G is for Gorgonzola
Isn’t it wonderful to know that there’s a town called Gorgonzola! I remember getting very excited when spotting the road sign in northern Italy. I don’t know why I was actually surprised – most cheeses and wines as well as many other foodstuffs are named after their place of origin. For the majority of countries on the world map, we’d do well to name the capital city and maybe a landmark or physical feature . But the Italian map is dotted with familiar names – many of them being places that would probably mean nothing to us without the food item that’s attributed to them. Did you know there’s actually a village called Prosecco – now a suburb of Trieste, while the town of Cantalupo in Sicily has lent its name to the cantaloupe melon.
Here are a few more familiar places in Italy with well known product associations:
Parma – Parma Ham (prosciutto crudo di Parma) and Parmigiano cheese
Bologne – Bolognese sauce and Bologna sausage
Florence – Florentine biscuits
Rome – Romaine lettuce (apparently reached western Europe via Rome)
Capri – Caprese Salad
Naples – Neapolitan ice cream
Asti – Sparkling wine
Chianti (Tuscany) -Wine
Marsala (Sicily) – Marsala fortified wine
Sardinia – Sardines (maybe!)
Genoa – Genovese cake
Its not just food that has highlighted Italian place names. Others are familiar to us because of a famous person:
Vinci, Assissi, Caravaggio, Corleone…..
It’s no wonder we all love to visit Italy – we know it so well already!
(Trivia moment! Words derived from place names are toponyms)
Photo credit: giaurom on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND