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.
The National Park of Cilento and Vallo di Diano is located south of the Amafli Coast and is more than worth a visit, or rather an exploration.
The word Cilento derives from the names of the rivers Sele and Alentum, but the area today is squeezed between the River Sele and the mountainous coastal fortifications running from Agropoli to Sapri and into the Diano interior.
The erosion of the chalk landscape over the centuries has left the territory rich in caves, cliffs and gorges.
They maybe gorgeous these days, but were clearly a harsh place to live when transport was by donkey or foot.
Lorenzo Giustiniani in the late 1700's wrote of the town of Castinatelli:
"one of those wretched pitiable little lots that are seen scattered throughout Cilento inhabited by woebegone, grief stricken and dismal souls attached only to the intense labor of the land".
We hope he got out there alive!
The Amalfi Coast lemon is scientifically known as Sfusato Amalfitano and the body responsible for its preservation is the Consortium for the Promotion of the Amalfi Coast Lemon or 'Consorzio di Tutela del Limone Costa d'Amalfi I.G.P.'
When buying the lemons, lemon liqueur or lemon by-products look out for the I.G.P. logo which is the official acknowledgement that the lemons used were grown in the territory and according to the traditional rules of production.
Although known in Roman times and actively introduced from the Middle East during the Crusades, the lemon industry along the Amalfi coast only really got going during the golden age of discovery following the discovery of the Americas.
The fruit was grown to provide vitamin C on long sea voyages to prevent scurvy. Nevertheless, the Arabic words stuck and limuczello and jardeno entered the language.
Minori was the key port and the local lemons were traded across Italy and beyond.
A week in the southern extremity of the Amalfi coast before Salerno should mean a hunt for the local lemons and pottery. First the pottery.
Head along the coast to Vietri sul Mare. It was here that the commercially minded Amalfitanis set up business dealing in terracotta and ceramics brought from Spain, Cyprus, Sicily etc in the 9th century.
Arab influence caught the imagination in tile designs of the 13th century, while the 17th century saw a boom in high quality items for religious use.
A walk from the Marina di Vietri to Molina, Dragonara, Albori and Raito is an open museum documenting a thousand years of ceramic industry.
Also try the actual Ceramics Museum at Villa Guariglia, Raito di Vietri sul Mare (SA). It is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9am - 3pm.
Traditionally, each day of Holy Easter week in Naples means a different dish or meal.
Lets take them one by one.
NEAPOLITAN EASTER THURSDAY MENU
The Thursday before Easter usually means the preparation of boiled artichokes with olive oil accompanied with salty ricotta cheese and salami.
It is also a tradition to make the pastiera cake (above) on this day, although it shouldn't really be tasted until Sunday.
GOOD FRIDAY DISH
On Good Friday the good folk of the city prepare light fish dishes with lemon and olive oil. The day is also dedicated to fasting, so the meals stop here.
Agropoli is a coastal agricultural center some 53km from Salerno in the zone of Cilento.
Its name derives from the Greek for 'high city', although it seems to have been founded by the Byzantines. In 882 AD it was occupied by the Saracens.
Like Sorrento and much of the Amalfi coast. the main town overlooks the sea and is perched on high cliffs. A great place to keep a look out, as the Byzantine castle suggests, although it didn't stop the Saracens' eventual conquest.
Entrance to old Agropoli is via a medieval gate which no doubt saw the invaders pour through. Once inside turn right and follow the street up towards the castle and the panoramic views of the sea.
Although a private house now occupies the living area the grounds and walls can be visited.
Italians are serious about their coffee, in a quality over quantity approach that still adheres to traditional rules and which is why you won’t find international coffee chains anywhere in the country, at least for the moent ... To begin with, if you don’t surprise the average Italian by ordering a cappuccino after 11am, then you would at the very least be letting on that you are a tourist, as anything with that much milk is seen as a meal in itself and is considered to be the classic Italian breakfast, along with the occasional indulgence of a croissant (Italy’s equivalent to cornflakes).
Milk is thought to interfere with digestion, so if you’re looking for a pick me-up after a meal, go for a simple caffé (expresso) or if you can’t drink your coffee black, try a caffé macchiato (expresso with a dash of milk), although this still bores the potential to be frowned upon.
So what is a classic Christmas Eve menu in Naples? Well, its all about fish, not surprisingly. A typical menu is made of pasta with anchovies or clams, followed by fried or roasted 'capitone' (eel), roasted fish, boiled lobster and insalata di rinforzo (such as a cauliflower salad).
For dessert, the typical cakes or sweets are the mustacciuoli or mostaccioli and fresh fruit. The meal of the 'Vigilia' is accompanied by Lacrima Christi white wine and ended with Lacrima Christi passito.
Well that's the day before, what about the day after?
Anyone who enjoys cooking Italian food knows about that indeterminate measurement of 'q.b.' or quanto bisogno or 'as much as is necessary'.
It is part of the soul of Italian regional cuisine, but it can no longer be applied to the perfect Italian pizza. Why? Because in 2008 the European Commission in Brussels presented precise rules for making pizza.
For most of us the perfect pizza is made by a genuine Neapolitan in a classic Naples pizzeria.
The recipe cannot be written on a piece of paper. It is innate, spiritual, comes from the heart.
But for the record here is how an official pizza base should now be made.
To help you Cecilia of Italian Dinner Family, whose origins are the Amalfi Coast, takes you through the stages.
2 kilos of flour, 1 liter of water, 50-55 grammes of salt, 3 grammes of beer yeast.