Location

The Reserve covers the middle valley of the river Calore Irpino-Sannita: upstream and downstream and the populated area of Benevento. In addition to the fluvial plain near the city, the environment is made up of hills, not always with gentle slopes, including the ranges of Taburno-Camposauro, Partenio and Matese.

Open to the Public

The Reserve of “Zone Umide Beneventane” (Wetland Area of Benevento) is accessible from various points. However, to appreciate the fluvial area and see the panoramic and geomorphic landscapes with their characteristic flora and fauna, you may benefit from an accompanied visit along certain footpath with members of LIPU from Benevento. Telephone: +39 338 2036978

Directions

From Autostrada (Motorway) A1 Milano-Napoli (Milan-Naples), exit at Caianello and continue to Benevento, driving along the SS 372 (Stade Statale: Road) Telesina, then exit at ‘Benevento Ovest’ (Benevento West) – the first exit for Benevento coming from that direction, also named ‘Stazione’ (Station). Arriving at the gateway to the city centre, follow the directions ‘pista ciclopedonale Paesaggi Sanniti’ (Cycle and Pedestrian track Sanniti Landscape).

From the Motorway A16 Napoli-Canosa-Bari, exit at ‘Benevento’, then travel all the way to the city along the motorway link A16-A1, then take the exit ‘Pietrelcina’ (the third Benevento exit coming from the A16, which is actually the exit ‘Benevento Ovest’ (West). Immediately after, do not follow the directions to ‘paese di Padre Pio (the village of Padre Pio), but turn left towards the Stazione (Station), arriving at the roundabout where the statue of the saint from Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) is situated, follow the arrow ‘‘pista ciclopedonale Paesaggi Sanniti’ (Cycle Path Sanniti Landscape).

From the SS Strade Statale (National Road) Appia, coming from Caserta, approaching Benevento, take the Tangenziale Ovest (The West Orbital Road). Almost immediately entering Benevento – Rione Libertà, take the ramp to the left and follow the directions for ‘Stazione’ (Station) first and then ‘pista ciclopedonale Paesaggi Sanniti’ (Cycle Path Sanniti Landscape).

Area753.72 hectares
emaillipusannio@gmail.com
websitelipubenevento.wordpress.com
Reserve ManagerMarcello Stefanucci
Telephone/Fax+39 338 2036978

Some points of interest and a bit of history

The Benevento section of LIPU has been interested in the river Calore, not be confused with water course of the same name in the province of Salerno, since 2002 because of its naturalistic, geomorphic and landscape features. Over a period of nearly six years, there was a lot of participation in the press, publications and with excursions and events organised in the area, conferences, as well as meetings with assessors, councillors and technical staff from the Province of Benevento. In February 2008 these led, to the creation of ‘Oasi di protezione’ (Protected Reserve) of 853.72 hectares, called the “Zona Umide Beneventane” (Wetland Area of Benevento). It was to be another 5 years before LIPU took over the management of the reserve.

HABITAT AND NATULARISTIC PREDICAMENT

The reserve follows about 15kms of the river Calore, upstream and downstream and in the inhabited centre of Benevento. Within its boundaries there are three interesting hygrophillic woods (i.e. having an affinity for water; capable of interacting with water through hydrogen bonding), of which Pantano-Serretelle is a large area of about 22 hectares, which together with mud and gravel areas like that of the curve of Pezzapiana-Ponticelli attract waders like the Common Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover. Also, there are interesting alluvial plains bordered by large river curves, such as Crocella Pacchiana, Pezzapiana and particularly Pantano, whose place name well describes the characteristics of the site, which when flooded, can be visited at times by birdwatchers due to the spectacular concentration of water birds, which include wild duck like Garganey and Teal. In addition, there are numerous sitings of Grey Herons frequenting the river areas of the reserve. Also, easy to see are members of the Ardea family: Little Egret, and especially, Night Heron. It is less common to glimpse on the river banks: Great White Heron, Purple Heron, Bittern, and the Little Bittern, which are mostly observable during the migration periods.
Other animals which are habitually found along the water course are the Kingfisher, present throughout the year, Moorhen, also always present on the reserve, Little Grebe and Cormorant, present in Winter. River crabs are found along the river Ienga, whose last section before the confluence with the Calore is inside the reserve. The reserve territories are often frequented by raptors like the Buzzard, Kestrel; also, nocturnal raptors: Tawny Owl, Long-eared Owl, Barrows Little Owl, and in Spring and Summer, Scops Owl. Those nesting include Golden Oriole, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Swallow. Other birds that are often observed are the Bee-eater in Summer, Lapwing in Winter, and during the migration periods, large flocks of Cranes fly over and stop on the broad alluvial plain of Pantano. Also interesting is the presence Tree Creeper, Turtle Dove, Wood Pigeon, Jay, Hoopoe.

Facilities and structure

The reserve is crossed in the section at the south of Benevento by a cycle and pedestrian track, developed by the Province of Benevento along a former railway line, for about 7 kms which allows the enjoyment of the fluvial landscape and the hill and mountain environment. From the trail it is possible to take shared access dirt track or secondary roads which carry little traffic, and between them link the surrounding districts flanking farms and old drinking troughs. In addition, starting from the urban centre of Castelpoto, are paths that reach the fluvial part of the reserve downstream in the area of the confluence of the river Ienga.
In the reserve there is also the archaeological Park of Cellarulo, near the city of Benevento, which enables relaxing walks in the greenery in vicinity of the river. The park is currently closed, whilst waiting for the arrangement of hydrogeological work with the subsequent operation of re-naturalisation of an area around the curve of the Calore. After this, it will become usable with the possibility of walking along a natural path equipped with display cases, with panels illustrating the flora and fauna, which will lead the visitors to the nearby river.
In addition, the local branch of LIPU intends to create a visitors’ centre in a former railway toll booth, along the cycle and pedestrian track that crosses the reserve, the management of which they have been entrusted by the Province of Benevento. Campaigners from the Benevento branch are working hard towards reaching this aim.

VISIT THE AREA

The area of the reserve does not only preserve natural and landscape values of importance but also testimony to important historical-archaeological. Within its boundaries there are the remains of three bridges from the Roman era which used to enable some roads, including the consular Via Latina, to reach the ancient Beneventum, an important city half way between Rome and the Adriatic coast, in the direction south, from where the ships for the eastern parts of the empire set off. In the area Cellarulo, there is a complete craft district of the republican and imperial Roman era. In addition, on Monte S. Angelo, a hill covered mostly with oaks just before the river Calore, also within the boundaries of the Reserve, there are the remains of a small old Lombardic church from the VII-VIII century A.D., probably dedicated to S. Michele Archangelo, (Archangel Michael) the saint with the sword, to whom the Lombards were particularly devoted and to whom they transferred the characteristics of the of the war-god Wotan (Odin), worshipped by the Germanic race. Moreover, considering the closeness of the city to the reserve, a visit to the historical centre of Benevento, with a wealth of evidence to its illustrious history is recommended. Among these the Arco di Traiano (Trajan’s Arch), stands out and the Teatro (Theatre) of the Roman era, the Chiesa di S. Sofia (Church of Saint Sophia), a UNESCO heritage site, originally Lombardic with its magnificent Cloister from the XII century where the Museo del Sannio (Sannio Musuem) is sited, the Romanesque façade of the Duomo (Cathedral) with the Romanesque bronze doors, the Hortus Conclusus , with the evocative sculptures of Mimmo Paladino, an artist of international renown of the Tansavanguard period (Transavantgarde or Transavanguardia is the Italian version of Neo-expressionism, an art movement that swept through Italy, and the rest of Western Europe, in the late 1970s and 1980s). Another historical centre of importance, fascinating for its atmosphere of ghostly village, is that of Castelpoto, a Lombardic district from the High Medieval period, from which you can enjoy an exceptional view of the river Calore valley and therefore a lot of the Reserve.