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San Marzano sul Sarno is a town in the province of Salerno in the Campania region of southern Italy, situated about halfway between Naples and Salerno. It is located exactly in the Sarno River valley, in which traces of human presence have been found that date back to as early as the 9th-6th centuries BC. San Marzano is first mentioned in 601 AD in a letter by Pope Gregory I. In 1220 Frederick II of Sicily gave it to the abbey of Montevergine, and in 1234 it was acquired by the Filangieri family, who held it until the Angevine conquest of the Kingdom of Naples. Later families who held the title of San Marzano include the Del Tufo, the Mastrili and the Albertini.


San Marzano tomato is a variety of plum tomato.

Compared to the Roma tomato type, San Marzano tomatoes are thinner and more pointed. The flesh is much thicker with fewer seeds, and the taste is stronger, sweeter and less acidic. The San Marzano vines are indeterminate The San Marzano vines are indeterminate and have a somewhat longer season than other paste tomato varieties, making them particularly suitable for warmer climates. As is typical of heirloom plants, San Marzano is an open-pollinated variety that breeds true from generation to generation, making seed saving practical for the home gardener or farmer.

History of the product

San Marzano tomatoes originate from the small town of San Marzano sul Sarno, near Naples, Italy, and were first grown in volcanic soil in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. One story goes that the first seed of this tomato came to Campania in 1770, as a gift from the Viceroyalty of Peru to the Kingdom of Naples, and that it was planted in the area of San Marzano sul Sarno.

Commercial production

Amy P. Goldman calls the San Marzano "the most important industrial tomato of the 20th century"; its commercial introduction in 1926 provided canneries with a "sturdy, flawless subject, and breeders with genes they'd be raiding for decades." Though commercial production of the San Marzano variety is most closely associated with Italy, seeds for the variety are available worldwide. It is an heirloom variety. Canned San Marzanos, when grown in the Valle del Sarno (valley of the Sarno) in Italy in compliance with Italian law, can be classified as Pomodoro San Marzano dell'Agro Sarnese-Nocerino and have the EU "DOP" emblem on the label.

Most San Marzano tomatoes sold commercially are grown in Italy, though they are produced commercially in smaller quantities in other countries. Because of San Marzano's premium pricing, there is an ongoing battle against fraudulent product. On November 22, 2010, the Italian carabinieri confiscated weight = 1,470 tonnes (1,450 long tons; 1,620 short tons) of canned tomatoes worth €1.2 million of improperly labeled product.


The Neapolitan ragù is probably the best known condiment of Neapolitan cuisine despite its little diffusion in daily use, this due to the high complexity of preparation due also to the very long preparation times.

For these and other reasons, the Neapolitan Ragù turns out to be a typically festive dish consisting of the union of beef trick cut, cooked in San Marzano tomato sauce, over a very long low heat.

San Marzano tomatoes, along with Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio, have been designated as the only tomatoes that can be used for Vera Pizza Napoletana.

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