Gragnano, a hill town located between a mountain crest and the Amalfi Coast, is a municipality in the Metropolitan City of Naples in southern central Italy's Campania region, located about 30 kilometres southeast of Naples city.
Gragnano is home of some of the best dried pasta in Italy. In 2013, Gragnano pasta was designated a Protected Geographical Indication (IGP) by the European Union.
Pasta production dates back to the end of the 16th century when the first family-run pasta factories appeared. Until the seventeenth century it was an uncommon food but, following the famine that hit the Kingdom of Naples, it became a fundamental food thanks to its nutritional qualities and the invention that allowed the production of pasta, called white gold, to low cost by pressing the dough through the dies.
The ideal soils to allow production were Gragnano and Naples, thanks to their microclimate composed of wind, sun and the right humidity. In fact, Gragnano's "main street was laid out expressly to capture the mountain breeze mixed with sea air back when pasta makers hung spaghetti on drying rods like laundry"
Just the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Naples were the first to give important turning points to the production of pasta, and in 1861 at the peak of the production of pasta there were the factories of Gragnano. The “Gragnanesi”, at that time, were the largest pasta producers in the world, particularly in the sale of macaroni. Thanks to its legendary tradition, Gragnano became the home of pasta celebrated by writers, historians and poets. One of the many artists who celebrated the qualities and tasting qualities of Gragnano pasta was the poet Gennaro Quaranta who composed Maccheronata, a poem in response to the pessimism of the Recanatese poet Giacomo Leopardi.
On 12 July 1845, the king of the Kingdom of Naples Ferdinando II delle Due Sicilie, during a lunch, granted the Gragnanese manufacturers the high privilege of providing the court of all long pasta, and so that for all, since then, Gragnano became the city of macaroni.
The types of pasta that characterize the production of Pasta di Gragnano IGP are:
Pasta Lunga such Liguine, Spaghetti, Vermicelli, Bucatini, Mafalde, Ziti lunghi, Candele, Fusilli lunghi,
Pasta Corta such Paccheri, Calamari, Penne, Rigatoni, Fusilloni, Tortiglioni, Caserecce, Cannelloni, Scialatielli, Lumaconi, Farfalle,
According on the type of surface, the pastes are still divided into two categories:
Lisce, appreciated for their lightness
Rigate, appreciated for its ability to hold sauces.
Indeed, the roughness of the surface is considered which helps the sauce to stick and makes the contact in the mouth tastier. It changes according to the technique and production tools; therefore the most wrinkled and porous are appreciated: hand made pasta, bronze-drawn pasta, rolled dough, baked pasta & nest pasta.