Despite the ring of drab modern housing blocks that announces Benevento, the city boasts a lovely centre peppered with remnants of its ancient past. Nestled in the green hills of the Apennines, it was originally known as Maleventum but was renamed Beneventum after the Romans ousted the Samnites in 275 BC. Its golden age came around the 8th century when it controlled much of southern Italy as a Lombard duchy. In the 11th century it was transferred to the control of the papacy and remained mostly under papal rule until 1860.
The helpful tourist office (