Campania Wine tour
Italy is one of the world’s greatest food destinations, and that’s one of the reasons we love it so much! Southern Italy is the heart of the country’s gastronomy scene, producing greats such as mouth-watering mozzarella, succulent seafood and everyone’s favourite, Neapolitan pizza. And our four-day wine tour to Campania didn’t let us down!
Southern Italy has been producing wine for more than 4000 years. Settled by the Greeks, southern Italy was known as Magna Graecia, or “Great Greece. “The Greeks brought some of their grapes to Italy, but the peninsula already had many indigenous grapes.
The first cult wine in the world is said to have come from this part of Italy. Pliny the Elder described Falernian wine as the most famous and expensive. It came from the slopes of Mt. Falernus south of Rome and in the region of Campania. It was supposedly a white wine of high alcohol level that was available in both a sweet and dry style. Some reports state it was made of Aglianico, which is a red grape, whereas other state is was made of Greco (a white grape).
Located about two hours south of Rome, the wine region of Campania is a magical and romantic place. The word ‘Campania’ means ‘Happy Land’, and the locals told us that the landscape is similar to that of Piedmont. I would have to agree because Campania is beautiful with rolling hills, vineyards, olive groves, red poppies, and rocky mountain cliffs. And so to exploring this fabulous wine region!
We hit the ground running on our first day in Campania, with a swift transfer from Naples airport to the town of Mirabello Eclano for a bite of lunch, much needed after the early start from the UK! After lunch we headed for the town of Taurasi, in the heart of the Campania wine region for a wine tour and tasting at a private wine cellar, Antica Hirpinia, originally formed as a cooperative in 1959 and, since 2016, owned and managed by a group of friends.
Setting out from Taurasi on day two of our wine tour, we explored the Salae Domini farmhouse of Antonio Caggiano, an ancient building surrounded by the Irpinia countryside, historic cellars and vineyards, toured the winery and enjoyed some delicious local food and wine for lunch. After lunch we set out for the town of Avellino to the Feudi San Gregorio winery. The winery is one of the region’s most famous and highly regarded in Southern Italy, and was at the forefront of the revival of the wines of Campania.
With another day of wine tasting completed, we continued on our travels to Paestum, where we checked into the Savoy Beach Hotel, which would be our base for the next three nights. And what a place to stay! Sandy beaches, comfortable rooms and plenty of dining options nearby, with friendly staff… and some pretty good wines too!
As I’ve already mentioned, this region is not only known for its outstanding wines, but for its mozzarella. So it made a lot of sense to take a visit to Vannulo, a certified organic buffalo farm, to see how this world-famous cheese is produced, followed by lunch where we had the opportunity to taste some of their delicious produce.
With satisfied bellies from a gastronomic lunch, we made our way to a family wine estate in the province of Cilento for a tour and tasting, and whose wines are imported to the UK by a prestigious wine merchant!
And as if we hadn’t eaten enough already, we spent a very relaxing evening dining at a local restaurant in the nearby town of Agropoli, overlooking the sea, with wines from a local producer, Pippo Greco.
Our fourth day in Campania was another busy day exploring the village of Punta Tresino, above the town of Castellabate, touring the vineyards and cellars of Agricola San Giovanni, which overlook the sea. Our wine tasting couldn’t take place in the winery itself so we detoured to a local restaurant for lunch with wines to match from the winery. Perfect!
We had a fairly relaxed evening, with a wine tasting in our from a local biodynamic producer, and chance to explore more of the nearby restaurants for even more delicious Italian gastronomy.
A visit to Campania wouldn’t be complete without seeing the remarkable archeological site of Paestum which is home to three of the world’s best-preserved ancient Greek temples. Deemed a World Heritage site by Unesco, it includes a museum crammed with millennia-old frescoes, ceramics and artefacts.
It was the perfect way to end our wine tour to the Campania wine region, and I thoroughly look forward to hosting another tour here again before too long. There’s so much to see, taste and do, so I hope you’ll join me on the next one!