Festival dei CInque Colori - Napoli
Find out the meaning of colors


Red fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants (mostly anthocyanins and lycopene) and vitamins, especially A and C, which help prevent many diseases.

Anthocyanins, which give the red colour, have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing and anti-free radical properties, which are essential for preserving the cells of our body. In particular, they have a positive action on microcirculation (varicose veins, cellulite, water retention) and on the cardiovascular system.

Lycopene, on the other hand, present above all in tomatoes and pink grapefruit, is an effective antioxidant and seems to play a key role in the prevention of some forms of cancer.

Blood and red oranges, strawberries and cherries are rich in flavonoids, excellent for strengthening blood vessels and capillaries, but not only: they protect the eye, especially the retina, from oxidative stress caused by light.

In general, Vitamins A and C, contained in red fruits and vegetables, contribute to the maintenance of normal skin, to the normal functioning of the immune system and energy metabolism and to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.


tomatoes, red peppers, red radishes, radishes, chili peppers, red onions, red beans, beets.
strawberries and wild strawberries, raspberries, currants, cherries, sour cherries, blood and red oranges and pomegranates.


The consumption of blueberries is positively linked to eyesight, but also to memory and the maintenance of cognitive abilities. Ongoing scientific studies are showing that a significant amount of antioxidants can even slow down age-related cognitive decline.

Due to the presence of anthocyanins, Goji berries are considered red vegetables. Recent research suggests that these berries may actually exert antioxidant and hypoglycemic actions, enhancing the functioning of the immune system and protecting the eye thanks to the presence of zeaxanthin.


What is the recommended daily dose of lycopene?
It is not very clear what the recommended daily dose of lycopene is: current studies report reference values ranging from 20 to 40 mg per day; and there are no side effects from excessive use of foods containing lycopene; while lycopene deficiency can increase the risk of osteoporosis in menopausal women.

How much lycopene is contained in red vegetables?
The watermelon contains 40% more lycopene than a fresh tomato.
Three sun-dried tomatoes contain the same amount of lycopene as one large pink grapefruit. A plate of pasta with sauce and basil contains the same amount of lycopene as two slices of watermelon.

Lycopene content (in mg) in 100grams of edible portion.

  • DRY TOMATOES = 45.9mg/100g of edible portion
  • TOMATO PUREE = 21.7mg/100g of edible portion
  • TOMATO SAUCE = 17.2mg/100g of edible portion
  • TOMATO PRESERVE = 10.9mg/100g of edible portion
  • TOMATO JUICE = 9.0mg/100g of edible portion
  • WATERMELON = 4.5mg/100g of edible portion
  • CANNED PEELED TOMATOES = 2.8mg/100g of edible portion
  • RIPE TOMATOES = 2.6mg/100g of edible portion
  • PINK AND RED GRAPEFRUIT = 1.4mg/100g of edible portion
  • CHILI POWDER = 47.8mg/100g of edible portion

TOMATO PUREE: it is obtained from fresh tomatoes by squeezing their pulp, separating seeds and skins and lightly concentrating the final product by evaporation of water before bottling.

TOMATO SAUCE AND PRESERVE: they are homemade preparations, whose cooking times are longer than tomato puree and often include the addition of spices or aromatic herbs (e.g. basil).

TOMATO CONCENTRATE: it is a tomato puree in which the amount of water is reduced.

PEELED TOMATOES: they are long-type tomatoes without the skin.

CHOPPED TOMATO (CUBES OR SLICES): they are tomatoes that are cut into 5mm cubes (even 2mm for what is called thin pulp) and dosed in cans, to which slightly concentrated tomato juice and salt are added.


The “Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio DOP” (“Small Tomato of the Vesuvian Piennolo, P.D.O.”) is the emblem of Campania cuisine, so much so that it is even represented in the traditional Neapolitan nativity scene. It is a small tomato whose main characteristics are the accentuated tip called “curniciello” or “pizzo”, the thick and resistant skin that preserves all the nutrients, the firm, compact and low-in-juice pulp, dried by the sun shining on the slopes of Vesuvius, the fresh and acrid taste, and an intense and lively flavour. It can be consumed both fresh and in the typical preserved form “al Piennolo”, or even as preserve in glass, according to an ancient local family recipe, called “Pacchetella”. We can eat it with spaghetti with tomato sauce or on a seasoned tarallo or a bruschetta or on pizza or simply stir-fried in a pan: it will always preserve lycopene, anthocyanins and vitamins A and C in abundance.

Papaccelle, also called “paprecchie” or “pupaccelle” are small globular-shaped peppers grown throughout Campania: they are round, intensely red or green, flattened at the poles and extremely ribbed, with a firm and crunchy pulp and a very aromatic and characteristic flavour. Some ecotypes are more or less spicy, and mostly used to be preserved in vinegar. In every area, however, there are different recipes for the preparation of papaccelle: seasoned with tomato sauce or stuffed and served as a side dish, used fresh or preserved.

Is it really true that cooking tomatoes increases lycopene?
To get the maximum benefits from tomato lycopene it is better to eat it very ripe and in any case cooked; even better if dry and preserved in extra-virgin olive oil.



Orange vegetables and fruit contain very high quantities of beta-carotene, a substance that has a powerful antioxidant and provitamin action and favours the formation of vitamin A (or “retinol”). This vitamin performs a fundamental action in the development of visual abilities, as it acts both on the cornea and on the conjunctiva and protects from sunlight. Lack of Vitamin A is a worldwide nutritional problem, since it is one of the main causes of blindness in children.                                    

In addition to being precursors of vitamin A (retinol), carotenoids are essential for neutralizing free radicals and can strengthen our body’s immune system, also stopping the progress of pre-cancerous diseases that could affect the oral and cervical areas of our body.


carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow peppers, pumpkins, orange cauliflowers.
apricots, oranges, pineapples, lemons, mangoes, mandarin oranges and tangerines, melons, papayas, yellow peaches, nectarines, yellow grapefruit.


It may not seem true, but orange cauliflower also exists; sweeter than the white cauliflower, it can transform a soup into a nice hot dish with a bright colour. Known in Anglo-Saxon countries as “Cheddar cauliflower”, even if it shares only the colour with the Cheddar cheese, orange cauliflower was discovered for the first time in a field of white cauliflowers in Canada about thirty years ago, derived from a genetic mutation. Its colour comes from the excess beta-carotene stored in its flowers, which also gives it a good 25% more vitamin A than the amount contained in the more common white variety. Its sweeter flavour makes it suitable for numerous recipes, such as the cauliflower and potato puree, the cauliflower soup, the cauliflower with spring onions. But that’s not all…. A very enjoyable dish can also be the simple side dish of steamed cauliflower trio: white, orange and purple cauliflowers. In fact, there is also a purple cauliflower, medium-small in shape, compact and wine-red in colour, except for the stem and the internal parts, which are white. It has a more delicate and “softer” flavour than the traditional white cauliflower and contains more anthocyanins, carotenoids, potassium and magnesium.

Did you know that orange can be a good mosquito repellent?
Common orange peel (even lemon peel) contains citric acid (lemon contains 3 times more), which is widely used in foods. Citric acid repels mosquitoes, but also most flies and midges, perfuming the environment.


The “Lemon of Sorrento” was already known in Roman times, as evidenced by numerous paintings and mosaics found in the excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum, in which lemons very similar to the current “Sorrento ovals” are depicted. However, the most important written evidence of the presence of lemons in the Sorrento area dates back to the Renaissance. Sales deeds, paintings and literary works tell us about the use of lemons for the most varied uses. Mentioned in the works of Torquato Tasso, a native of Sorrento, and of Giambattista della Porta, the “Oval lemon” was also described by the historian Bonaventura da Sorrento, who testified to its export to America since the 1800s. However, it is thanks to the tenacity and ability of local producers that today we have a highly selected product of absolute quality. The “Sorrento Lemon” is a medium-sized fruit with an elliptical shape and a straw-yellow pulp, whose abundant and very acid juice is rich in vitamin C and mineral salts. The peel, of an intense yellow colour, has a medium thickness and is very perfumed due to the presence of essential oils. These qualitative characteristics make the “Lemon of Sorrento” PGI a product of excellence in its category, both for the fresh lemon market and for the production of the famous “Limoncello”, an infusion of lemon peels immersed in pure alcohol, which in this very area feeds important economic activities. The “Lemon of Sorrento” PGI is practically present on the markets all year round, but it is above all the summer production which makes this fruit completely original and precious, thanks to the practice of forcing the plants under the famous “pagliarelle” (shelters formed by woven straw mats supported by wooden posts).

Apricots or “golden apples”, here called “crisommole”, a dialectal word derived from Greek, are the most cultivated fruits in the Vesuvius area, where the volcanic nature of the soil and the richness in minerals and potassium, favour this crop, giving the fruit a distinctive flavour. The denomination of “Albicocca vesuviana”, “Vesuvian Apricot”, actually refers to a dozen ancient varieties, whose production area coincides with the territory of 18 municipalities in the internal part of the province of Naples. The names attributed to the different varieties are original and bizarre: Boccuccia Liscia, Boccuccia Spinosa, Pellecchiella, Ceccona, Palummella, Vitillo, San Castrese, Fracasso, Cafona, Baracca. What characterizes and distinguishes one variety from the other are the size, the intensity of the aroma, the smoothness of the peel and the flavour, which ranges from the very sweet one of the Pellecchiella apricots to the bitter-sour aroma of the Vitillo variety. But there are also common characteristics, such as the sugary yellow pulp, the intense aroma and the yellow-orange colour of the skin, which is overlapped by a shaded or dotted red. Ripening takes place in the medium-early period, so much so that the harvest is carried out as early as mid-June. Intended for direct and fresh consumption, the Vesuvian apricot is also in great demand by the processing industry, for the production of jams, juices, nectars and syrups, candied and dried fruits.

Is it really true that “ORANGE fruit should be eaten away from meals?
The answer is NO. Unlike common belief, fruit eaten on a full stomach absolutely does not make you get fat; on the contrary, the caloric intake is exactly the same as the one of fruit consumed between meals. The same applies to its vitamin content: vitamin C, present in many fruits, favours the absorption of other vitamins contained in other foods.



Chlorophyll is the natural pigment, which determines the colour of this group of plants and is essential for photosynthesis, which allows plants to obtain energy from light. Together with vitamin C and folates, it makes these foods excellent allies of our immune system.

At the centre of the chlorophyll molecule there is a magnesium atom which favours the metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins, stimulates the absorption of other essential minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium, regulates blood pressure and the transmission of nerve impulses. 

Some green vegetables, such as spinach, peas, peppers, cucumbers and celery, also contain lutein, which, combined with zeaxanthin, contributes to the maintenance of eye health and helps prevent macular degeneration.


chard, spinach, broccoli, black cabbage, savoy cabbage, chicory, turnip tops, rocket (arugula), lettuce, asparagus, artichokes, cucumbers, agretti, zucchini, parsley and basil.
kiwi, white grapes, green apples, avocado, pistachio and lime.

If you want to know more:
Magnesium contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue and protects the muscular system, also preventing the typical nocturnal cramps, often due precisely to a lack of this nutrient in the diet.

Folates are also useful in preventing the risk of incomplete closure of the vertebral canal in newborns, which is why they are recommended in the diet of women who plan to become pregnant or who are already pregnant.


Peas are not vegetables, but legumes; therefore, they represent a good source of vegetable proteins and are also rich in micronutrients, such as iron, zinc and group B vitamins, and in fibres. For this reason, they should be considered a second course, as an alternative to meat or fish or eggs to be eaten with a first course dish.


Torzella or “Greek cabbage” is one of the oldest cabbages in the world; it belongs to the Brassicaceae family and has adapted perfectly to the Vesuvian area. Its harvest begins in the second half of November and goes on until the first ten days of April. For the farmers of Acerrano-Nolano, torzella has always been the perfect food to face the winter season, because it is rich in vitamin C, folic acid, fiber and potassium, but low in fats. Torzella sprouts are eaten fresh in salads, or in the classic “zuppa maritata” (“married soup”, a typical Neapolitan soup, in which ingredients are very well mixed), or again, together with seafood. The product is sold either fresh, or put in oil or transformed into a cream, to be used as it is or to season pasta.

The “Carciofo di Paestum” (“Paestum Artichoke”), PGI, also known as “Tondo di Paestum” belongs to the genetic group of the “Romanesco” type artichokes and is characterized by the rounded shape of its flower heads, their high compactness, the absence of thorns and by a green peduncle of less than 10 cm, with violet-pink shades, particularly tasty. Appreciated by poets like Pablo Neruda, who defines it as “An armed vegetable dressed as a warrior, but with a tender heart and peaceful pulp”, the Artichoke of Paestum is characterized by its good concentration of vitamins and mineral salts, which make it an exceptional detoxifier. Much appreciated in the kitchen, for the preparation of local dishes, such as pizza with artichokes, cream and artichoke pie.

It is really true: “Is it good to squeeze lemon on artichokes?”
To make the high levels of iron present in artichokes more assimilable, it is advisable to combine them with foods rich in C vitamin, such as citrus fruits; among other things, the sour taste of the latter goes well with artichokes.



Purple fruit and vegetables are very important for the health of our body: in fact, they stimulate intellectual activities and slow down ageing. It is precisely the phytochemicals present in these foods, anthocyanins, which give this type of food the following colours: dark red, blue and purple.
Anthocyanins are present in flowers, fruits, shrubs and autumn leaves. Their function is to protect the plant from UV rays when the production of chlorophyll has not yet begun.
Furthermore, anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants and are used in medicine to protect against capillary fragility and the risk of heart disease and to prevent cellular ageing processes and the formation of cancer cells.
Aubergines, berries, red beets and grapes seem to be particularly rich in properties that support intestinal health, thanks to the presence of proanthocyanidins, a particular type of flavonoids. It has been demonstrated that these substances contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular, inflammatory and cancer pathologies.


radish, aubergines (eggplants), purple potatoes, purple cabbage, purple cauliflower
figs, blueberries, blackberries, plums, golden plums, black grapes, raisins, currants

If you want to know more:
Phosphorus is a micronutrient present in all cells of the human body and plays an important role in the transmission of information between cells, in the formation of nucleic acids (such as DNA) and in energy metabolism. Most phosphorus is found in the skeleton in the form of calcium phosphate, but it is also present in teeth and plasma. Therefore, it is essential for bone mineralization and bone health. Phosphorus is also credited with having a positive effect on memory and intelligence. In fact, the molecular mechanism of memory consists of a series of chemical reactions, in which phosphorus is an important element.

Blue-violet vegetables also have a high fiber content. Consuming blueberries appears to help improve memory too. The main micronutrients present in vegetables of this colour are magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.


In purple fruits and vegetables you can also find resveratrol and anthocyanidins, which contribute to lower the levels of LDL cholesterol, (bad cholesterol), in the blood and to strengthen the immune system.
The part of the brain that deals with long-term memory is called the Hippocampus, and there are two hippocampi in the human brain, one in each hemisphere. In humans, it has a curved shape that inspired early anatomists to imagine a seahorse. The name, in fact, derives from the Greek “Hippos” = “horse” and “Kàmpe” = “caterpillar”.


The long aubergine of Naples is a vegetable that has oblong-shaped fruits, dark purple in colour, with a long peduncle and a rounded and/or slightly pointed stylar apex. It belongs to the Solanaceae family, genus Solanum, an annual herbaceous plant with an erect and branched stem. The leaves are large, green and hairy, the flowers are large and purplish. It has oblong-shaped fruits, dark black-brown with purple reflections. Its cultivation, carried out with the aid of support poles and wires, is entirely manual. The Neapolitan aubergine, appreciated for its organoleptic properties as well as for its consistency and low propensity to oxidation, is used in numerous gastronomic recipes, mostly fried (“a funghetti”, “mushroom-sized”, “parmigiana”, “stuffed”), but also baked, grilled , in oil or in combination with pasta.

San Mango figs are a typical production of some Avellino municipalities, such as Castelfranci, Paternopoli, Caposele, Fontanarosa and, last but not least, San Mango sul Calore, from which they take their name. The plants of this fig variety are resistant to low temperatures, produce a fruit with a slightly flattened shape, which has a thin, orange-yellow skin when it is harvested and turns red once physiological ripeness is reached . The San Mango fig has a very juicy, dark bronze pulp, sometimes tending towards red, with numerous seeds and a characteristic, slightly sugary flavour. It ripens between late June and early July. The San Mango fig can be eaten fresh or used in the preparation of mustards and preserves and used in confectionery, covered in chocolate or glazed.



White is related to strength and health as foods in this group contain a good amount of:

  • Potassium, a fundamental element in muscle contraction of both skeletal and heart muscles. In this way it helps regulate heart rhythm and blood pressure.
  • Antioxidants, such as Quercetin, which favours the production of vitamin E and is an excellent antioxidant, thus helping to fight inflammation and tumors, and Isothiocyanates, useful for fighting cellular ageing.


garlic, cauliflowers, onions, fennel, mushrooms, leeks, celery.
almonds, apples, walnuts, hazelnuts, pears, white figs, chestnuts.

If you want to know more:
Allicin is one of the most important substances of this kind of food. It is responsible for reducing the level of cholesterol in the blood and lowering blood pressure, thus preventing heart disease. In addition to this already important quality, allicin is also believed to prevent the onset of stomach tumors.


“Fico Bianco del Cilento, DOP” (Cilento white fig, PDO): It is one of the most valuable varieties of Southern Italy. It is produced in 68 municipalities in Campania. Before being marketed, it is dried and then stuffed with almonds, hazelnuts, citrus peels, walnuts, fennel seeds, covered in chocolate or dipped in rum. This diversification of the product makes it possible to expand the range of the offer in such a way as to satisfy the various tastes. Cilento white figs are mostly in demand during the Christmas period.

“Melannurca Campana, PGI”: It is one of the most popular and well-known apple varieties. The Annurca is considered the queen of apples; this fruit is very rich in vitamins, fibers and minerals, so it is very diuretic and suitable for the elderly and children. It is produced in 137 municipalities in the provinces of Campania and is used for the preparation of juices, desserts and liqueurs.

“Cipollotto Nocerino, DOP” (“Spring Onion from Nocera, PDO”): It is grown in the provinces of Salerno and Naples. It is a highly digestible product as its pulp is tender, sweet, not very spicy nor acrid. It is mainly consumed fresh since, being a product that is harvested in spring, it is not very suitable for preservation; in fact, it goes well with green salads and tomatoes

Is it really true that “An apple a day takes the doctor away?”
Yes, of course. Consuming apples improves fat digestion and insulin resistance and favours the lowering of cholesterol and triglycerides levels; not all apples, however, have the same properties. In fact, recent studies have shown that the Limoncella apple (also cultivated in Campania) has an oxidizing power from 15% to 44% higher than the Red and Golden Delicious and Annurca. Moreover, at the level of the colon, the absorption of Limoncella polyphenols is 25% higher than that of the Annurca (already known as a healthy apple), twice as much as the one of the Golden apple and three times higher than that of the Red Delicious.