In Campania, you find yourself in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius
Lemon gardens and olive groves stretch here in the landscape as you approach the majestic Mount Vesuvius.
The Campania region is located in the south of Italy and is world-famous for its many attractions: the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, Positano, Ravello, Ischia, Capri, Naples, Vesuvius, as well as the two archaeological sites of Pompeii, Herculaneum and the Greek temples at Paestum. The history of this part of Italy is fascinating.
The mild climate, the scenic beauty, the historical and cultural heritage as well as the artful and loving cuisine make Campania a thoroughly livable land.
Places – top 3 to visit if you are in Campania
1. Capri – the little beauty
Capri is the most exclusive of the three islands in the Gulf of Naples. The much-touted rock island is about 10 km² in size and is located only 5 km from the mainland in the Gulf of Naples. The Romans in antiquity already were attracted by the island with the lush vegetation and built their summer villas and residences there. Capri’s landscape is dominated by the flower macchia, which is typical for Campania: Rosemary and mastic bushes traverse the fields.
The Italian island is mainly known for its caves by the sea. Between bizarre rock formations, various caves have formed over time. The Blue Grotto is world-famous. Enjoy this incomparable play of colors that nature offers you here.
The capital Capri is perched on a high plateau. In the winding, white streets you will find fine boutiques and cafes. The small harbor Marina Grande invites you to linger. From here you can take the cable car up through lemon gardens to Piazzetta, the heart of Capri. You should not miss the landmark of the city, the rock protruding from the sea “Faraglioni”.
2. Amalfi coast – along the beautiful Mediterranean coast
Costa Divina, the “divine coast,” begins at the foothills of the Monti Lattari, which forms the southern arc of the Gulf of Naples. Surrounded by tall, evergreen mountains, the coastal cities of the region are a real gem. Sorrento is located on the coast of the island of Capri. To the east runs the narrow, winding dream road Amalfitana. Along the cliff coast, you always drive with the view of the cobalt blue sea. Due to the spectacular cliffs, the Amalfi Coast is considered one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.
The city of Amalfi looks like an up and down of steps and stairs. Stacked white houses are nestled on the slopes. Stroll through the tangle of houses and through the medieval street tunnel Rua Nova Mercatorum to the magnificent cathedral Sant’Andrea with its huge outside staircase.
3. Naples – where the pizza has its roots
Naples, the capital of the Campania region, is one of the most impressive and beautiful art cities in the Mediterranean. With almost one million inhabitants, it is the third-largest municipality in Italy. Did you know that the historic center of Naples is over 2,500 years old and was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1995. Strolling through the streets of the old town, you can feel the magic of history up close. The Via Toledo boulevard leads you along elegant shops down to the seafront. Keep your eyes open, as in the city old aristocratic palaces hide with magnificent courtyards and staircases.
Another highlight: the Duomo San Gennaro. The richly furnished cathedral attracts its visitors with a magnificent baroque chapel. In the West of the historic center, the traditional villa district Posillipo is located. Old noble families and nouveau rich people live here in villas, which were built in the midst of large-scale gardens. A walk is definitely worth the visit.
The winery Cantine Astroni is located 30 minutes driving from the center of Naples. Take your chance to taste typical wines of the region!
Food and Drink – top 3 to try in Campania
The kitchen of Campania- where many Italian classics come from
Aromatic tomatoes, fragrant lemons, mozzarella from cow and buffalo milk, pasta, fish and wine. The rich agricultural economy of Campania produces tasty products. These products not only shape the landscape, but also determine the culinary image of the region. A chapter in itself represents the pizza. Naples is the cradle of pizza, here it was created as a “street food”. They were sold on every street corner as a triangular hot pizza slice, which was then folded like a wallet and served wrapped in baking paper. Even today you can buy this original pizza as street food in the historic center of Naples on the street.
The variants of the pizza are endless, even if many modern pizzas a real Neapolitan would turn up his nose. Only one thing counts for him: Pizza Margherita! With tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, basil and olive oil of the highest quality. Basta!
1. Spaghetti Puttanesca – the pasta with “effect”
This simple, but delicious recipe is one of the traditional Neapolitan recipes today. It is said that the recipe was invented at the beginning of the 19th century in a Neapolitan brothel. The owner of the brothel worried about his customers and employees. To give them strength for the physical effort, he even experimented in the kitchen. The spaghetti was probably effective and directly liked by everyone.
In this simple dish, olives and tomato capers are mixed into an intense-tasting pasta. Everyone has to try their own “possible” effect.
2. Sfogliatella – a sweet temptation
Sfogliatella is an Italian pastry specialty from Naples. Originally the pastry comes from the monastery of Santa Rosa near Salerno. The special feature of the puff pastry bag is that the puff pastry layers are not parallel as in a croissant, but fanned out. This is achieved by a special preparation of puff pastry. But there are two completely different forms: the sfogliatella riccia and the frolla. The first one has a shell shape, created by the manual stacking of numerous, very thin strips of dough. The second kind is round and made of shortcrust pastry. The filling is the same for the two types and consists of ricotta cheese, semolina, eggs, powdered sugar, candied orange and cedar pieces, vanilla and cinnamon. Simply heavenly!
3. Broccoli e Salsiccia – a hearty dish
You do not have to venture very far into the mountains of the Amalfi Coast – only to Ravello or Scala – to discover this traditional autumn and winter dish on the menu. The local sausage with fennel contrasts beautifully with the bitter wild broccoli that grows so well in Campania. It is a very popular flavor combination and is often served as a second course or as a fanciful pizza topping.
Wines – top 3 to know about Campanian wines
Campania – wines from which already authors in antiquity dreamt
Unique as the beauty of the landscape Campania, is also the diversity of the wineries and so, of the wines: the palette reaches from the fruity to the powerful, from mineral to opulent and that with white and red. Surprising is above all the white wines, whose grapes are partly in heights grow from 700 to 800 meters and which is often given a long life by the acidity and minerality.
1. Wine Highlights
The wine production in Campania is spread over the provinces of Avellino, Benevento and Caserta. These are distributed to 4 DOCG’s, 15 DOC’s and 10 IGT’s. The outstanding red wine of Campania grows further to the east in Campania and is called Taurasi DOCG, which is made from the previously underrated Aglianico grape. Because of its high tannin content, these wines are allowed to ripen in the bottle for a long time. When he has developed into a profound, concentrated and very noble wine, he is usually praised in the highest tones. And north of Naples, the legendary Falerner was revived in its ancient origins as a DOC wine. This wine was one of the most popular wines in the Roman Empire.
Especially the red variety Aglianico delivers, in Campania, especially in the area of Avellino and in the DOCG Taburno a little further north, full-bodied, color-intensive and aromatic red wines. In Campania, you can as well find many indigenous grape varieties, some of them very old such as Asprinio, Biancolella, Coda di Volpe and Piedirosso. But exciting wines also come naturally from the volcanic locations near Mount Vesuvius, as well as from the steep terraces of the Amalfi Coast and the offshore islands.
2. Grape varieties
Among the red wines, which make up about 70 percent of the total quantity of wine, the variety of Aglianico is in the spotlight. Especially Aglianico delivers full-bodied and color-intensive red wines. Other reds are Casavecchia, Guarnaccia, Olivella, Per’e Palummo and internationals as Barbera, Primitivo, and Sangiovese. The most important white varieties are Asprinio, Biancazita, Biancolella, Caprettone and Coda di Volpe Bianca.
Red varieties White varieties
Barbera Coda die Volpe
Greco Nero Falanghia
Primitivo Greco die Bianco
3. Style of wines
Only 5% of the produced wines in Campania deliver wines of controlled origin (DOC). Although there are, due to the hills on the coast, the volcanic soil of Vesuvius and the Mediterranean climate, many interesting wines to discover. The most demanding red wine is certainly the Taurasi made from the Aglianico grape variety, for which until recently only one producer’s name stood: Mastroberardino.
But the offer has become more diverse in the meantime. Red wines are also produced from Primitivo, Piedirosso, and Barbera, but they are mostly bottled as cuvée.
Among the white wines, you can especially enjoy the fruity Fiano di Avellino, which smells of pome fruit and nuts and can often even be reminiscent of a muscatel with notes of fresh grape skins. Interesting white wines deliver as well the variety Greco.
Nature – top 3 to visit in Campania
After discovering the wine experiences in this region, be adventurous to enjoy the pleasures that the nature has to offer!
Nature in Campania: green oases and a rumbling volcano
In addition to cultural cities and beautiful beaches, Campania also has a beautiful nature to offer, which has its origins in the fertile soil of the volcano. There are many areas where you can enjoy the nature that surrounds Naples and the whole of Campania, so enjoy the beautiful nature parks! In this way, the often untouched nature in Campania is also an inexhaustible source of inspiration.
Spring and autumn are the best seasons for hiking through the beautiful nature, when the temperatures are pleasantly mild.
1. Mount Vesuvius – Adventure: up to the rumbling volcano
Vesuvius in southern Italy is the only active volcano on mainland Europe. Vesuvius was extremely active in the last 2,000 years and the most devastating eruption occurred in 79 when the thriving cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum were completely buried under its ashes. Since this eruption, Vesuvius has its present form with the deep crater at its summit. In 1991, the Vesuvio National Park opened and since then you can climb Mount Vesuvius on a hiking trail. For the broad, but rather stony gravel path you need stable hiking boots.
Already on the ascent, you will get a great view of Naples and the Mediterranean Sea. If the weather is good, you can easily see the islands of Capri and Ischia in the Gulf of Naples. You follow the path to the summit, where you can have a great view of the deep volcanic crater.
2. National park of Cilento – discover original Italy
The national park of Cilento is located near Salerno and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the south of Italy. In addition to an exciting mountain and hilly landscape as well as rocky coasts, the park mainly includes extensive, idyllic forest areas and picturesque olive groves.
Along the coast, where the sea shimmers in bright colors, small towns are scattered. You can experience the Cilento with all your senses – it’s a wonderful experience.
The Cilento offers over 100 km of coastline and a natural hinterland with low mountain ranges. In addition to the long and wide beaches, you will find excellent hiking areas, always with beautiful natural scenarios.
Here you can also admire the ancient ruins of Paestum.
3. Sant’Agata – walking with a view
The village of Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi is located on a ridge overlooking the Gulf of Naples and Salerno.
With spectacular views of the Gulf of Naples on one side and the Gulf of Salerno on the other (hence the name “St. Agatha on the two gulfs”), it is a quiet place. The Neapolitans love this place because from here you can enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of the surrounding hills and the sea. Since the middle of the 19th century, the village has been popular with travelers for its healthy climate, lovely nature and the hospitality of its inhabitants.
If you want to take a relatively easy walk without a compass or hiking boots, there is a scenic 4 km path between Sant’Agata and Sorrento.