VOLTURNO (anc. Volturnus, from where, to roll), a river of central Italy, which rises in the neighbourhood of Alfedena in the central Apennines of Samnium, runs S. as far as Venafro, and then S.E. After a course of some 75 m. it receives, about 5 m. E. of Caiazzo, the Galore, only 3 m. less in length.which runs first N. and then W., and after 37 m. reaches Benevento, near which it receives several tributaries; then curves round the mountain mass to the N. of the Caudine Forks, and so beyond Telese joins the Volturno. The united stream now flows W.S.W. past Capua (anc. Casiiinum) , where the Via Appia and Latina joined just to the N. of the bridge over it, and so through the Campanian plain, with many windings, into the sea. The direct length of the lower course is about 31 m., so that the whole is slightly longer than that of the Liri, and its basin far larger. The river has always had considerable military importance, and the colony of Volturnum (no doubt preceded by an older port of Capua) was founded in 194 B.C. at its mouth on the S. bank by the Romans; it is now about one mile inland. A fort had already been placed there during the Roman siege of Capua, in order, with Puteoli, to serve for the provisioning of the army. Augustus placed a colony of veterans here. The Via Domitiana from Sinuessa to Puteoli crossed the river at this point, and some remains of the bridge are visible. The river was navigable as far as Capua.
On [the 1st of October 1860 the Neapolitan forces were defeated on the S. bank of the Volturno, near S. Maria di Capua Vetere, by the Piedmontese and Garibaldi's troops, a defeat which led to the fall of Capua. (T. As.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)