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Campania is a region that is filled with culture. Not to be overshadowed by the immense cultural findings in Rome nor the art of Florence, the region's capital, Napoli, itself is a memorable standout for its cultural offerings. Because Campania has been such an important part of the growth of Italy for thousands of years, there is quite a bit of history, monuments, and customs that have evolved to form the ever-changing culture of Campania today.
Art is a very big part of life in Italy, and the art in Campania is immeasurably precious. The churches and Christian-themed art found particularly in Napoli can still appreciated even if you are not religious. Art throughout the region of Campania ranges from ancient frescoes in Pompei, Ercolano, Oplonti and Castellammare di Stabia to the most emerging artists showing their works in the downtown areas of many Campanian cities. Ancient monuments abound throughout the region as well with practically each town a host to some remnant from bygone eras or millennia. The ancient Romans called Campania "Terra Felix" which loosely translates to "fertile soil." Thus, many ancient settlements to noble courts have settled and left their mark in the region in the form of temples, art-adorned burial chambers, palaces (some now underwater), churches, art collections, and other grand forms of expression. Some notable findings might be the coliseum in Benevento, the regia palace of Caserta, Villa Rufolo in Ravello, the temples of Paestum, Castello Aragonese in Ischia; however, the list continues even to include daily findings by archeologists.
Music is another part of life that is very important in the culture. Though many people associate classical music with Italy, Napoletano songs and singers such as the region's contemporary favorites, Pino Daniele and Gigi D'Alessio, are also part of the region's staple for music appreciation. The rustic Cilentano music also makes its presence within the musical spectrum in Campania especially during local town festivals when people sing traditional songs which have survived for generations. Many cities host annual music festivals such as Ravello and Ceppaloni.
Although internationally known Sophia Loren grew up in Pozzuoli, a suburb north of Napoli, one of the most beloved and widely known actors in Campania if not in Italy would be Toto`. Born in the Rione Sanita` district of Napoli, Toto` (Antonio Vincenzo Stefano Clemente also known as Antonio de Curtis) starred in around ninety-seven films, some of which were directed by Pierpaolo Pasolini. In general, many films of Toto` are considered comedy classics and are still shown on a daily if not weekly basis on local Campanian TV channels. The notoriety of Toto` in Campanian if not Italian Culture might be on par to that of the "Little Rascals," "Three Stooges," "Laurel and Hardy," and "Abbott and Costello." Some academics have compared Toto` to Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, however, his genre of slapstick mixed with farce in the face of PostWWII Italy made him laughable and adored by millions who identified with his ingenuity in moments of otherwise desperation. His long face sometimes laughing sometimes bittersweet is still displayed in posters in many businesses throughout Napoli and the region of Campania where he is considered a legendary film icon.
Family and food are a huge part of the culture here. Eating is one of the biggest deals of the day with the morning ritualistic search for fresh produce, cheese, meats, and other fare at the farmers' markets. Meals are created into absolute feasts. Extremely strong espresso coffee particularly in Napoli and wine are also a big part of the culture here. This is one of the best places to go in the world for wine, and for good reason. One of the most expensive wines sold in the world hails from Giffone. One of the best activities to do while in Campania is to enjoy well-prepared fresh food, good wine, and a strong coffee with friends and family. Also, in the evenings and on the weekends people like to go to bars in popular piazzas to enjoy gelato, snacks, or a drink to pass the time in the company of other people.
In many small shops and family-owned businesses throughout the whole region, people put up a picture, calendar, or small icon of a priest with grey hair and a long grey beard. This priest, Padre Pio, is known to perhaps practically every person born and raised in the region of Campania. Padre Pio was born in Pietrelcina in the province of Benevento within Campania and became a saint. Although he performed the vast majority of miracles in San Giovanni Rotondo within the region of Puglia, the fact that he was born in Campania makes many citizens swell with pride.