1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Nocera Inferiore
NOCERA INFERIORE, formerly Nocera dei Pagani (anc. Nuceria Alfaterna, q.v.), a town and episcopal see of Campania, Italy, in the province of Salerno, at the foot of Monte Albino, 23 m. E.S.E. of Naples by rail, 135 ft. above sea-level. Pop. (1901) 11,933 (town); 20,064 (commune). Nocera is connected with Codola on the line from Naples to Avellino by a branch railway (3 m.). In the old castle Helena, the widow of Manfred, died after the battle of Benevento, and here Urban VI. imprisoned the cardinals who favoured the antipope Clement VII. Two miles to the E. near the village of Nocera Superiore is the circular church of Sta Maria Maggiore, dating from the 4th century. Its chief feature is its dome, ceiled with stone internally, but covered externally with a false roof. It is supported by 40 ancient columns, and in its construction resembles S Stefano Rotondo in Rome. The walls are covered with frescoes of the 14th century.
At an early date the city became an episcopal see, and in the 12th century it sided with Innocent II. against Roger of Sicily, and suffered severely for its choice. A colony of Saracens introduced by Frederick II. probably gave rise to the epithet (“ of the pagans ”) by which it was so long distinguished, as well as to the town of Pagani, which lies about 1 m. to the west. In 1385 Pope Urban VI. was besieged in the castle of Charles of Durazzo. Nocera was the birthplace of Solimena the painter and of Hugo de' Pagani, the founder of the Templars; and in the list of its bishops appears the name of Paulus Jovius.