Ultimate Guide to the Campania Wine Region

Campania Wine Region History and Culture

The name Campania comes from the Latin phrase "campania felix," which roughly translates as "fertile land" o­r "rich or happy land." This is understandable, considering the beauty of the landscape. Just about every ruling ancient empire spent some time in this region throughout its history. Perhaps the first to truly make their mark on the area were the ancient Greeks, whose mythology is connected to the origin of Naples. Have you heard of the Sirens? They were the bewitching, singing beauties that tried to lure Ulysses to his death with their songs. One of the Sirens was named Parthenope. She was absolutely heartbroken that Ulysses ignored her. Like any good, dramatic mythological creature, she threw herself into the rocks off the coast of Italy. The Greeks found her body and erected a monument, around which Naples formed centuries later [source: Lancaster].

From there, Campania passed through the hands of many rulers. There were the Romans, of course. Then the area was ruled and developed by the Byzantines, Normans, Spaniards, Austrians and French. Eventually, in 1870, "the boot" became the Kingdom of Italy when the unification of Italy was completed [source: travelplan.it].

Because all of these groups came through Campania at one time or another, echoes of multiple cultures helped shape the region. It's no surprise, then, that Italy contains massive amounts of archeological artifacts, paintings, sculptures and historical centers. It's the country with the most sites on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's World Heritage list [source: UNESCO].

Campania is home to a number of museums, churches, fountains, squares, castles and villas. But perhaps its most notable contribution to the world comes from the earth.

Are you hungry yet? Read on to learn about Campania's agriculture and tempting dishes.