The north-western neighbourhoods of Forchia are not geographically part of the Valle Caudina, as they are located outside its entrance, the Saddle of Arpaia: they can be rather considered as the eastern extreme of another, smaller valley, named Valle di Suessola. Looking at this area from North to South, one first encounters a series of high grounds, called the Cugniuolo, half-covered by olive groves. These slopes decline and reach the valley bottom, consisting mostly of farmland. At its bottom the Appian Way runs, leading from the city of Caserta to the Saddle of Arpaia. Here some small suburbs were born; the main one, called Cagni
, is roughly one century old and features a small Church dedicated to Saint Alphonsus.
Church of Sant'Alfonso Maria de' Liguori
Chiesa di Sant'Alfonso Maria de' Liguori
This small and simple church was built along the Appian Way, at its crossing with the road leading to the centre of Forchia. The church was built during the 19th century, but it became Parish church only in 1959. After the 1980 earthquake that damaged most buildings in this area, it has been kept closed for 12 years.
The church has a unique nave with a frescoed ceiling. The altar is located in a distinguished environment, under a dome; behind it is a half-circle-shaped apse. The bell tower ends with a pear-shaped roofing, quite common in this region of Italy. Originally it was covered with a pattern of yellow and green ceramic shingles. There is a small park aside the church, along the road to Forchia.
The church as seen from the Appian Way
The apse and the main altar
Statue of St. Clement
Statue of St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787) has been bishop of Sant'Agata de' Goti for 13 years. During this time he showed a big commitment in constrasting a famine (1764), and for this reason he is very dear to the former Diocese of Sant'Agata (now part of the Diocese of Cerreto Sannita), of which Forchia was part.
Fresco on the ceiling: St. Alphonsus takes care of Pope Clement XIV
This fresco represents a prodigy that Alphonsus de Liguori is supposed to have performed while bishop in Sant'Agata: he was seen at the same time sitting in Sant'Agata, and comforting Pope Clement XIV, who was about to die, in Rome.
Glimpse on the upper façade and the bell tower
The façade is decorated in a simple neoclassical style. A portrait of Saint Alphonsus, realized in ceramic tiles, has been placed in an oval between the tympanum and the door.
The church seen from the park on the rear
A WWII machine gun kept in the park
It is quite common that wrecks of weapons and vehicles used during the World War II are kept in public areas.
As one moves southward to Forchia's town centre, the ground level rises again. The most evident plantations in the whole area are, in addition to olives, cherry trees—indeed a festival of the cherries is held in Forchia every year. In the westmost portion, called Rella, a small industrial area was built, as well as the town cemetery, and surprisingly the main meeting hall of the Jehovah's witnesses in the whole Campania region. Here some archaeological discoveries testify the existence of a Roman villa with some tombs attached; more have been found near the valley bottom.