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Anyone who comes to the Amalfi Coast for the first time inevitably comes across a plethora of culinary products, typical dishes, and souvenirs that have one thing as their object: the lemon. Have you ever wondered why?

by Roberta Cascone

The lemon is probably the symbol par excellence of the Amalfi Coast in the world. The reason is simple: this citrus fruit, in its "Sfusato Amalfitano" variant, is typical of this area to the point that it has been recognized with the prestigious PGI mark, that is, Protected Geographical Indication. This stipulates that at least one of the stages of production, processing or elaboration of the agricultural product or foodstuff must necessarily take place within a specified geographical area. The Amalfi Coast lemon is produced right in the municipalities belonging to the Coast and has some exclusive characteristics, which differentiate it from all others. It is in fact a sfusato category lemon, that is, it has a tapered shape, a medium-thick peel and a light yellow color. It is rich in vitamin C and essential oils and has a very intense aroma and fragrance. Moreover, having juicy flesh and few seeds, it is widely used in cooking, and on the Coast we find it as a condiment or as the main ingredient in countless recipes.

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Spring in Amalfi Coast

A bit of history

The presence of lemon groves on the Amalfi Coast dates back to ancient times, as some historical documents attest. The fruit was introduced by the Arabs, first to Spain and Sicily, and then to Campania. In Amalfi, however, its use spread mainly to combat scurvy, the disease due to vitamin C deficiency, which mainly affected sailors and seamen, who were forced to go for long periods without taking any. As a result, the Amalfi Republic stipulated that there should always be large quantities of lemons aboard the ships of the Amalfitans, and so it was that the terraces of the Coast began to host many lemon orchards to support both domestic and foreign demand, which soon became just as important. Today, the Amalfi Coast lemon has a thousand uses in the kitchen: it is the star of many typical recipes, from lemon coffee to limoncello to desserts, including delizie, babas and Amalfi kisses.

The Vietri sul Mare “Lemon Festival” in July

Every summer in July, the lemon is celebrated in a veritable festival held in Dragonea, a hillside hamlet of Vietri sul Mare. Now in its 16th edition, it is the only event on the Coast dedicated entirely to the so-called "yellow gold." At the event it will be possible to taste many dishes made with PGI lemons, created for the occasion not only by local restaurants and pastry shops, but also by the ladies of Dragonea, who each year demonstrate their culinary skills. Among the highlights you will find ravioli and scialatielli with lemon, grilled lemon scamorza, lemon chicken and octopus, and finally typical desserts and limoncello liqueur. 

The event is organized by the Transboneia 2000 association and aims precisely to promote the typical products of the hillside territories of Vietri sul Mare. Every year musical companies participate in the evenings cheering up the festival with songs and dances. In short, if you love this magnificent fruit, the appointment is for July 8 and 9, 2023 in Dragonea!

Tra.Vel.Mar S.r.l.

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  • The Amalfi Coast lemon differs from that of the nearby Sorrento area because of different cultivation methods and different organoleptic properties.
  • The Amalfi lemon grows exposed to the sun and warm winds from the south, also enjoying the protection offered by the Lattari Mountains.
  • Amalfi's lemon groves are also called "lemon gardens" and cover an area of about 400 hectares.

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