A Virtual Trek Thru Italy: Campania’s Unknown Grapes

Italians have been lauded and derided for their affinity for a unique sensibility concerning life and their pursuit of a philosophical, religious and hedonistic lifestyle.

Throughout Italian history, this approach to life, this engrained pursuit of all things expressive of La Dolce Vita, has influenced the Western World in lasting ways. From the literary works of Dante, Boccaccio and Machiavelli, to the artistic brilliance and innovation of Michelangelo, Bernini and Raphael, to the centuries of Papal rule over the Roman Catholic church, to the countless contributions to high fashion, architectural design, gastronomy and all things sensory, Italians have indelibly etched their imprint on today’s society.

Years ago, I came upon a term that encapsulated the underlying theme that runs through these contributions – Sprezzatura, the art of effortless mastery.

How ironic, in the 21st century, that a significant source of Italy’s new-age influence comes not from the cultural city centers but from those areas not generally known for their historic influence – wine regions. Not from the famous wine regions, but from the agricultural underbelly that has been feeding Italians for centuries, including Campania, Veneto and Puglia.

This week, in my multi-art series on relatively unknown grapes grown in Italian wine regions, I’m focusing on Campania, the region just south of Rome, incorporating Naples, the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii.

Even before the Italian Renaissance, there…

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