In the post-war period in Italy the general populations' first worry was putting something on the table for lunch and dinner, but the Neapolitans have always managed to get by. "A Neapolitan is recognisable by how he behaves, how he manages to live "without a penny", as the great Totò, a Neapolitan comic actor, declared.
But it is the pizza napoletana that has rendered Campania famous throughout the world thanks to its quality ingredients: the San Marzano Dop tomato, the Campania buffalo Mozzarella Dop cheese, and its extra virgin Dop olive oil. It is said that a Neapolitan baker invented it in honour of queen Margaret, consort of King Humbert, on the occasion of their visit to Naples. It is inspired by the colours of the Italian flag, and uses green basil, white flour and mozzarella and red San Marzano tomatoes. The pizza, intended as a focaccia (a kind of flat bread), was in reality already consumed in Roman times, but the addition of tomatoes, "discovered" in Europe thanks to the conquest of the Americas, was a clever invention. An invention that first seduced the United States, when in 1905, at number 53 of Spring Street, New York, the first Neapolitan pizza restaurant was opened; the rest of the world came later.
Beauty, high-class cuisine and splendid landscapes are moreover the generous ingredients of the Campanian success. The splendour of Capri - where Russian and British writers from Maksim Gor'kij to Graham Greene stayed, and where in the 1970s one could meet Brigitte Bardot, barefoot and beautiful or Sofia Loren, elegant and seductive, a doc Campanian - perfectly combines with the refined dishes of the Neapolitan cuisine.
This region cannot but be crossed with a smile on one's lips and a clear heart, as from each angle nature, like the hat of Sarchiapone (a character in the Neapolitan comedy), has pulled out "all sorts of good things": 19 Doc wines, 1 Docg and 9 Igt (all quality wines), 3 specialities of extra virgin olive oil to season the white beef (Pgi), and, at Christmas, together with the traditional pastiera, a great nougat filled with the exquisite Giffoni hazelnuts. A true gastronomic paradise condensed into 40 certified products.
Then a stroll around the Sorrento peninsula intent on picking its sunny lemons or savouring the Gragnano pasta, remember the old saying: "at the table you never grow old". And above all, as Totò said: "Appetite does not grow with eating, but with fasting".