Thursday, July 18, 2013

Driving in Naples and Visiting Avellino

Naples is the capital of the Campania region. The city is the third most populated municipality (city proper) of Italy, but the second metropolitan area, after Milan. It was founded between the 7th and 6th centuries BC by the Greeks and was named Neapolis, which means new city.

I asked my students what was their favorite American food. Most of them replied, “PIZZA!” By far pizza has become America's favorite food over the past 50 years.

It is believed that Italians invented the pizza, however the origins go back to the ancient times. Long ago the Babylonians, Israelites, Egyptians and other ancient Middle Eastern cultures were eating flat, un-leaven bread that had been cooked in mud ovens. The bread was much like a pita, which is still common in Greece and the Middle East today. Further it is known that ancient Mediterranean people such as the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians were eating the bread, topped seasoned with olive oil and native spices.
The lower class of the Naples, Italy is believed to have created pizza in a more familiar fashion. In the late 1800s an Italian baker named Raffaele Esposito, was believed to have created a dish for visiting royalty. According to the story, the Italian monarch King Umberto and his consort, Queen “Margherita” were touring the area. In order to impress them and to show his patriotic fervor Raffaele chose to top flat bread with food that would best represent the colors of Italy: red tomato, white mozzarella cheese and green basil.

We stopped at the Caffetieria Medina for a quick expresso.
The king and queen were so impressed that word quickly reached the masses. The end results were that the dish was well received to the extent that others began to copy it. 

Driving in Naples

Oh My!!! My husband and I were standing at a corner road waiting for our friends to pick us up to take us to their home in Avellino. What did we see? 
We saw scooters from 2-6 people, one even had their family dog! No helmets! Scooters completed “U” turns when they missed their turns or made left-hand turns from the right lanes. If moving cars stopped, the scooters weaved in and out of lanes and even used sidewalks when necessary. As a pedestrian, I made sure all moving vehicles had the right of way. Horns were used like musical instruments.
Beep! Beep! B-E-E-P!!!!!!!

Hold onto your hats and watch the “Driving Lesson” from Naples:


We finally made it back to Avellino. Avellino is a town and commune, capital of the province of Avellino in the Campania region of southern Italy. It is situated in a plain surrounded by mountains 42 km (26 mi) north-east of Naples and is an important hub on the road from Salerno to Benevento. 

There is nothing like the unique taste and texture of the largest fresh figs from Avellino. They are lusciously sweet with a texture that combines the chewiness of their flesh, the smoothness of their skin, and the crunchiness of their seeds.They just melt in your mouth!

Walking around Avellino.
 Our friend's cousin got married. We stayed an extra day in Avellino to experience this extraordinary and beautiful Italian wedding. Everyone in the town came to help celebrate this joyous event! And oh, did I mention the fresh caught seafood, home-made pasta and the wine? We celebrated from dawn to dusk.

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