A Pizza Pilgrimage to Campania
I first noticed Campania during my sophomore year in college, when I took a road trip through Italy and discovered a place that had all the makings to become my new home. It was a very tiny town of about 2,000 people, and it was situated on the western coast of Calabria, about 100 miles south of Naples. The reason it was so tiny wasn’t so much because of small numbers of people, but because of how tiny the town actually was. There were only two streets running in parallel, and a lot of people would turn off the main road when they saw the traffic coming.
To this day, when I return to Naples for a friend’s birthday, or when I attend a restaurant in Naples, I remember how tiny Campania is. It’s a little more than a mile long and a mile wide, and the streets are narrower than the road outside my house at home. People in Naples would probably be surprised by what Campania has to offer, but they’re not. Many people from Naples move down here to be closer to the beach, and of course, it’s where all of those famous Neapolitan restaurants are. People in Naples would also be surprised to know that the city, especially in the summer, is very touristy, with people taking a lot of photos with their cell phones. What I’m pointing out (to this day) is that the town actually has very few hotels, and almost all of the tourists stay in the cheaper guesthouses here.
Although the town is less than a mile long and a half-mile wide, there are lots of different restaurants here, and I thought that was a good place to get to know the people for whom it was named. I decided to walk along the main street a couple of times, just to see how everything else was. The other reason I chose the area around here was because I heard that the area was very beautiful. When I was first planning this trip, I was looking for the perfect place, but I ended up choosing the opposite choice: I went to a place with lots of tourists and very little tourists, for the most part, and I loved the fact that Naples, the town, was a walkable distance from wherever I was going.