Near Naples, a Storied Gem of a Trattoria

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E' Curti is the kind of trattoria I dream about, in the region of Campania, outside Naples, on the slopes of Vesuvius. Its name is dialect for "short guys," named for two Lilliputian retired circus impresarios, who opened this trattoria in 1924. Their niece Angela had to stand on a stool to help out in the kitchen. She's still there, preparing home-style traditional food with super local ingredients. Her daughter Sonia and husband Carmine take care of the dining room.

The potato croquettes are worth a voyage. "Garbage-pail" pasta with nuts, tomatoes, olives, raisins, chunky soups like bean and mushroom or the wintery minestra maritata, milk-fed local lamb, are favorites. Don't even try to resist Angela's ricotta tart (the tart in the photo above isn't her's, but you get the idea). The wine list includes lots of local gems.

Angela's son Enzo makes the world's greatest nucillo walnut liqueur. He knows everything about Campania's walnuts, takes the local microclimates into consideration, making cru nucillo from Positano, Capri, Ischia and Vesuvius. His nucillo and chocolate-ganache-filled, chocolate-coated ingots are my idea of a perfect treat.

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Visitors to E' Curti should plan to see the extensive, incredible Madonna dell'Arco ex-voto collection (earliest from 16th century) in the sanctuary and the museum. The Museo degli Ex-Voto is located at Via Romani 1, Madonna dell'Arco in Sant'Anastasia. Tel: 081 -899-9281.

This restaurant is almost impossible to find. Call and they'll send someone to meet you. Soon, E' Curti is moving and expanding into a beautiful 11-room inn located in the countryside outside Atripalda. Check their website for updates.

E' Curti
via Padre Michele Abete 6, 80048
Sant'Anastasia, Napoli
Tel: 081-897-2821