Campania – Ancient Italy at the Mediterranean Sea
Campania is a region in the south of Italy which impresses with an ancient legacy, numerous World Cultural Heritage sites and a scenic Mediterranean coast. The beautiful landscape, the breath of the sea and the delicious cuisine make this region a storybook part of Italy.
Geography - The most densely populated Italian region
Campania (capital: Naples) is a region in Southern Italy at the Tyrrhenian Sea, which comprises the five provinces Avellino, Benevento, Caserta, Naples and Salerno. With an area of 13,595 km² and 5,769,750 inhabitants, it is the most densely populated region in Italy. Campania is mainly known for the islands of Capri and Ischia as well as for the active volcano Mount Vesuvius, which is almost 1,300 metres high. The weather in this region is dominated by Mediterranean climate, which causes warm to hot summers and mild winters.
Nature - A Mediterranean coastal landscape
Campania's coast is about 300 kilometres long and the region's main attraction. The coastal areas of the Amalfi Coast and the Cilento Coast are particularly popular. Clear, blue water in small bays, fine sandy beaches, steep and harsh rocks as well as small slopes, which are vegetated by oranges, lemons, olives and grapes await travellers here. The world-famous islands of Capri and Ischia are only a few kilometres away from the Italian mainland and constitute a part of the Campanian coast just like the scenic Mediterranean vegetation. The island of Capri is known for its Blue Grotto (Grotta Azzurra), which owes its name to the bright blue water which is reflected by the sea floor. Faraglioni is a well-known rock formation and the island's landmark. Campania's landscape away from the sea is characterised by hills and by the mountain range of the Apennines in the east with an altitude difference of over 2,000 metres. Another natural attraction which has to be mentioned is the volcano Mount Vesuvius (1,300 m) east of Naples, which is still active and has been classified as the most dangerous volcano on earth by scientists, partly due to its eruption in 79 AD.
Culture - Time travel to ancient times
Campania owes its name to the Romans, who derived it from the Latin phrase "campania felix" (happy landscape), which refers to the great fertility of the landscape. Today, this landscape is not only covered in Mediterranean vegetation but also in countless cultural treasures and monuments which bear witness to the region's ancient and medieval past. Two of the most famous ancient cities are Pompeii and Herculaneum. These history-charged cities were buried and destroyed during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. However, the layer of ash and lava preserved the cities so that unique testimonies such as imprints of victims of the natural catastrophe shed light on Roman culture and European history. Pompeii is considered one of the most interesting present-day archaeological finds and became part of the World Cultural Heritage of the UNESCO in 1998. Other worthwhile Cultural Heritage sites are the historical centre and the impressive palace of Naples, the gardens as well as the aqueduct of Caserta, the Cilento National Park and the monastery in Padula.
Experience - The region of origin of pizza
Campania's cuisine is full of delicacies. Visitors can treat themselves to fresh fruit and vegetables, fish specialities, delicious olive oil and exquisite wines like Lacryma Christi ("tears of Christ"). Many people consider the Campanian cuisine the true Italian cuisine because many typical Italian culinary products such as pizza, spaghetti with tomato sauce, carbonara or mozzarella come from this region. The origin of the popular Pizza Margherita is known worldwide. In 1889, pizza bakers from Naples created a pizza with the national colours of Italy (tricolore: green basil, white mozzarella, red tomatoes) in honour of Umberto I and his wife Margherita. Tomatoes and mozzarella - in particular the buffalo mozzarella from Mondragone, Battipaglia, Capua and Eboli - are generally important and common ingredients of the Campanian cuisine. Besides national events and celebrations, some of which reflect ancient traditions, Campania hosts festivals of international importance. The Ravello-Festival (Wagner-Festival), for example, takes place at the Amalfi Coast every year and is a unique experience for lovers of classical music.
Activities - Relaxing on Ischia and long hikes on the mainland
Campania is an excellent destination for recreational holidays. Several thermal springs which are supported by volcanic activity are located around the Gulf of Naples. The island of Ischia has a great deposit of healing water because of its volcanic origin, which is used by a number of local clinics, thermal baths and health resorts. The journey to the island is a great opportunity to take a boat tour along Campania's breathtaking coastal landscape. In addition to the numerous thermal springs, the region's fine sandy beaches offer ideal conditions for relaxing and doing water sports like sailing, surfing, kayaking or diving. The latter is a unique experience because of the many cliff coasts and their colourful underwater world. Other popular leisure activities are hikes and mountain biking tours through the region. The Parco Nazionale del Cilento, Vallo di Diano e Alburni, for example, is equipped with signposted paths through an untouched, fascinating nature and makes visitors forget about your stressful everyday life for a couple of hours.
Campania can be reached by plane, car or train. There are many flights to the airports in Naples, Rome or Milan from European cities. Travellers who are planning to arrive by car should note that they have to pay a slightly higher toll on the motorways. The peak season in the region lasts from March to October.
A Trip to Campania offers everything holidaymakers could wish for: beach, bays, crystal clear water, mountains, history as well as cultural and culinary experiences. Thermal baths and beaches promise relaxation while the unspoiled nature on the mainland offers perfect conditions for being active.