Beyond the Grapes: Gesualdo

Gesualdo is the village my family comes from high in the hills of Irpinia. Just a quick hour from Naples or the Amalfi Coast, Gesualdo is a city steeped in arts, culture, and music.


My father’s grandfather immigrated to New York from this little “paese” high up in the Irpinian mountains in 1904. And the first time I laid eyes on the town on a family trip in 2016, I fell in love and I knew I had to live here. It was as if my family’s history was pulling me back to our roots.

my Grandfather (left) and his brother, Sam

My family had been tenant farmers for generations, growing the crops for nobles before them...well probably back to the time of Prince of Venosa Carlo Gesualdo, who the village is named after. A little on this complicated man... In addition to being a Prince, he is famous for composing madrigals that are considered hundreds of years ahead of their time and were celebrated by Igor Stravinsky. But in addition to his musical feats, Carlo Gesualdo has as much notoriety for murdering his first wife and her lover upon finding them together in what can only be called a compromising position. But we’ll leave more on that for another day... The village is built around the impressive castle that serves as the town’s anchor, and is a lasting view into Italy's history. It’s here in Gesualdo that I met Raffaele (Raffy) Pietropaolo, the owner of the town’s Bed and Breakfast, Zembalo and affectionately nicknamed “The Mayor” by locals because he seemingly knows everyone and everything about the region. Through Raffy, I was introduced to all Gesualdo had to offer, from rich history, to amazing food, amazing people, and breathtaking views.

Gesualdo is centrally located within Irpinia so you have easy access to the region’s numerous nearby villages, each full of charm and delight, each providing unforgettable experiences and memories. And because I had a local guide and friend in Raffy, I was introduced to a virtually undiscovered world full of artisans from all walks of life, unbelievable restaurants not easily found in any travel guide, wines that have existed for hundreds of years in these hills, but were still not known to the outside world. After getting to know amazing Irpinians like Raffaele, Macelleria Mario Carrabs, and winemaker Gianni Fiorentino, I made the easy choice to join their efforts to promote the best of Irpinia to the outside world. And that’s how the wine club was created. My hope is these wines will transport you to this little hamlet in the hills of Southern Italy and take you back to a time of traditions and togetherness.

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Can't get away? Visit the wine store to stay home and taste the magic of Irpinia.


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