With its rich food culture, Caserta offers a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of Italy’s famed tourist destinations. Foodies will love exploring Caserta while vegetarians can find delight in one of Rome’s most underrated meatless restaurants.
Caserta, Italy is a city in the region of Campania in southern Italy. It is known for its beautiful and well-preserved Baroque and Renaissance architecture. The area was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1997 as a Cultural Landscape.
On November 10, the COP26 Summit in Glasgow came to a close, and the international dignitaries boarded their planes to return home. Meanwhile, the European Union held conferences on sustainable tourism’s role as a driver toward global climate neutrality on November 12 in Caserta, Campania, Italy.
Panelists from EU Brussels and Caserta municipal authorities spoke during the Caserta meeting, and the term “sustainable” was used often. A ticking clock that can’t quite tell us what, when, or where our world confronts an environmental catastrophe prompted this smart sequencing of a downstream event.
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A similar private sector event was held one story above in the Plaza Castera Hotel, putting legs to the responsible tourism ideology. Local Italian inbound tour operators mingled with consumers from a dozen nations, while Italian wineries, olive oil producers, and other gastronomic providers were just over the street. It was the perfect junction for an area wanting to move away from COVID and toward a circular, lower-impact tourist economy.
In Italy’s Campania area, the message was clear: it’s time to go back to the farm, and we’re all welcome. And why should Italy not take the lead? The Slow Food movement began in Italy in 1989 and has now expanded to over 160 nations. Slow Food has become (to varied degrees) ingrained in the areas we visit all over the globe. Its goal is to guarantee that everyone has access to “excellent, clean, and fair food,” as well as to prevent “the extinction of local food cultures and traditions.”
It is a tourist concept whose time has arrived in the post-COVID era (once again). And what better place to witness it come to maturity than Campania in southern Italy? Food decisions we make when traveling have an impact on the world around us, well beyond how Napoli gave the world pizza. How we eat has an influence on every aspect of our lives. When it comes to how food is grown, delivered, and consumed, culture, politics, agriculture, and the environment are all intertwined.
Is it possible to create a responsible tourist business by combining food/wine and international tourism? One thing is certain: the Slow Food movement’s credo has found its way into the small-group package trip business in southern Italy. It’s like putting slow cuisine in a fast lane, and it might become a post-COVID sales opportunity for agents and consumers looking for a tiny experience in the Italian countryside.
Food/Wine displays by Mirabilia (photo by Greg Custer)
It’s a sustainable tourism marriage made in heaven, connecting travelers to the precise regions where iconic products (buffalo mozzarella) and regional fruits like the Melannurca Campana PGI, Maddalona (an apple extraordinary) are grown and processed.
Caserta is around 25 miles north of Naples’ famous harbour. The city (population 80,000) provides a rural, small-town Italy atmosphere (farmers markets, regional food, and a historic hilltop medieval hamlet), as well as Europe’s biggest palace, finest silk mill, a 30-mile aqueduct, architectural wonders, and close access to Mount Pompei. Campania is home to ten of Italy’s 58 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Slow Food enchantment is on exhibit in the Campania region’s farmland, hills, orchards, and traditional micro-processing. Caserta is located at the foot of Italy’s second-longest mountain range, the Campanian Apennines, which reaches from north to south along the Mediterranean coast. The famous Amalfi Coast is just an hour away from Caserta.
Old Caserta, Casertavecchia (Photo courtesy of Greg Custer)
It’s an invitation to explore rural settings where exceptional products are in situ, linked to typical places that primarily exist to exalt craftsmanship and time-tested preparation of specific foods, if you walk the narrow roads that lead from Old Caserta into the valley where Caserta came to life in the 16th century.
Consider the PDO Caserta Mozzarella and Buffalo Ricotta. Production is thought to have started in the 12th century and is now governed by a precise schedule (PDO is a type of Geographical Indication of the European Union, and the UK aimed at preserving the designations of origin of food-related products). Or Conciato Romano cheese, manufactured in Castel di Sasso (north of Caserta), which was established to provide a protein supply during the summer months when sheep don’t give milk. The town of Alife, located farther north, is known for its onions, which are sweet, strong, and fragrant.
Slow food, which began in 1989, will undoubtedly become a crucial sustainable tourism specialty that the world will increasingly need. The Campania area is a sweet spot in the Italian countryside, where product, policy, and a sustainable tourist experience transport you from farm to fork. Inquire about these and other Italian Slow Food experiences with your preferred US travel provider.
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