Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP is the ambassadress of a deeply fascinating land that deserves to be described. We have put together this travel itinerary for the discovery of the DOP towns and villages.
In this one we are covering the Caserta coast.
Treasure troves of ancient wonders from distant civilisations, this length of the Caserta coastline provides many tourist attractions: you can bathe in the waters off the sandy beaches or join in water sports; take walks along the ports and the paths that flank the sea or admire the cultural and artistic assets from the Greek and Roman eras. A holiday of sun, sea and architectural beauty is waiting just for you.
Are you ready?
We’ll take you on a discovery of the seaside itineraries where you can relax in peace.
Some info on the Caserta coast
Also called the Domitian Coast, its name is taken from the Domitian Road, the greatest work completed by the eponymous emperor in 95. AD. This great road artery connects the Garigliano river to Pozzuoli.
This length of coast, with its shallow and sandy seabed extends for around 40 km and is crossed by three rivers: the Volturno, the Savone and the Garigliano. During the 1980s and 90s, the municipalities of this part of the territory and, above all those of Castel Volturno and Mondragone, achieved their greatest levels of development and demographic expansion.
Mondragone: a wonderful walk along the seaside
The first stop on the Caserta coast is the town of Mondragone. The origins of this thermal and beach centre, located between the Volturno and Garigliano plains, are a motive of disagreement between academics and the lovers of legends. According to the former, the town’s name derives from the Dragoni family who moved into the Monte Petrino castle overlooking the city. The latter, however, claim that the name refers to a dragon who lived on the slopes of Monte Petrino.
Whatever the case, Mondragone was present during the passage of numerous civilisations: from the Quaternaries, to the Aurunci, through to the Romans. The inhabitants greatly appreciated both its vicinity to the Appian Way, which facilitated both commerce and tourism, and the fertile land for agricultural crops and wine growing.
What to see in Mondragone?
- The Biagio Greco museum, where you can wander through the 5 rooms of prehistoric remains and one from the medieval period. Brooches, arms and armour, bolts, jewellery, coins, tomb decorations, painted vases, votive offerings, statues and a fascinating time machine will all take you back in time.
- The coastline. Here you will find a breath-taking view framed by the islands of Ischia and Procida on the one hand and the islands of Ponza on the other.
- The Mondragone beach. Whether you prefer a free beach or a lido with deckchairs and sports equipment, Mondragone won’t let you down. You can even indulge in surf casting, a type of sport fishing done with very strong fishing rods.
- The Mondragone cheese dairies. You don’t want to miss out on just made Mozzarella Di Bufala Campana DOP do you? We suggest you accompany it with a glass of Falerno, a typical wine of the area called the “nectar of the gods” by Virgil in many of his works.
Sinuessa and the rediscovered Venus
Located north of Mondragone, Sinuessa was an ancient and prosperous Roman colony, subsequently submerged by the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea after an earthquake.
What remains today are the thermal baths, some bits of wall and the public areas.
Founded by the Romans in 296 BC, the ‘Atlantis’ of Mondragone was one of the richest settlements in Campania, with villas overlooking the sea frequented by illustrious people (including Cicero) and with famous thermal baths with curative properties visited by the Roman patricians and matrons. One of the unmissable monuments discovered at Sinuessa is the Sinuessa Venus, found in the archaeological area in 1911 while a vineyard was being put in. Attributed to Praxiteles, the Greek sculptor from the IV Century BC, this headless and armless statute of classical beauty, once adorned one of Sinuessa’s Roman villas.
A slope of volcanic tufa to the south-west of the extinct volcano of Roccamorfina, is the background to Sessa Aurunca, another unmissable destination in the province of Caserta.
Once you arrive in this small town of prehistoric origins, you will find yourself faced with a macrocosm of different eras: from the ancient settlements and necropolis remains of the Aurunci and the medieval walls, through to the Roman architectures and Baroque embellishments.
A part of your itinerary will undoubtedly include some of the 21 churches, with cupolas and bell-towers decorated with yellow and green majolica tiles.
The theatre of Sessa Aurunca also merits a visit. The second largest Roman theatre in Campania, following that in Naples, the impressiveness of this site will leave you speechless, with its great cavea decorated with precious marbles from Numidia or Carrara.
The history of Sessa Aurunca is marked by a malediction called down in 1800 by the town’s bishop who had been expelled due to his anti-liberal views. The curse condemned the city of Sessa Aurunca to social distress, anarchy and malice for seven generations to come.
On the Gaeta Gulf, onto which Sessa Aurunca faces, you can visit the area of Baia Domizia. This tourist beach location immersed in the greenery of the Mediterranean scrub, was the tourist destination of many Italian and other celebrities such as Lucio Dalla, Totò, John Lennon and Patty Pravo. The waters and the fine sands are ideal for a holiday with children and, who knows, between one dip in the sea and another, you might even meet one of the nymphs.
The first holiday village built in Baia Domizia was constructed over a wood where the ancient Romans believed nymphs lived.
A place where you can relax and listen to the sound of the waves breaking on the shore: a happy place both in name and in fact. Baia Felice is a beach tourist village, a district of the Municipality of Cellole, lying between Baia Azzurra and Baia Domizia at around 60 km from Naples and 40 from Caserta. Baia Felice was created in the vicinity of the remains of the ancient Roman city of Sinuessa. For this reason, after your dip in the sea, we suggest you discover its history with a visit to the Roman Villa in Punta S. Limato. Located to the north of the Roman colony of Sinuessa, two-tone mosaics and the crypt-colonnade can be seen in this villa, possibly belonging to one of Emperor Nero’s counsellors.
The last stage in our journey along the Caserta coast is Castel Volturno, which owes its name to the castle and the river Volturno on the left bank of which stands the historic centre.
It is worth visiting some of the many chapels in this town, such as that dedicated to the Annunziata built in1500 and that of San Rocco, from the 1700s.
If you are lovers of nature, you should see:
- the State owned Natural Reserve of Castel Volturno
- the oasis of Castel Volturno, also called the Natural Reserve of the Variconi, which is a salt marsh that has become the natural habitat of a number of bird species.
The municipal territory of Castel Volturno is one of the most famous areas for the farming of buffalos, evidence of which was already provided in the Roman era by Plinius the Elder in his Naturalis Historia. In this tract, Plinius praises the “laudatissimum caseum” of Campo Cedicio, or, in other words, the Mazzoni Plain with numerous buffalo farms that stretches out through Mondragone, Castel Volturno and other areas of the Volturno.
The typical dishes of the Caserta coast
Amongst the dishes typical to the towns along the coast, those to be enjoyed are the famous baccalà [salt cod] alla sessana, the extra virgin olive oil D.O.C. Terre Aurunche, the fried pizzas with tomato, garlic and oregano, the Vesuvian prawns from Castel Volturno and the fishermen’s anchovies from Sessa Aurunca. If you aim on spending all day at the sea, then you can enjoy a salad with Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP bought from the cheese dairies in the area and you’ll find you have a perfect combination of lightness, flavour and freshness.
The Caserta coast and its historic monuments are places just waiting for you. If you want to make your holiday memories unforgettable, tag us in your pictures at @mozzarella_dop on Instagram.