Appealing BENEVENTO was another important Roman settlement, a key point on the Via Appia between Rome and Brindisi and, as such, a thriving trading town. Founded in 278 BC, it was at the time the farthest point from Rome to be colonized, and even now it has a remote air about it, circled by hills and with a centre that was (pointlessly) bombed to smithereens in the last war and even now seems only half rebuilt. Its climate also ranks among southern Italy’s most extreme.

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20 picturesque Christmas destinations

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Discovering Palermo: why you should give Sicily’s capital a chance

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