Campania – the cultural treasure trove Part 1

Campania – the cultural treasure trove Part 1

The Campania region is a treasure trove of architectural delights, of wonderful scenery, a long history, amazing food, wine and culture and of course its proud people.

During the next few months, I will take you on a journey exploring the region, and showing you that Campania is more than pizza or pasta or Mount Vesuvius. It’s much much more.

Think regional Italy as a holiday destination and many people just think….Tuscany. Here at Campania Food and Wine we have only one thing to say about that.

What about Campania? It’s not only blessed with delectable local produce to tantalise your taste buds, a wonderful climate and beaches to die for, but it’s endowed with some of the most glorious archaeological and architectural wonders of the Western world. A visit to Campania will fulfil you on so many levels.

Pompeii (Yes it’s in Campania!) In 79 AD Mount Vesuvius erupted, obliterating the city of Pompeii with a blanket of suffocating volcanic ash and pumice to depths of 8-10 feet. Centuries later, it was discovered that voids in the ash were actually the spaces left by decomposed bodies, which if filled with plaster, recreated the twisted shapes of people caught while trying to escape their fate. These preserved bodies, buildings, and artwork are unimaginably stunning. Now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s truly one of those places you must see before you die.

Herculaneum Suffering the same fate as Pompeii, this small town provides a more intimate look into life prior to 79 AD, the highlight being the women’s baths and, for the more morbid amongst you, the carbonised remains of two adults cradling a child between them.

Archaeological Museum of Naples Wonderful collections of Greek and Roman sculptures from throughout the classical world, as well as the most amazing mosaics discovered at Pompeii.

Palazzo Reale, Naples A superb example of Baroque architecture, guarded by statues of eight Neapolitan kings on its façade. See imaginative trompe l’oeil ceilings, intricate tapestries and magnificent 17th & 18th Century paintings.

The ruins at Paestum Ancient Greek-Doric temples, a mere 3000 years old, the best preserved Greek remains on the Italian mainland, all of them dedicated to female gods. Particularly beautiful in the springtime, set in meadows of wild flowers. There’s a fascinating Archaeological Museum nearby.

Virgil’s Tomb-Parco Vigiliano Naples When the great national poet, composer of the Aeneid, died in Brindisi in 19BCE, his ashes were returned to a vault in his Naples villa. Here you can pay homage to a luminary of Western literature. Legend tells that his bones protected Naples and anyone who attacked was struck down by a plague of flies!

Argenti, Museo San Gennaro, Naples A thematic exhibition showing off the wonderful pieces of silverware, exquisitely crafted, donated to San Gennaro in the course of history, dating back to the 13th Century.

The Royal Palace of Caserta ‘The Italian Versailles’ – an extraordinary Baroque palace for the Bourbon kings of Naples, with 1200 rooms, set in a stately formal park. It was one of the most largest buildings erected in the 18th Century, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997.