The distinction we are making here between 'upper' and 'lower' Salomoni is useful, but not really traditional. Usually, people from Cervinara consider the bulk of Salomoni to consist only of its lower half, the one that stretches along Corso Napoli
, and forgetting that the real ancient core is located behind it.
The Corso is part of a road previously considered of national relevance, which connects the centre of Rotondi (and beyond) with Avellino and the sanctuary of Montevergine, and here runs just at the edge of ancient Salomoni. This area has been heavily built up and rearranged probably between the 17th and the 18th century. While upper Salomoni were born as clusters of housing for poor peasants, the main street was to host the residences of the wealthy classes, mostly landlords, and their small shops.I Salomoni [Cervinaracity]
A few notes about Salomoni by the local writer Angelo Renna. They cover especially the strip of the richer buildings.
People from Cervinara don't have a name for this building: they usually identify it as the one featuring an entrance portal made by Luigi Vanvitelli, the famous architect of the majestic royal palace of Caserta. This baroque portal is indeed impressive — possibly the best of Valle Caudina — but apparently its designer is uncertain.
Marchese is the name of the family associated to the building according to what I have been told by a person living there, but I don't know whether they were the historical owners. The building is, overall, a pretty elegant, yet sober, residential edifice.
Front of the building
Finelli and Marchese buildings are delimited in an unusual way, so that the room above Marchese's portal belongs to Finelli house.
The entrance to the building is a complex baroquely decorated archway, and most people are sure that its has been sculpted according to drawings of Luigi Vanvitelli (1700-1773), an architect whose most famous invention is the royal palace of Caserta not far from Naples. He also left a significant heritage around Benevento, and elsewhere in the region.
The staircase of the courtyard
Marchese building surrounds its courtyard from three sides (the fourth is delimited by the Finelli house). As it is the case with lots of similar buildings, the courtyard is enriched with carefully finished lime stones, and a modular repetition of arches and portals marks the internal subdivision of the building.
After a junction with a road leading away from the centre, the main street takes the name of Via Roma
— typical of the names the Fascist regime imposed for high streets — and leads towards an area called Pontocampo: this is a former portion of countryside that only in the 1910s has been arranged as a new urban area, adjoining the two old casali
of Salomoni and Trescine. This initiative was part of a series of big public works promoted by the mayor Domenico Clemente.
The plan arranged the new housing all around a big market square (Piazza Mercato
. A bulky, symmetrical edifice at its bottom, completed in 1917, hosted the town's school and served as an imposing background for the garden; but it was torn down after 1980 as part of the post-earthquake redevelopment plans.
The market square is now employed as the town's Public garden
), and is the very centre of Cervinara, especially as a youths' hangout. All around it, indeed, several bars and other venues have been established; more generally, most of the shops of Cervinara are along this road.
Picture of the old school building [Facebook]
Monumento ai caduti
The monument to the war victims was inaugurated on 17 August 1930 in the market square, in front of the school building that does not exist any more; and represents the virtues of "Homeland, Family and Religion". It has been sculpted by Onorio Ruotolo (1888-1966), an emigrant from Cervinara to New York City who had there a significant role in the art environment.
The story of the monument is, in fact, all about Cervinaresi
in NYC: it was promoted and inaugurated by Gaetano Clemente (1865-?), a successful building contractor whose company erected several relevant buildings of the growing city. Clemente collected funding for the war memorial during events that the emigrants from Cervinara attended in 1927-28; as a touch of colour, it is reported that multiple people never made the donation they previously promised.
Onorio Ruotolo [Wikipedia]
Summary of Ruotolo's artistic work, critic and literary activity.
Entrance to the public gardens, with the war memorial in the background
The public garden is a wide rectangle, enclosed in a gate and partitioned into three equal strips. The middle one is basically a square leading to the war memorial, regularly employed for summer events; the side ones are instead big flowerbeds, including tall trees, benches, drinking and ornamental fountains. Behind the war memorial there was the primary school completed in 1917: that area is now occupied by the town's post office and a playground.
The overall height of the war memorial is about 17 m. Its message is quite immediate: a young man that, with great dignity, accepts to fight for the homeland and its values, symbolized by the figure behind him, passing him a sword.
Monument to the Caudine Forks
Cervinara participated to the pride for the Caudine Forks episode as well as the entire valley, with this sculpture placed in front of the entrance to the public garden. It has been made in 2010 by the local artist Carmine Lengua, who contributed several other works in town.
A fountain in the public garden