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The Territory

Campania is in second place  among the Italian regions regarding population  and the first regarding density. Located in southern Italy,  on the west and south-west Campania is lapped by the Tyrrhenian Sea, it confines  on  the north-west with Lazio, to the north  Molise, on the east with  Puglia and Basilicata. The name  Campania derives from the Latin name  of  “campus” which means plain, open countryside, indicating together with the favourable climate as well as the known fertility  and amenity of the area. Campania can be divided into two climatic zones:  the mild climate zone, influenced by the presence of the sea, which includes the coast of Caserta, Naples and Salerno (with, of course, the archipelago) where the benefits of the sea can be more  greatly appreciated; and the zone with a colder  climate, that includes the internal zones  where the increasing presence of the  mountains is felt: in fact, in the winter  in the mountainous zones  more rigid temperatures  are recorded and also in the valleys  there are frost and fog banks, at times  also snowfalls that become more and more dense when penetrating into the hinterland  and the altitude rises.

In the summer  the temperatures rise  and there are days of bright  sunshine, however, with the distribution of the mountain ranges  and the beneficial influence of the sea the heat is bearable. Regarding precipitations, most of the region is exposed  to the humid Atlantic winds due to the relative vicinity of the Apennine mountain range to the  coastline. As a result the rainfall is quite heavy  also along the coast (an annual average around 1,000 mm, except  for some lower values  along the Caserta coast ) whereas the minimum rainfall values are strangely enough in the hinterland further away beyond the Apennine  watershed : this tends to raise the rainfall values  to the west up to  2,000 mm in some localities of  Irpinia, whereas  over the watershed  to the east (in the zones confining with Puglia) it suddenly drops  to 600–700 mm.

Campania is a very variegated  region in its morphological structure . It is characterised by  the mountain chain of the Apennines and the internal  stretches of hills . The lowland zones are mainly distributed  in the areas of Caserta and the province of  Salerno. In Campania there are  six important volcano centres: the most famous is  Vesuvius with Monte Somma, Roccamonfina, on the border between  Lazio and  Campania, the Phlegraean Fields, the volcanic complex of the Island of  Ischia and  Monte Epomeo with the Procida and  Vivara volcanoes and finally the sea volcanoes on the seabed of the Gulf of Naples . In the course of history, the activities of these volcanoes  have determined the actual morphological structure  of the region  and of the entire country; in particular  the importance that the eruptions of Vesuvius  have had are to be underlined.

 Campania is among the regions  that have a major influence on the formation of  National agricultural revenue and is among the Italian regions  with  the highest agriculture-food products  recognised by the Ministry for Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies. The high fertility of the territory  exists  due to the  outstanding presence of volcanic land and this is more or less distributed  equally over  all the region: the  pasta of Gragnano,   strip of small. spicy peppers, the lemons of  Amalfi . The main productions regard potatoes, aubergines, beans and  tomatoes (of primary importance the  San Marzano DOP of the  Nocera-Sarno countryside zone and  the “piennolo DOP” of the Vesuvius area  ). Also the production of wheat for  pasta is very important, the production of the latter being widely distributed in the Campania hinterland, especially in the zone of Benevento.

Even before Roman times  Campania was considered a rich and renowned region due to its ideal geographical position, the fertility of the land and the excellence of its products ( the so-called  Campania felix), and already from the first decades of  the nineteenth century  the economy of Campania  began to modernise. At that time in fact there were already  real industrial development centres, such as the  textile industry of the Irno Valleys and  Sarno in the area of Salerno, the mechanical  plants of Pietrarsa and Naples, the dockyards of  Torre Annunziata and Pagani, the shipyards of  Castellammare di Stabia, the paper mills  of the  Liri Valley, etc. (without mentioning the numerous  important economic activities  present just in the town of Naples).

Hard hit by the process of the unification of Italy  of  1860, the economy of Campania  was still among the most important  of Italy in the first half of the twentieth century.  Campania gradually lost this role  as a region economical leader  of the south  during the second half of the twentieth century, when also the gap with the more important  northern regions  began to widen considerably. Today the provinces of  Naples, Salerno and Caserta are from this point of view  the richest zones. The industrial zones of the Campania plains, due to the large number of factories, today form one of the most industrialised zones of the entire Campania region and  of Southern Italy .


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