Situated in a hollow surrounded by mountains, the city still conserves a vast historical and archaeological heritage. Its origins are uncertain although legend says that Benevento originates from the hero Diomedes, who arrived in Italy after the destruction of Troy. With no monumental finds, only a few ceramics and bronzes from the VIII and VII centuries B.C. have been found from the pre-Roman period, suggesting an Osco or Sannite settlement.
Mentioned for the first time in 297 B.C. during the third Sannite war, Maleventum changed its name to Beneventum after the Roman victory over Pyrrhus in 275 B.C. The importance of the town grew thanks to its strategic position along the Via Appia and with the building of the via Traiana, which linked it directly to the Adriatic. Towards the end of the republican age, Benevento was described as one of the most prosperous cities in the South. An earthquake in 369 A.D. almost completely destroyed it and from that time a slow and relentless decline began.
Destroyed and pillaged more than once, it was razed to the ground by another earthquake in 1688 and rebuilt thanks to Benedict XIII. The Arch of Traiano, one of the best preserved honorary Roman arches, the Roman Theatre, with its diameter of 90 meters which could seat 10,000 spectators, the ancient Duomo, the first foundations of which date back to the VII century, the Longobard church of Saint Illario and the monastery of Saint Sofia, consecrated in 762, which became one of the most powerful in southern Italy, are proof of the greatness of the city.