There's a lot to experience in Campania, more than you can possibly imagine. You have to go to the Amalfi coast of course, but consult our travel articles below for more trip suggestions.
We were recently invited by the local tourism board of S.Giovanni a Piro in the province of Salerno to join a three day tour to explore a zone which includes the southern border of the National Park of Cilento as well as the Marine Reserve of the Gulf of Policastro. The setting is impressive. From the inland hills you overlook in one glance the Policastro Gulf along the Tirrenian Sea to the Lucanian coast and Maratea, while behind you is one side of the 1200 meters high Bulgheria mountian.
Campania isn't the only region of Italy which produces fine buffalo mozzarella cheese, but it probably produces the best. The origins of this most distinctive white cheese are lost in time, but for sure the monks at Capua where producing versions in medieval times. What is well documented is the origin of the name mozzarella. 'Mozza' comes from the verb 'mozzare' meaning to cut off or remove and refers to the process of pulling small portions of the cheese from the main curd.
Did anyone consider registering the name 'pizza' and patenting the technique back in 1889? Certainly not cook Esposito who first made the original and definitive version of mozzarella, tomato and basil at the Palazzo Reale di Capodimonte. The very first pizza in Italy and the world.
He he served his 'Margherita' to the queen of the same name. The day was the 15 June. Although extremely good pizzas or 'pizze' can be found outside of Naples, you should keep this to yourself when you visit the city.
The sugar level content of this famous Naples dessert clearly betrays its Arabic origins and the lemons of the Amalfi coast give it a flavour all of its own. Making it at home could be a huge disappointment, but there's no excuse for not giving it a go.
The image of the rum babas was taken by Delicious Italy at a delightful pasticceria in the town of Marina di Camerota, province of Salerno. The owners explained to us how they had moved from Naples some years ago to live in this resort town along the Cilento coast.
350gr white flour, 150gr sugar, 4 eggs, 100gr butter, 30gr yeast, milk, lemon, rum, salt
Ideally, only Amalfi Coast lemons should be used for this recipe. Unfortunately, they are often difficult to get hold of outside of Italy.
Our contacts in the Amalfi coast have also told us that it is only the unique sun, humidity as well as the care and knowledge of the lemon growers that make such lemons what they are.
Nevertheless, give this great summer pasta recipe a go, supplied to us by cookery writer Diane Seed.
500gr linguine or fresh pasta, 2 lemons, 250ml double cream, 100ml grappa.
Our man in the know has prepared a list of the top pizzeria establishments in Naples. In other words, the best places to sample the traditional Neapolitan pizza in its place of origin.
And in no particular order, the list is something like this:
You'd be wide off the mark if you think the city of Napoli is all pizza, mandolins and Maradona. This is a city which communicates a tremendously colourful way of life which has entranced every outsider who has passed through the port.
Monte Procida overlooks the Gulf of Pozzuoli and the island of Procida like a disbelieving ruler seeing his land disappear before him.
Monte Procida may well become the second Isola Procida. The tourism board similarly describes the town as:
'piled up on a small promontory, seems to want to cut itself off from the land around it, to stretch itself out towards the sea. This dual perspective seems to be written into the very genetic code of its country people used to sailing the seven seas'.
This headland offers stupendous sea views all the way to Formia, Gaeta and the Lazio coast.
From the 13th to 17th August the Festival of the Madonna Assunta, the patron saint of the community, takes place.
The event traditionally encouraged many expatriates to return to the area and symbolically features all the 'Montese', who got onto boats and emigrated, coming home to pay a visit to those who stayed.
It is an excuse to eat and drink well.
So, it must be a great place to have a fish supper, and the restaurants, with some of the finest sea views in the world, do offer mouthwatering menus.
Linguini with scampi, marinated anchovies, mussels boiled with sausages and stuffed squid an all be ordered.
They come served with Monte Procida's very own DOC 'Campi Flegrei'.
To discover the food traditions and traditional recipes of Cilento in the province of Salerno, look out for a new recipe book by Edizioni dell'Ippogrifo.
The work is subtitled 'The Mediterranean Diet of the National Park of Cilento' in 700 dishes of family restaurant tradition'.
Above all, it is a collection of the secrets of the local cuisine which have been handed down from one generation to the next by word of mouth for centuries.
The final work features 50 bread recipes, 151 pasta recipes, 153 authentic vegetarian dishes from the herbs and products of the orchards and fields, as well as fish, meat and dolci proposals.