I love Campania. Let’s be real, there’s not a region in Italy I don’t love. They all have their own personality, their own culture, cuisine, language and fascino (charm).
But Campania, oh Campania…it is truly a particularly special place.
It has been conquered at least 10 times from antiquity to the 1860s with the unification of Italy (which was more of a forced family reunion than a willing marriage of cultures) and was a crossroad for people from all over the Mediterranean region, who brought their own flavor, color and personality, and left a little of it behind when they left.
It was the favored vacation spot for emperors, kings, queens and popes, which has lent it an air of luxury that remains even today for anyone who visits. Trust me, sipping prosecco overlooking the Amalfi Coast will make anyone feel like royalty.
It has art, poetry, hauntingly beautiful music, fashion and theater. Every city, from Naples to Salerno, Caserta to Benevento and Avellino, has something to offer that is unique and reflects the varied personality of the region.
It has mountains, plains and one of the most beautiful seas you’ll ever experience in your life. It has Capri and Ischia, sun kissed islands of delight and beauty. And Pompeii, who could forget Pompeii, still today, cradled in the foothills of Vesuvius, at once a symbol of pride, fear and fatalism in the region.
It has mystery and intrigue, rituals and rites, superstition and, yes, one of the most well known organized crime organizations in the world. Its people express joy, sadness, defeat and victory in ways that I have never seen anwhere else. They will welcome into their homes and their hearts with sincerity and gusto, asking, “have you eaten?” “you’re so skinny!” And my personal favorite, “Sit down, I’ll make us a coffee.” The entire holiday season I am highly over-caffeinated with all the visits to family and friends.
It has some of the best food in the world, and is the birthplace of Pizza, Mozzarella di Bufala and the Sfogliatella – what’s not to love about that, am I right??
Oh yeah, and it has some of the most dedicated soccer fans in the world. Forza Napoli!
(This is for my husband, so please don’t be mad if you love Avellino or Salerno! HA!)
I can’t wait to share the bounty of Campania with you, and being that it is my husband’s birthplace and most of his family are still there, we’ll have some extra posts with recipes crafted by my mother-in-law and her sisters, who are all phenomenal cooks. You are in for a treat!