VESUVIO

Mount Vesuvius, Monte Vesuvio, is a vulcan located on the Gulf of Naples in Campania, Italy, at a short distance from the shore.

It is one of several volcanoes which form the Campanian volcanic arc.

The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Oplontis and Stabiae, as well as several other settlements. The eruption ejected a cloud of stones, ashes and volcanic gases to a height of 33 km, erupting molten rock and pulverized pumice, ultimately releasing 100,000 times the thermal energy released by the Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings.

The only surviving eyewitness account of the event consists of two letters by Pliny the Younger to the historian Tacitus.

 

Mythology

Vesuvius has a long historic and literary tradition. It was considered a divinity of the Genius type at the time of the eruption of AD 79: it appears under the inscribed name Vesuvius as a snake in the decorative frescos of many lararia, or household shrines, surviving from Pompeii.

The Romans regarded Mount Vesuvius to be devoted to Hercules. The historian Diodorus Siculus relates a tradition that Hercules, in the performance of his labors, passed through the country of nearby Cumae on his way to Sicily and found there a place called "the Phlegraean Plain" (Campi Flegrei), "from a hill which anciently vomited out fire ... now called Vesuvius". It was inhabited by bandits, "the sons of the Earth", who were giants. With the assistance of the gods he pacified the region and went on. The facts behind the tradition, if any, remain unknown, as does whether Herculaneum was named after it. An epigram by the poet Martial in 88 AD suggests that both Venus, patroness of Pompeii, and Hercules were worshipped in the region devastated by the eruption of 79.

Description

Vesuvius National Park, Parco Nazionale del Vesuvio, is an Italian national park centered on the active volcano Vesuvius, southeast from Naples. The park was founded on June 5, 1995 and covers an area of around 135 square kilometers all located within the Province of Naples.

It is centered on the active volcano and its most ancient (now inactive) crater, Monte Somma.

It houses 612 vegetable species and 227 wildlife ones.

For centuries Vesuvian agriculture has been one of the richest in Italy, but fifty years of wild construction have relegated it to the corners of the "Vesuvian city", making it almost invisible to the tourist who crosses the slopes of the volcano.

But the agriculture of Vesuvius is still there, and the lava soil at the foot of the volcano has remained the fertile one exalted by Pliny the Elder. The relaunch of the products of the territories surrounding the volcano is in fact among the primary objectives of the park.

WINE - Of the hundred typical vines of Vesuvius, the Piedipalomba or Piedirosso, the Greco del Vesuvio, the Coda di volpe and the Caprettone are still cultivated, to which have been added the Aglianico and the Falanghina. Vesuvius red, rosé or white DOC and the famous Lachryima Christi available in the red, rosé and white varieties, are obtained from the grapes.

FRUIT - Pellecchiella apricots from Vesuvius were already famous in antiquity. Numerous varieties, such as the boccuccia, the baracca, the vitillo, the pollastrella and the cafona. The cherries malizia and durona del monte, the susina pazza di Somma and the uva catalanesca, which ripens between October and November and can also be used for winemaking, are also excellent. Oranges and lemons, omnipresent in the nearby Sorrento peninsula, are grown in the slopes of the coastal strip.

VEGETABLES - Typical of the Vesuvian countryside are the cherry tomatoes Piennollo del Vesuvio, in the dialect Spunzillo, which are left also dried with in the sun, the friarielli, the cavolfiore gigante used in many Neapolitan recipes, and the cipolla Regina, grown mainly in the surroundings of Pompeii.

 

NUTS - Even the collection of pine nuts, particularly fragrant here, is traditional in the pine forests at the foot of Vesuvius.

 

FLOWERS - The cultivation of flowers is one of the most important resources on the slopes of Vesuvius and the Agro Nolano, and occupies a total of 1,500 hectares. Carnations, gladioli, chrysanthemums, roses, snapdragons, irises and orchids are mainly produced.

 

The  grape tomato   Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio DOP is cultivated in this area, a vegetable with a characteristic oval or slightly pruniform shape; the peduncular part has ribs visible in the skin which is thick.

The fresh product has a red pulp, an external coloring tending to vermilion and the flavor is intense with sweet-sour notes.

It includes the ecotypes of cherry tomatoes commonly known as Fiaschella, Lampadina, Patanara, Principe Borghese and Re Umberto, similar in morphological and qualitative characteristics.

 

The peculiarities of Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio DOP are the high consistency of the peel, the attachment strength to the peduncle, the high concentration of sugars, acids and other soluble solids.

These peculiarities are deeply linked to the soil and climatic factors typical of the geographical area in which the cherry tomato is grown: soils of volcanic origin made up of pyroclastic material originating from the eruptive events of the Somma-Vesuvius volcanic complex.

In this environment of choice, the quality of the tomato reaches peaks of excellence. Precisely the richness in organic acids determines the liveliness or "acidity" of taste, which is the distinctive character of the Vesuvius cherry tomato. This, in addition to deriving from a genetic peculiarity, is an indication of a cultivation method with low environmental impact and with reduced use of irrigation waters, which makes this crop particularly suitable for a protected area, such as that of the Vesuvius National Park .

Cherry tomatoes are grown exclusively in the open field. The plants reach a height of 80 cm, adequately supported by stakes that prevent the fruits from touching the ground. The harvest takes place in the period between 20 June and 31 August, directly cutting the bunch. Once collected, the bunches are arranged on a thread of vegetable fiber, so as to compose a single bunch, piennol, whose weight can vary from a minimum of 1 kg to a maximum of 5 kg.

Piennolo is hung in dry and well-ventilated places. This method of preservation leads to a slow ripening of the fruits and allows to maintain the organoleptic qualities of the product up to 7-8 months from the harvest.

 

The Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio DOP for its qualities is a fundamental ingredient of Neapolitan and Campania cuisine in general, and has great versatility in the kitchen. Alongside the traditional spaghetti with clams and other seafood, local chefs undertake to use it in many other dishes, including a variant of the delicious Neapolitan pizza.

© 2014 by ALTO Fine Food 

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