Campania is the Italy of our imaginations. Even if you have never heard of Campania, you know a few things about the place.
It’s the native home of much of what we Americans think of as “Italian food” – pizza, spaghetti, buffalo mozzarella, and as the second-most-populous region of Italy, the ancestral home to a lot of Italian Americans.
The region of Campania marks the real beginning of the Italian south, or mezzogiorno. It's the part of the south that most people see, easily accessible from Rome and home to some of the area's –indeed Italy's – most notable features: Roman sites, spectacular stretches of coast, tiny islands.
It's been highly sought after since at least the days of the Romans, who dubbed it campania felix, or "happy land," and then settled here.
Dominating the region are Naples, an utterly compelling city, and the Golfo di Napoli, as fascinating as it is beautiful.
Campania is also home to the ancient sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum – a smaller town on the coast, with a wealthier population than Pompeii; the islands, Capri, Ischia and Procida; Sorrento and the Amalfi coast.
The latter is probably Europe's most dramatic stretch of coastline, harboring some enticing and legendary beach resorts. Viva Campania!