The name Campania is said by some to have derived from the ancient tribe of Campani, the original inhabitants of the region as called by the ancient Greeks upon their colonization. In fact, the islands of Ischia and Capri are said to be the first Greek colonies in Italy, followed by Naples, Herculaneum, Pompeii and Paestum. Others speculate that the name stems from the Roman word for countryside, as this region became an escape for the wealthy from the toils of Roman city life. This is evidenced by the archaeological remains of many magnificent villas. Many of these villas grew their own grapes, and the wines commanded the praise of ancient writers, especially those from Avellino, Vesuvius, Ischia, Capri, and especially the Falernian wines of the northern coastal area. Much later, Pope Paul III’s court was still raving about Campanian wines, more than those of any other Italian region. Such praise is still bestowed today. Campania holds many delightful attractions for visitors, as the region is a showcase of history, art, music, mouthwatering cuisine, beautiful coastlines and seaside resorts. However, the coastal glamour does not reflect the more poverty-stricken interior, which has been severely damaged by earthquakes. For several years Campania’s viniculture remained in decline as growers left the region and DOC laws remained largely ignored. Despite these struggles, stories of success include the red Taurasi which, due to its depth and ability to age, is often called the “Barolo of the south”, and two of Italy’s most distinguished white appellations, Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo, are found just east of Naples. Less fortunate DOCs such as island appellations Capri and Ischia have all but disappeared under the crush of tourism. Still, more than any other region of Italy, Campania is like an archaeological dig of ancient grapevines: Aglianico, Falanghina, Fiano, Falernum, and Asprinio, to name a few. Despite the well-known fertility of the volcanic and alluvial soils in this part of Italy, Campania’s yields remain relatively low. Higher levels of productivity are found along the sun drenched coastal zone near the Tyrrhenian Sea and in the cool heights of the Apennines. In fact, most of Campania’s geography consists of lavish hills that are affected by the strange weather patterns of the Vesuvius and Lattari mountains. The climate ranges from hot and dry along the coast to cool and damp in the hills and although drought can affect the coastal vines, most hilly zones receive ample precipitation. Historically, under the reign of royal houses such as Anjou and Bourbon, Campania’s city of Naples was considered the Capital of “haut cuisine”. Today Naples is a mecca of street food. Pizza Napoletana reigns but the range of fried, grilled, sautéed, baked and frozen delights available at shops, carts and kiosks in the city is endless. Neapolitans are devoted to pasta yet fruits and vegetables also dominate the diet. The water buffalo that graze near Salerno and Capua provide the renowned mozzarella di bufala. The region is also justifiably proud of its desserts, which include pastries, gelato and the espresso enjoyed in the many Neapolitan cafes.