The origin of the apricot is shrouded in uncertainty. One thing is sure; this drupe has found a second home in Campania, thanks to the environmental and climatic conditions which are particularly favourable to its development. Traces of the cultivation of apricots in the region are already present in the fourth century. However, it is in the sixteenth century that they are more precise when Gian Battista Della Porta, an illustrious Neapolitan scientist of the time, divided them into two large groups in his treatise, Suae Villae Pomarium: bericocche, are the most common, round with soft, white flesh, of the clingstone variety and crisomele, of variable size, freestone, much more highly valued for their taste and colour. The Neapolitan word "crisommole" derives from this old term and is still used today to refer to apricots. Today, Campania supplies about 50 thousand tonnes of produce, on just over 5,000 hectares (the surface area decreased by more than a quarter between 1989 and 1998 but the region is still the leader for surface area and production). The oldest and most traditional cultivation area of this species is to be found in the province of Naples, more precisely, in the territory of Vesuvius.
This strong presence in the Vesuvius area is ascribable to the mildness of the climate and the abundant fertility of the land that, being of volcanic nature, is rich in minerals, especially potassium: a fundamental element for improving the organoleptic character of the fruit (particularly the flavour and aroma).
Obviously there was already a wide range of varieties, many of autochthonous origin, that produced different fruit depending on the characteristics of the cultivar it belonged to and underlining the strong link between species and environment. According to the regulations for the production of the Vesuvius IGP Apricot, the Protected Geographical Indication nominates fruit from biotypes corresponding to the following cultivars: Baracca, Boccuccia Liscia, Boccuccia Spinosa, Ceccona, Fracasso, Monaco Bello, Palummella, Pellecchiella, Portici, San Castrese and Vitillo, cultivated using traditional methods in the 19 communes in the province of Naples. Some of the common features of the Vesuvius apricots are the medium-small size, intensity of fragrance, sweet freestone flesh and the presence of a reddish colour or speckling overlying the yellow-orange base of the smooth skin. Another peculiarity is the fact that most of them ripen early or medium-early and the harvest, exclusively by hand, goes from the middle of June to the end of July.




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