Campania Italy-10 Fun Facts - Digging Up Roots in the Boot

Campania Italy-10 Fun Facts

Ciao tutti! Welcome to The Best of Italy, a video series on Digging up Roots on the Boot’s YouTube Channel. Marilena is going to share 10 fun facts about Campania Italy.  It is one of 20 Italian Regions in the South of Italy. Watch the video and continue reading below. Also, be sure and subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss out on new video posts.

1 The Legend of the Witches of Benevento 

The legend of the witches of Benevento is folklore that dates back to at least the 13th century.  The popular belief is that it was a gathering place for Italian witches. They would meet under a walnut tree ‘Il Noce di Benevento’.  By day they looked like all other women, but at night they took flight and chanted a magic phrase.

"Unguento, unguento

portami al noce di Benevento

sopra l'acqua e sopra il vento

e sopra ogni altro maltempo."

"Unguent, unguent,

Carry me to the walnut tree of Benevento,

Above the water and above the wind,

And above all other bad weather."

It was believed that they were able to do horrible things such as to cause abortions or deformities in newborns. There was even a ballet written in 1812 called Il Noce di Benevento.

2 Mt Vesuvius - Campania, Italy

Mt Vesuvius destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 AD in an eruption that lasted more than 24 hours.  No attempts were made to reoccupy the area, but looters dug tunnels through ash and debris making away with many of the city’s riches.  It last erupted in 1944 during the height of WWII destroying US bomber planes that were stationed nearby.  A long period of calm means an eruption may happen soon.  Today over 3 million people live in the immediate area of Mount Vesuvius. That is the most people living dangerously close to a volcano in the world.

3 The Island of Ischia 

Ischia is the largest of three popular Islands in Campania Italy.  It was conquered by the Greeks in the 8th century BC.  They called it Island of Monkeys because it was full of primates at the time.  The common belief is that a volcanic eruption caused the monkeys' demise.

On the other hand, Procida is the smallest and least touristic Island.  It is a place where you can slow down, see how Italians live and immerse yourself in the local culture.   Of course, Capri is the most famous Island of Campania. Legend has it that mythical creatures used to inhabit the Island before celebrities and the wealthy have taken up residency. 

4 The Romans gift to Avellino  

The Romans brought the hazelnut to Italy and cultivated it in the province of Avellino in Campania.  Thank goodness they did, otherwise, we might not have Nutella. About a third of Italy's hazelnut production comes from Avellino. 

5 The Titantic of the Poor

As you may know Campania was especially affected by emigration from the late 1800s to the 1920s.  What you may not know is that the conditions on ships were not what they should have been.  In 1891 a shipped called the Utopia left the port of Naples with emigrants from Campania, Calabria, and Abruzzo, hoping for a better life.  Unfortunately, it crashed while in the port of Gibraltar and 563 of the 813 passengers died.  The ship was later renamed the ‘Titanic of the poor.’

6 Luigi Vanvitelli - The Architect

Luigi Vanvitelli was an Italian engineer and architect born in Naples in 1700.  He was commissioned to design the 1200 room, 5 floor Reggia di Caserta and worked on it until he died in 1773.  At the same time, he designed the Aqueduct of Vanvitelli also known as Caroline Aqueduct to supply the Royal Palace and San Leucio complexes with water. 

7 San Leucio - The Utopian City

San Leucio, near Caserta, was home to the Utopian City of Ferdinandopoli.  King Ferdinand IV envisioned and realized a working city that revolved around the silk industry in the late 1700s.  The industrial colony of weavers was a social experiment and the birthplace of woman’s rights and socialism.  Today it is a Silk museum with restored and working antique looms from the prestigious royal factories.

8 Paestum

The archeological site Paestum is less than an hour from Salerno.  It is a hamlet of the comune Capaccio in Campania Italy.  The ruins are a fine example of a 600 BC Greek settlement.  It is home to three of the best-preserved Greek temples in the world. 

On a culinary note, you can also find buffalo farms that have been producing Italy’s finest mozzarella di bufala since the 18th century.  You can take tours of the farms and buy fresh mozzarella di bufala that is produced the same morning.  It is one of the main indgredients of the original Marghertia Pizza.

9 Ravello Music and Arts Festival

The Amalfi Coast town of Ravello hosts an open-air music and arts festival every summer in the gardens of Villa Rufolo.  It is a music lover's paradise.  You can see a variety of concerts and sit in on Q&As with artists, dancers, performers, and literary readings all summer long.

10 Naples - The Capital of Campania Italy

 Naples is the gritty and chaotic capital of Campania.  It is very unique and unlike anywhere else in Italy.  You can find some of Naples's best pizzerias along Via dei Tribunali.  There is also some great art by Carravaggio, Michelangelo, and Raphael tucked away in the Capodimonte museum.  Below the city is the Naples underground, a series of chambers and passageways beneath that includes Greek Aqueducts and pagan burial chambers.

Do you know any other fun facts about Campania Italy?  Let’s talk it out in the comment section below.  Thanks for reading and watching the best of Italy.  A presto!

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