South of Somewhere
Wine, Food, and the Soul of Italy
Robert V. Camuto
South of Somewhere begins and ends in American writer Robert Camuto's maternal ancestral town of Vico Equense, Italy a tiny paradise south of Naples on the Sorrento Peninsula. It was here in 1968, at ten years old, that the author first tasted Italian life, spending his own summer of love surrounded by relatives at the family's seaside pizzeria and restaurant. He fell in love with a way of living and with the rhythms, flavors, and aromas of the Southern Mediterranean. Fifty years later, Camuto returns to Vico, connecting with family members and a new generation. A lot has changed: the old family restaurant has been razed and the seaside has been developed with hotels and restaurants, including a famous two-Michelin-starred restaurant in a medieval tower now owned by a younger cousin. Though there are more foreign visitors, the essentials of beauty, food, family bonds, and simplicity have not changed. And here Camuto finds hope that this way of life can continue. Camuto's fine-grained storytelling in this series of portraits takes us beyond the usual objective views of viniculture nto the elusive and magical world of Italian "South-ness." While on one level able to create an instructive narrative about Southern Italy's twenty-first-century wine and cultural renaissance, Camuto's unswerving eye juxtaposes the good and the bad immeasurable beauty and persistent blight, anti-mafia forces and corruption, hope for the future and fatalism in a land that remains an infinite source of fascination and sensory pleasure.
Robert V. Camuto is a freelance writer and author of Corkscrewed: Adventures in the New French Wine Country (Nebraska, 2008) and Palmento: A Sicilian Wine Odyssey (Nebraska, 2010). He is a contributing editor to Wine Spectator magazine and columnist for winespectator.com. He and his family live in Italy. ?
"Robert Camuto's South of Somewhere is close to my heart. Each chapter is about experiencing the joy and perseverance of incredible iconic winemakers, such as Italy's Mezzogiorno, who have preserved lesser-known native grapes through heroic efforts. In this book?Robert brilliantly brings them to life. We are so fortunate to bear witness to this living history of Italian wine today."?Shelley Lindgren, owner-wine director of A16 restaurants
"A delicious, thirst-inspiring romp full of remarkable personalities, their wine-soaked cellars, and one delectable meal after another. Camuto does it tastefully!"?Kermit Lynch, wineconoclast, author, and importer
"Robert Camuto's multifaceted take on Southern Italy's many allures is unique and fascinating in that he engages not only the gustatory and oenological pleasures of the region but also its more elusive and near-magical 'southern-ness.'"?Matthew Gavin Frank, author of Flight of the Diamond Smugglers