This article is about the town in Italy. For other uses, see Avella (disambiguation).
Comune di Avella

Coat of arms

Location of Avella in Italy

Coordinates: 40°57′36″N 14°36′5″E / 40.96000°N 14.60139°E / 40.96000; 14.60139
Country Italy
Region Campania
Province / Metropolitan city Avellino (AV)
Frazioni Purgatorio
  Mayor Domenico Biancardi
  Total 30.38 km2 (11.73 sq mi)
Elevation 126 m (413 ft)
Population (1 May 2009)
  Total 7,839
  Density 260/km2 (670/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Avellani
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 83021
Dialing code 081
Patron saint Saint Sebastian
Saint day 20 January
Website Official website

Avella (Latin: Abella; Greek: Ἀβέλλα) is a city and comune in the province of Avellino, in the Campania region of Italy.


Could be related to the Indo-European root *h₂ebōl, *h₂ebl (apple), meaning "place where apple-orchards originated" (read below).[1]


The ancient Abella was a medium importance center of the Samnites, and then the Romans, about 10 kilometres (6 mi) northeast of Nola. It had a rather large amphitheater, similar to that of Pompeii.[2]

According to Justin,[3] it was a Greek city of Chalcidic origin, which would lead us to suppose that it was a colony of Cumae: but at a later period it had certainly become an Oscan town, as well as the neighboring city of Nola. It must have been at one time a place of importance. Strabo and Pliny both notice it among the inland towns of Campania; and though we learn from the Liber de Coloniis, that Vespasian settled a number of his freedmen and dependants there, yet it appears, both from that treatise and from Pliny, that it had not then attained the rank of a colony, a dignity which we find it enjoying in the time of Trajan. It probably became such in the reign of that emperor.[4]

Virgil and Silius Italicus considered that its territory was not fertile in corn, but rich in fruit-trees (maliferae Abellae): the neighborhood also abounded in filberts or hazelnuts of a very choice quality, which were called from thence nuces Avellanae.[5] By antonomasia, the namesake came to define hazelnuts in general. Still in Spanish, in Portuguese and in Occitan the hazelnut is respectively called avellana, avelã and avelano. That is also the case of ancient Italian avellana, which, however, is not in use anymore.

The modern town of Avella is situated in the plain near the foot of the Apennines; but the remains of the ancient city, still called Avella Vecchia, occupy a hill of considerable height, forming one of the underfalls of the mountains, and command an extensive view of the plain beneath; hence Virgil's expression despectant moenia Abellae. The ruins are described as extensive, including the vestiges of an amphitheatre, a temple, and other edifices, as well as a portion of the ancient walls.[6]

Main sights

Relics of antiquity discovered here include a long inscription in the Oscan language, which records a treaty of alliance between the citizens of Abella and those of Nola. It dates (according to Mommsen) from a period shortly after the Second Punic War, and is not only curious on account of details concerning the municipal magistrates, but is one of the most important auxiliaries we possess for a study of the Oscan language.[2]

Nearby is the Grotto of the Camerelle di Pianura, a Karst grotto. Medieval sights include the church of Santi Martiri Nazario e Celso, built in the 9th to 11th centuries


Avella has a station on the Circumvesuviana line Naples Porta Nolana-Baiano.


  1. "Pokorny etyma, PIE Etymon and IE Reflexes". Indo-European Lexicon. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  2. 1 2 Bunbury 1856.
  3. Bunbury 1856 cites Justin xx. 1
  4. Bunbury 1856 cites Plin. iii. 5. § 9; Ptolemy iii. 1. § 68; Lib. Colon. p. 230; Gruter. Inscr. p. 1096, 1; August Wilhelm Zumpt, De Coloniis, p. 400.
  5. Bunbury 1856 cites Virgil Aeneid vii. 740; Silius Italicus viii. 545; Plin. xv. 22; Serv. ad Georg. ii. 65.
  6. Bunbury 1856 cites Francesco Maria Pratilli, Via Appia, p. 445; Lupuli, Iter Venusin. p. 19; Romanelli, vol. iii. p. 597; Henry Swinburne, Travels, vol. i. p. 105.


External links

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