The south wind that blows towards a coast, that lies between the sky and the sea and amongst mythical volcanoes, pinewoods that lie on gentle slopes and crowded streets, all together evoke the ancient but extremely lively enchantment of a city like Naples. Here Nature, Culture, Landscape, Art, History and Myth, in a never appeasing interaction, outline an indescribable image where, like a unique tessellation of a mosaic, all the elements combine together in one: the fire of a perpetually restless land reforms a landscape and its city, where the baroque forms of the piperno portals and the stucco volutes seem to put into stone the everlasting agitation of the waves in the sea.And Naples, never tired, continues telling its millenary history to the traveller of all time, from the myth of Partenope to the spectacular eruptions of the Vesuvio, from the Roman traditions to the Byzantine culture in an uninterrupted dialogue between the West and the East, from the Angevin and Aragonese splendours to the long Spanish presence, up until the Bourbon magnificence celebrated in the most learned descriptions of the travellers of Gran Tour…
an unceasing reverie and a continuous evocation of a past that is still tangible in the present culture. Since Partenope begot Neapolis all the Mediterranean civilizations permeated this city,leaving it always deeply recognizable: myths, splendours, colours, flavours, cultures of the land and the sea dramatized in the rituals of life and death. A land of a thousand contrasts, with a lavish and terrifying nature and dazzling, dark skies, as well as, impenetrable meanders, views without frontiers and airy landscapes of hills that are lapped by the sea and interrupted by chthonic suggestions of Virgilian myths, from caves to deep caverns: Naples attracts, evokes and tells… “Approaching Naples (…) we found ourselves truly in another world” Goethe wrote when he arrived in the city which still today, describes itself with passion in its architectures, churches, gentilitial palaces, museums…. and also in the colours of its crowded streets.
The internal areas of Campania, the Baronia and The Alta Irpinia, was, because of their position on the valleys, very approachable among productive areas of remarkable importance as Campania and the Puglia, territories comparatively privileged of the internal South of Italy.
As the archaeological findings in the sepulchral areas of the pre-Roman age of carife show, Castel baronia, cairano, conza, Morra de Santis and Bisaccia in the shrine of Mefite in the Arisanto valley, at least since the VII century b. C., the economy hadn’t to be based exclusively on the transhumant breeding and a scanty subsistence agriculture, but also on the advantages deriving from control of one of the most important cattle-tracks and the commercial streets from the Etruria through Lazio and Campania and the Etrurian and Greek centres of these regions towards the Daunia, the Paucezia and the Greek colonies on the Ionio.
This was the contribution, together with the receipts of the mercenariness among Etrurians and Greeks, to the creation, since the 6th century, of an articulated society, with rising classes whose assets consist of important sumptuous objects as bronze vases, but also the gradual acculturation through the introduction of Greek customs and juridical institutions.
During this phase, heap of stone buildings began to be erected in Cairano and Casalbore; the tombs of Carife and in the territory of Ariano Irpino date back to this period, while the boundary fortresses as the Incoronata di Monteverde and Monte Oppido a Lioni , are meaningful testimonies of the needs of defence during the Samnite wars.The Roman conquest involved the partial depopulation of the region, depopulation partly compensated for the deductions of colons in Benevento and in Venosa, and it created the preambles for the extension of the Via Appia towards Brindisi. While the inflow of Ligurian colons concerned the north part of Irpinia, the assignments of lands promoted by Tiberio and Caio Gracco, about the 120 b. C.,
concerned the high valleys of Ofanto and Calore and Ufita where rose farms and a very important centre as Floccaglia di Flumeri, destroyed probably during the last phase of the repression of the revolt of the Italic members against Rome about the 89 b. C. which ended the Samnite independence also from the cultural point of view.
The pre-existent territorial structure kept unchanged during the whole period of the pax romana, and during this period the already created road system whose was part both the Appia and the Aemilia and which passed through Floccaglia and the way on the route of the cattle-rack Pescasseroli – Candela, was then expanded with the via Traiana and the via Aurelia Aeclanensis, in the valley of Flumarelle, which established together with the agricultural production the basis for the economic development of the area. In this historical context, only mentioned, the territory of the Alta Irpinia offers a range of occasions and particularly stimulating opportunities in order to outline a strategy of its usage from cultural – tourist point of view. The area of Alta Irpinia represents an homogeneous area typical of the socio-economic reality of the internal Campania, a reality which conserved completely the historical-cultural peculiarities and the specific ethnographic and enogastronomic traditions; this is a heritage on which a journey of lasting economic development which founds its roots on the unexplored potentialities of the relevant historical, environmental, archaeological, architectonic museal, ethnographic and gastronomic heritage of the “internal areas” must be structure and outline , a journey which moving on the same wavelength of the instruments and the objectives of the “peculiarities exploitation”, could offer the opportunity to determinate a build an articulated and original offer of tourist and cultural services.
«Under the clearest sky exists the most untrustworthy land. A hardly credible wealth ruined, sad and damned.
Boiling waters, sulphur, caves of fuming vapours, mountains of scoriae that rebel against all vegetation, melancholy barren lands and at the end of it all, a land of luxuriant vegetation, which penetrates everywhere as soon as possible and rises above all the dead things on the shore of lakes and streams and is able to conquer the most superb forest of an extinct crater.
We are continually shifted between natural and historical events. We would like to meditate, but we don’t feel able to». With these words, Goethe outlined the hyperbole of the Phlegrean places and can be found amongst one of the many suggestions made in his famous book Viaggio in Italia. A multitude of spectacular volcanic phenomena, catastrophic eruptions, a scenery of steaming craters that lie between the sky and the sea, a coast shaped by incessant bradyseisms, lakes that evolve from underwater craters, a wonderful and fruitful land, rich in healthy water springs … these are just some of the reasons why the Hellenic colonizers, named the area Campi Flegrei (Phlegrean Fields). This region consists of the west of Naples, including the area between Posillipo and Cuma, and stretches out to the sea to the islands of Nisida, Procida and Ischia. It is here that the Ancients attained their mythological beliefs and it was in these seas that they dramatized the catastrophic volcanic eruptions. They also adapted the mythical battles of Jupiter against the Titans, Tifeo (Ischia) and the Mimante (Procida).
The Roman plutocracy was charmed by the infinite splendor of the Phlegrean landscape and it was here that they came to rest and relax, known as Otia. Along the coast they built many luxurious maritime villas that faced the sea that offered spectacular views.
At the same time, Cuma became known as the holy city dedicated to the Apollo cult, the zone of Miseno, rich in natural inlets, became the main residence of the Roman naval force that controlled the Mediterranean Sea and Pozzuoli, with its famous port, became the biggest trading center along the Mediterranean trading routes.
The area of “Campi Flegrei” lived its period of splendor, known as the coppa d’oro, in prosperity and would obtain increasing popularity even in the years after the Roman splendor. Surpassing the Classical era and in continuity with old and modern, Pozzuoli, Baia and Cuma continued to inspire the European culture, that was so attracted by the solar and geographic imagery of Virgilio’s poems; a culture that has been outlined by the contributions of artists and travelers of all time, who would create an image of Campi Flegrei, where it is difficult to find the dividing line between history and mythology. A landscape of a million seductions, an indescribable cornucopia, where between archeology and literary imagery it is possible to taste delicious products from the land. The first being all the many renowned wines, that date back to the Roman age, which evoke an image of ornate hills, embedded in vines that slope down towards the coast.
Since the second half of the 18th century, under the Spanish rule, Caserta became one of the five chief towns in Campania.
Initially, the wide land crossed by the Volturo river has been transformed by Etrurians and Samnites and, then colonized by the ancient Romans. According to the historian Polibio, the noblest Italian cities already established and linked around the ancient Capoa, that is the actual S. Maria Capua Vetere.
The territory conquered by the Lombards and the Normans, which set Aversa up: during the medieval age the whole province, extended from the Matese mountains to the sea of the domitio littoral, was divided in feuds of counties and dukedoms.
Then, Caserta has been governed by the counts De Larath, which since the 871 resided in the ancient fortified village on the hill Virgo of the Tifatini Mountains for a long period:
In the same area the bishop Galtino’s residence and the houses of the peasants, were protected by the castle and the great cylindrical tower, built by Federico II di Svezia.
At the beginning of the 12th century, when Casertavecchia had been brought the domination of the Lauro San Severino down, the first external villages bornt, and so other different agricultural piedmont and Vallivi farmhouses, today administrative divisions of a municipality.
In the meantime the bishop Rainulfo ordered the building of the Romanesque Cathedral, which – later – has been integrated with Arab – Muslim forms, and the reinforcement of the Diocese, which located there, until the 19th century, to avoid the barbarian invasions.
While in the 1237 Don Diego De Larath ordered the transfer of the civitas to the village on the plain of the Torre, where the new Count’s house has been transformed from a simple fortalice to the palace of the prince Acquaviva d’Aragona in the second half of the sixteenth century.
In the 1752 this ducal State was formed of 26 cities and villages, which the count Michelangelo Caetani Di Sermoneta had to sell to the king Carlo III di Borbone because of debts, together with the hunting estates, the one of Carditello and the woody ones of San Leucio and San Silvestro.
The Spanish king assigned the estates to the royal delights near the respective shooting lodges a agricultural, rabble and silk farm. Then he wanted to put a prestigious, very representative and innovative Palace on the territory, and so he rejected the project of Mario Gioffredo and, also in order to improve the relationships with Pope Bonifacio VIII, he entrusted the task to the Neapolitan, but Roman of adoption, architect Luigi Vanvitelli.
The works of the Palace lasted 30 years and for the half of this period the immense yard has been entrusted to master builder Pietro Bernasconi, and for the other half to the architect Carlo Vanvitelli, who supervised the work devised by his father with the collaboration of Marcello Fanton, Francesco Collecini and Giovanni Patturelli.
The neoclassic work, which is Baroque in the higher vestibule of the royal stairs, presents the volumes of the two buildings,, which are intersecting at right angle and the others on a quadrilateral basis.
Il The Cilento, whose name comes from cis Alentum (above Alentum) has an overall extension of 3226.5 Km and is made up of 98 municipal districts, which includes the district of Vallo di Diano.
The territory, in its diverse characterization, is rich in historical phases. A confluent place with many different aspects, that is all interconnected and significantly characterized by culture, the environment and art. Each aspect is expressed by geographic, religious and territorial complexes that give shape to an interesting landscape on which proposals and in depth studies are still made today. It’s the “traces” of a culture, which, over the centuries, has seen the arrival of many different people in a mixture of events have conjugated together into a perfect symbiosis. The whole area lies between the Lambro basin and the Mingardo basin; the landscape is diversified and characterized by small municipal districts that cling to the slopes of the hills, covered by Mediterranean maquises and maritime suburbs that are stretched along the bights of the coast. The “holy places” which are made up of monasteries, retreats, abbeys and cave settlements, contrast with the “daily places” which consist of rural architecture, hamlets and farms, that are distributed over the territory. A couple that has deep roots that are confirmed by the territory’s history. One side of this history shows the deep religiousness of the basiliano monasticism (oriental) that since the 8th century, has spread throughout the South and into this part of the Cilento. The basiliano settled and with great energy they evangelised the territory, with the intentions of spreading the cult of the oriental saints.
This Greek religious reality lived together with the Latin rituality. To help us remember such passings and presences, we have the diverse architectonical testimonies and toponymy, which are both in continuity with each other. An example of this, are the rocky settlements of Olevano on Tusciano and S.Angelo at Fasanella, both dedicated to S.Michele. One of the most important monasteries is the Greek abbey of Pattano, whose structure is still visible today and proposes an iconographic documentation of great artistic importance. A unique land, with lively landscapes, whose identity comes from the glorification of its differences. A superficial and racist historiography that has defined this area as “sad” and as of the “bandits”, mortifying and alienating it. A reality with a noble history and a sublime art, one of the most famous being that of Paestum and Velia, and in the wake of these evolved the municipal districts of Policastro and Roccagloriosa, Civitella and Novi Velia. The Cilento, that is a land of Greek and Roman mythology, has always been the inspiration of poets, cantors and travellers. The nature, that is primitive and that lives in the mountains and in most of the internal valleys, is in possession of coasts that are rich in untouched caves and inlets. Its mountains show signs of Karst phenomena and its richness in endemic vegetal species has created a unique area of a natural beauty and an extraordinary aesthetic importance, which altogether give an exceptional aspect of the territory. “To travel” in the Cilento is a unique and unrepeatable opportunity and is like travelling in a solar and mysterious world, which reflects every corner of this typically Mediterranean land. A land described more accurately by Guido Piovene who writes: “Under Paestum the part less known of the coast of Campania begins. Maybe because it’s still half secret, it seems to be the most beautiful. Small solitary bays, rocks and reefs on which pines and olives, sweet and primitive cultivations descend: nature is still defended by an archaic backwardness”.
Starting from the passing of Annibale, the Sannio area is a land that has been marked by a history of a thousand years and offers the visitor a scenery, where nature and historic sedimentation have built, over time, a place with a very strong identity. The ideal place to start your itinerary would be in the town of Cerreto Sannita, an urban settlement which was reconstructed after the earthquake of 1688, by the Royal engineer G.B Manni. He also constructed the town of Cusano Mutri ,which from Cerreto Sannita can be reached by going through a cave, that is closed in by Mount Monaco di Gioa and Mount Cigno. From the Lavelle Bridge it is possible to observe how the Titerno River has, over the centuries, formed tiny canyons.
The itinerary proceeds towards the Cantina del Sannio called this because of its production of renowned wines (certified D.O.C) from the Campania region: Solopaca, Aglianico and Falangina are just a few of the most famous ones.Through stupendous sceneries, art, sampling and folk traditions you can continue your journey along the road towards S.Salvatore Telesino, where you come to the Grassano park and further ahead the archaelogical park of the old Telesia. Here you can find valuable stone vestibules, the gates of the city and thermal baths.
Once you have arrived in Faicchio the itinerary continues with the visit of the Fabio Massimo Bridge and of a Ducal Castle. You then conclude your visit in the town of Castlevenere by traveling along the strada del vino (wine road), where you can visit an antique wine cellar made out of tuff and nearby there are some artisan workshops, where they make artistic, Cerretesi pottery. Here it is possible to buy a piece of pottery, that is still today tied to the local traditions of the eighteenth century.
The beauty of this land has been written in some of the most antique poems, as a consolation to the men, who were be witched by its harmony and as a way of giving them a meaning to life. Its wisdom that is illuminated in its beauty has made a solid relationship with the forces of nature and understands the secrets of equilibrium. It has created humanitarian monuments where air, land water and fire reveal between them, their elementary powers and their attunement with the deeds of man.The Vesuvius gave life to Naples and gave the possibility to the vesuvian lands, to unite strength and beauty, so that philosophers and scientists could have the instruments of wisdom and progress.The vesuvuvian lands lie between the Vesuvius and the sea. It has a very old history and is famous for its splendid, archeological excavations of the 1700′s. Its natural beauties have captured the maximum expressions of humanity that have built, cultivated, commercialized and restored the magnificent nature,
the song of poetry and the splendor of artistic imagery, which is expressed in traditional dances and the flavors of the farming civilizations. It is moving to live in contact with these primordial forces and to feel the lively energies of nature, meanwhile keeping the memory of the antique civilizations of Mater Mediterranea.
In the Vesuvian cities, you can touch the old history with your hands, especially in Ercolano and Pompei, and taste traditional products of a glorious agro-industrial culture. Anyone who comes to discover the past is involved in a joyful welcome tradition. You will leave a festive atmosphere; you’ll make toasts with high quality wines and appreciate the mastery of the most famous artists who work the coral by making incisions. The Vesuvian lands are the most ancient face of Naples Here it is possible to see the inhabitants wisdom and humanity and there are no words to describe their qualities.
Wine and Food
Contamination between thousand – year old cultures on aristocratic tables, on the community ones. In the land of Cavalcanti, the Marquis del Tufo, of Crisci, the Corrado, of Stefanile and many others who molded, shaped, the concept of “civilization of the table”.
Animals feed themselves; men eat; but only wise men know the art of eating
Writers, intellectuals, poets, journalists, in the second half of ’900 (1963), to popularize the cultural heritage, underlying food and tipical recipes of Naples and the Campania, founded the “ordine del pignato grasso “(Adriano Falvo, Enzo Fiore, Salvatore Gaetani, Thomas Leonetti, Mario Mastrolilli, Stanislaus Pagliari, Vincenzo M.Palmieri, Luigi Giarrusso) which originates from the legendary “married soup” (fatty soup cooked in a pot), prepared in different ways and eras across the region.
Today the “married soup” is back in vogue in families where the tradition is still important and in several restaurants, “trattorie”, taverns in Campania region, especially inland, where it is easier to find the ingredients, suitable for this tempting dish, good and tasty, that can be considered as the symbol of a population able to create a symphony of flavors, a harmony of smells with simply and nice vegetables and cuts of fresh or salted meat.
Margherita Volpi, writer
The dish requires a homegrown red wine: SOLOPACA, LETTERE, VESUVIO, FALERNO, TRAMONTI, TAURASI, Aglianico del TABURNO, GUARDIOLO, PALAGRELLO.
Its taste and its smell makes the pastiera cake as the queen of Easter (but not only).
Delicate and rich cake, made with short crust pastry, stuffed with wheat boiled in milk, cinnamon and sugar, sheep ricotta cheese and eggs, candied fruit and, as you like, chocolate, all scented with orange flower water.
We suggest to drink with it a shot of four citrus liquor or herbal liqueur Montevegine or Strega liquor, or, if you prefer, a Nocillo (walnut liquor).
Settimia Cicinnati, writer
Vittorio Gleijeses, author of essays related to locations, traditions and characters in Naples and Southern Italy, reminds us that
in spring, when Nature awakes, the gastronomy tradition in Campania region is enriched with fresh products, especially vegetables, and it is seasoned with those aroma- celery and rosemary, parsley and basil, mint and oregano – which, generously used, perfectly mixed, skilled chopped up are able to give flavor and pleasantness to the most simple and modest food.
Herbs and aromas from the hills, herbs from the pastures, that animals and skilful hands of men – who have been preserving for thousands of years the art of making cheese-, turn into mozzarella, caciocavallo cheese, burrino, scamorza etc: delicacies! The Campania region cooking tradition: an endless variety of aromas, herbs, soups, pasta and …, dairy products, white and red wines. A good plate of pasta, well-seasoned, is ‘”a poem” – as they used to tell in the chronicles of that time! Oh yes, during different ages, poets, writers, musicians (the hilarious anecdotes of Rossini and pasta) narrated about that food. What about the “macaroni” that generated even to a literary genre: poetry “maccheronica”.. The Pizza … the eye looks at it, charmed by a riot of colors with shades now mellow, now marked.
You can smell it, streight out from the oven, (wood fired oven) and its smell overfills the ambience, spreading the crackling of the dough.
Even a Queen chose it as a royal dish … Who? Queen Margherita! Arrived by chance or maybe attracted by the stories and the smells, to Don Raffaele pizzeria: it was a meeting between two queens … it happened in 1889!