Benevento, Italy

Benevento, Italy

Prior to leaving Rome, we did some side trips- first to Tivoli and then to Ostia Antica. Both sites had cafes that had GF friendly snacks and meals, as well as delicious coffee.

This is what I wrote of our time in Benevento in 2015:

This morning, bright and early, we packed up and left our apartment. It was a bit bittersweet, sad to be leaving but not sad to be leaving the bed. We were out the door at about 7:15 and boarded the metro at 7:25 am. We made our way to Termini which is a metro station underground and above ground it is a huge train station. We got there at about 7:45 and tried to find a bathroom (which took forever) and then our platform.

Once we found the platform we got on, tried to find a place to put my monster of a suitcase. The train (Trenitalia) is quite nice. The seats are not the most comfortable things in the world however they are better than Amtrak and ViaRail (which isn’t hard). The train is a high-speed train and was going about 260km / hour. No one checked our actual ticket until we were on the train, just our seat number. After the train left at 8:04 we waited for someone to come check. About 50 minutes into the trip, a train attendant came and began to check tickets. I had noted to Josh a little while beforehand that I thought everything was going too smoothly and I was apparently correct. We (I) had purchased the tickets from the trains website, which is not the best website I have ever used. The attendant informed us that our tickets were not for today but tomorrow. I was quite sure I put in the right date however it may have absolutely been my fault and not the website’s. Our two options were: 1) pay 176 euro to stay on that train to purchase new tickets or 2) get off at Castera and buy another ticket to Benevento. We were not sure when the next train would be but we opted to get off. We made our way to the ticket booth and said we wanted 2 tickets to Benevento. The woman in the booth sold us two tickets for the train we had previously been on and we ran back and made the train by about 1.5 minutes. So we ended up on our original train and got to Benevento at the time we expected.

The area surrounding the train station is not much to look at. We caught a cab because it was raining, however now having seen what we would have had to walk, I am very glad we did. We arrived at our hotel, Hotel Villa Traiano, located near the arch of Trajan in town, and the hotel is very nice.

Originally, we were given a room in the basement. The room had this smell of this insanely strong perfume / soap. I am super sensitive to that type of thing and develop a migraine very quickly. In addition, we like to have wi-fi in the room and there was none there. We asked to switch and they were great about it. They upgraded us (for free) to a room in the building next door, we got a bigger room and a nicer bathroom. We then took some time to veg around the room for a bit, as we are both pretty exhausted.

Following relax time, we went to venture around the town. The main thing we noticed was that it was empty. We walked by the arch which is in honor of the emperor Trajan and began to see that everything looked closed. We were not sure if this was because it was a Sunday or if because yesterday was a holiday, but no one was around.

We continued to walk through the town and the rain began to come down pretty hard. We found one out of maybe 2 places in the whole town that was open and decided to sit down and have some coffee (and cheese). Josh had an espresso in honor of John as it was specially requested to do so.

After our escape from the rain, we continued to walk alone the desolate streets of Benevento. We came to one of the more scenic spots in the town with a church and a bell tower. The town has a former castle that was built in the 13th century. We wanted to see if it was open, and it was not, like everything else. What we did find was a statue of my wonderful Trajan and a few ancient objects along the way. This led to a path which gave to a pretty nice view of the region.

The other major ancient site attraction in Benevento is the Roman theatre, which was on the other side of the town from us. We walked in the lonely streets, came across an obelisk from a temple of Isis and began to make our way to the closed ruins. Their website said they would be open and to quote Maury ‘that was a lie’.

We then came back to the hotel where we tried to figure out what we would do for dinner if everything was closed. The options were not many however we found one place that said they could make gluten free food. At around 7:30, we began to wander to where google maps had told us this restaurant was. There was nothing there but old apartment buildings and some unfortunate graffiti. We decided before giving up to go back to the town and see if anything had opened its doors since the afternoon and luckily we found that the city comes to life only after the sun has gone down. This was a nice walk back because we got to see a beautiful sunset.

We had a nice dinner at 08cento24-Ristorante Pizzeria. It has a view of the Arch of Trajan. I was lucky in that I had a delicious gluten free pasta and Josh had a regular pizza with 4 cheeses. All in all, we are pretty tired and tomorrow we have another big day. We will be taking the train to Naples to go see the archaeological museum as there are pieces there that will potentially aid me with my thesis.