of the neo-Egyptian temple of the Goddess Isis.

Benevento is an open-air museum with many inclusions in the walls of houses such as statues, columns, bas-reliefs, capitals, and epigraphs.
Walking through the city is a continuous discovery; it is advisable to follow themed routes such as “The circuit of the 4 Emperors”, “The path of the Witches”, “The course of the Gladiators”, “Discovering the secrets of Isis”.

Cusano Mutri (Bocca della Selva)


According to historians, Cusano Mutri, the pearl of the Matese Regional Park, has roots dating back to the Samnite period. With the unification of Italy, Cusano acquired the appellation of “Mutri” and moved under the jurisdiction of the province of Benevento. Several bands of rebels were recorded in the area, which were formed to fight ”the Piedmontese invasion”. Today, Cusano, a renowned tourist destination, defined as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, welcomes visitors with its proverbial hospitality, its thousand-year-old history, its typical flavours and ancient traditions.


The historical centre of Cusano Mutri is an intricate and fascinating maze of streets, alleyways, widenings and imposing local stone stairways which wait only to be explored.

  • The Calvary Mount: north-west of the historical centre of Cusano Mutri rises the hill of Mount Calvary, on top of which is the Church of the Holy Cross. A winding path between rocks and trees starts from the Chapel Bridge, along which visitors can admire ceramic votive chapels depicting the Way of the Cross. At the top, the view sweeps over the entire Cusano valley.
  • The Holy Thorn: the church of San Giovanni Battista in Cusano Mutri contains a wooden thorn that has always been believed to come from the crown of Christ. It is about 2.5 centimetres long and tradition has it that this thorn, along with two others, was brought here by a crusader, a certain Barbato Castello, returning from the Holy Land. The population used to worship the Holy Thorn, held in supreme veneration, and expose it in difficult times (earthquake, pestilence, famine). Even today, on 3 August each year, at the crack of dawn, a penitential procession, deeply felt by the locals, moves from the Church of St John the Baptist to the Church of Santa Croce al Monte Calvario.
  • The Infiorata Festival: for more than a century, on Corpus Christi day, Cusano Mutri has had the tradition of decorating the streets, squares and churches of the town, covering them with paintings made from flower petals and herbs and vegetables.
  • The Race of the Chariots: a summer event of simple but ancient origins. It is a sport practised by young people at an amateur level. The “chariots”, consisting of a wooden platform, two axles and four ball bearings, race down the approximately 800 metre downhill course, starting from the Town Hall area and ending in Piazza Orticelli where the finish line is located.
  • The Mushroom Festival: beginning on the fourth weekend in September, this is the main event of the fall season. The festival (so-called “sagra”) does not only offer good food, but also excursions, guided tours of the old town, horse riding, exhibitions on mushrooms, art shows, lots of music and a delightful street market.
  • The Chestnut Festival: held in October in the village of Civitella Licinio. The event attracts many enthusiasts eager to taste delicious dishes and chestnut delicacies from the renowned chestnut groves surrounding the area. Exhibitions, musical events and excursions are not missing.
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