Between the provinces of Benevento and Avellino the vegetation is particularly lush, favored by the abundant rains which fall here during great part of the year. A gentle and relaxing panorama from the slopes of the Apennines to the plains to the west, towards the Tyrrhenian coast; this is the land known as "Irpinia", the province of Avellino, the air of which is laced with the scents of sweet liqueur, fine wine, and delicious pastries made of almond and honey.

Irpinia, land of wolves, or "hyrpus'" in the tongue of the primitive Osci tribes who used to inhabit this wooded territory. The wolf has become symbol of the province of Avellino. Here, each and every town boasts its own gastronomic tradition, a unique recipe, a fascinating tale.

Our journey starts at the Ospedaletto d'Alpinolo, a charming medieval village, where to taste the "cupeto" a crunchy concoction of almonds, hazelnuts and honey, known since the times of Marziale.

From Ospedaletto, Mercogliano is within easy reach. A town of some 12 thousands inhabitants situated right in the center of Campania, Mercogliano is an ideal point of departure for those wishing to visit any of the region's most popular sites, from Pompei, Herculaneum and the Amalfi Coast to Naples, Sorrento, Caserta and Benevento, all of which served by the nearby motorways. The surrounding landscape is made up of hills and, in the distance, the great forms of Partenio and the Monti Picentini, mountains where to enjoy moments of relaxation and wellbeing.

From Mercogliano, by way of a funicular railway, visitors reach the Sanctuary of Montevergine, founded by St Guglielmo da Verceli in the 12th century and one of the most visited sites in the whole of Campania. The Sanctuary of Montevergine is the final destination of numerous pilgrimages, especially during the summer months when the mountain location offers welcome respite from the heat. Palazzo Abbaziale di Loreto, once the winter residence of the Abbot of Montevirgine, houses a valuable library, open to the public and more than worthy of visit.

Between Avellino and Atripalda, just a few kilometers away from Mercogliano, one finds the heart of Irpinia's wine production, a territory which has given birth to three different types of wine; Taurasi, Fiano d'Avellino and Greco di Tufo. These three Docg of Campania are amongst the most highly considered of all the Southern Italian wines: the full bodied red Taurasi, obtained from the aglianico grape, the white Fiano wine, with a latin name used to distinguish it from that produced from the vines of Greek origin; the Greco di Tufo, which provides the perfect accompaniment to fish and sea food, soft and unseasoned cheeses, and risottos. The sparkling version, or "spumante", is particularly suitable as an aperitif served with cold cuts.
The Greco di Tufo is produced over an extensive territory, involving a great number of the towns of Irpinia and touching some areas of the province of Benevento.

At the foot of the Terminio mountain (1805m) lies Serino; town famous for its fresh water springs and its chestnuts. The chestnuts of Serino are divided in two highly prized qualities: Verdole and Montemarano. The local authorities of Serino have realised a Nature Park close to the SP22 highway which leads from Serino to Giffoni Valle Piana, to the left of the Sabato river and at the foot of a steep mountain which towers over 1300 meters above sea level. The Park is part of a larger project, that of The Regional Nature Park of Monti Picentini, and features a great number of fascinating nature walks.

Chestnut trees producing the Pallumina variety of the fruit, cover the mountains surrounding Montella; a town reached via the Ofantina highroad which links Irpinia with Apulia and the Basilicata. A territory characterised by thick woodland but also lush green pastures, grazed by cows the milk of which is used to produce excellent cheeses such as Caciocavallo Silano Dop and Manteca.

The cuisine of Irpinia is particularly tasty and full of flavour; renowned for its cheeses, lamb, and beef both fresh and seasoned, and cold meats including the fabulous dyed sausage of Montecalvo. Those interested in traditional food fairs, should head for Bagnoli Irpino, just a few kilometers from Montella and in the heart of the Regional Park of Monti Picentini, overlooking the Calore valley, where, in October, an important chestnut and truffle fair is held. The black truffle is used frequently in a variety of local dishes.

Just off the Ofantina highroad, in the high valley of the Sele and perched on the hill of Materdomini one finds the Sanctuary of San Gerardo Maiella, founded in 1748 by Sant Alfonso de' Liguori. It has been calculated that up to a million pilgrims visit the sanctuary each year. In 1974 an impressive new sanctuary in neoclassical style was constructed here. Just 6 years later, in 1980, a devastating earthquake completely destroyed the building.
Such was the damage that many years passed before rebuilding work was completed and, in fact, it was not until the year 2000 that the house of worship was finally reopened and the skilfully restored original alters could once more be admired.
The urn containing the body of the saint is situated at the feet of the presbytery, in front of which there is a marble sculpture depicting San Gerardo amongst his followers, a reminder of the missionary work which led to his being canonized by Pope Pio X in 1904.

Our journey draws to a close at Sant'Angelo dei Lombardi, founded by the Lombards. Ancient bishopric and famous for the Goleto Abbey which came to it being known as "the Assisi of Irpinia". The abbey is one of the most enchanting and most frequently visited places in the whole of the Campania region. Of certain interest, the Torre Febronia, built in Romanesque style, the funeral chapel and the chapel of San Luca. The abbey is now run by the Piccoli Fratelli di Charles de Foucald.