Gragnano, a small town in the province of Naples, at the foot of Lattari’s Mountains, is famous all over the world for its noble production of pasta and the much celebrated dry and sparkling wine.
On October 9, 2013, our city considered the capital of Pasta and the city of Macaroni, has been awarded the IGP by the European Community (Protected Geographical Indication).
The Committee recognized the Gragnano’s Pasta the ancient traditional production method by which it is produced with the use of bronze dies.
The reputation of our pasta is due to the humid climate of Lattari’s Mountains, to the mineral water sources Imbuto, Forma, Argentara and to the skill of our maccaronari (worker), which gave the names to some types of pasta, like Zita, Mafalda, Tripolina, Maccherone, Tagliolino, Mezzano, Regina, Reginella.
During the centuries famous people have enjoyed our pastas as Garibaldi (when he departed from Naples to Caprera, he brought with him a box of Gragnano’s macaroni who had sent him the friend of the family Domenico Della Rocca), il Duce, F. Nietzsche, Wagner and his wife Cosima Von Bullock, Totò, the brothers De Filippo, Susanna and Giovanni Agnelli, Lenin, Sophia Loren, as well as emperors, kings, princes and queens.
It is said that our fellow citizen Alfonso Sibilla, who moved to Venice with his wife, gave to the Doge Giovanni Dandolo a taste of dumplings. The famous Doge gladly ate this delicacy because it was original and superb.
Giovanni Ferrario (the master of Salerno’s School), Gragnano’s feudal lord and personal physician of King William II, in his medical treaty, he recommended the “vermicelli” for the therapy of fever.King William II enjoyed the spaghetti and he said: “Really excellent!”.
King Roberto d’Angiò and his wife, the Queen Sancia (died in honor of holiness) stayed in 1383, 1394, and 1414 in our country in the palace of don Nicolò Mariconda who made him taste our pasta. The rulers found it unique and delicious.
King Ladislaus and his mother, Queen Margaret, loved to spend long stays in Gragnano, they enjoyed our pastas.
The Spanish Royal Family, Isabella and Ferdinand, had tasted our fusilli so they asked our Lord Giovanni Miroballo to send them boxes full of pastas.
On 12 May 1885, King Umberto I of Savoy, accompanied by Queen Margaret and some ministers as Depretis Sandonato, Geniale and court dignitaries, came to Gragnano to inaugurate the railway. The Queen enjoyed the macaroni “al zuchillo” (tomato sauce) while the king ate a soup of pasta. Finally, the two Sovereigns and the whole court, refused the champagne, and they preferred to drink wine from the Gragnano’s vineyards.
On that occasion, the manufacturer Santolo Malafronte offered to the king (named “the cap” for his short stature) a new pasta shape called “Mezzano” in his honor.
While other manufacturers devised “Regine e Reginelle” (Mezzane e Mezzanelle) in honor of Queen.
The archive shows that the Consul of Sweden in Naples wrote a letter to our mayor Vincenzo Girace to receive news about the best companies of pasta to book boxes of pasta for his sovereign, King Gustaf VI.
On 22 August 1935 the Prince Vittorio Emanuele III with all his court, came to Gragnano to give comfort to Gragnanesi hit by a disastrous flood. He was received by the mayor, the lawyer Vincenzo Girace, and hosted by the brothers Della Rocca in their Caprile’s villa. During their stay, they made all the guests to enjoy our "fusilli Barzanella" watering them with the magnificent dry Plan Caprile’s wine. On July 12, 1842, King Ferdinand of Bourbon, accompanied by his wife and his court, visited the factories of long pasta of our country. The owners of pasta and the workers gave him the gift of a hundred mounds of our beloved macaroni. After the Holy Mass celebrated in the Corpus Christi’s Church, Della Rocca brothers offered the banquet during which was served to diners a new pasta shape produced in honor of the King, said the macaroon.
Queen Maria Theresa of Austria, after eating it, said: "A macaroni worth a hundred of spaghetti." Instead another manufacturer offered a plate of pasta in a new shape called "tagliolino", created in honor of Bourbon. The sovereign, after having tasted it, decreed: "Macaroni are genuine, as they are genuine Gragnano’s men." The owner thanked him by giving him some boxes of noodles that the cooks of the Sovereign added to the pastiera Easter. Ferdinand became fond of this pastiera and thanked him because his wife, who never laughed, eating it, since then, was more smiling. At the end of the visit the King granted the privilege of providing the highest court of any long pasta. The owners and workers put more care and attention producing “Li maccarune de lu Re” (the King’s macaroni). The King praised fusilli pasta and wine and he said: “Sublime!”
On 27 September 1953 the Mayor, Professor Ferruccio Esposito, organized the first and unforgettable "Festival of Macaroni" that caused quite a stir around the world.
The industrialist Raffaele Carfora, bearing in mind the illustrious history of pasta in the country, founded the pasta factory “The King of pasta”, not only to hand down to posterity the apotheosis of our products so much favored by the rulers of various European courts once but also to delight the palates around the world with his excellent pasta, which are produced with durum wheat semolina.
His products, all drawn to the bronze, contain many qualities to try it to believe it.
The company manufactures about thirty formats like paccheri (striped or not), elicoidali, calamarata, spaghetti, linguine, conchiglie etc.., As well as special sizes fusilli and candele.
The factory, located in Via dei Campi, is directed by promising, beauteous and likeable daughter Valentina Carfora to whom I wish many successes in the field in order to give more and more fame and glory to our beloved country.
Un “Semper ad majora! ad multos annos”.
Edited by Prof. Carlo Del Gaudio