Pompeii and Sorrento, Italy
When I traveled to Pompeii and Sorrento, I saw many lemons bigger than my head. There were several lemonade stands all throughout the two cities. Sorrento even created a drink called Limoncello, which is a combination of yellow rind, water, sugar, and Everclear. When asking why lemons were so big in this part of Italy compared to other parts, some of the locals said they thought the volcanic ashes in the soil made the lemons grow bigger. I noticed a lot of flower arrangements had lemons in it to give a pop of yellow color to the flowers. Our tour guide for the Gardens of Villa Cimbrone in Ravello even mentioned that she and many other locals grow lemons in their gardens because it is a staple in their culture. Obviously, lemons are very important to Italians, so I wanted to do some research regarding lemons.
Lemons come from the species Citrus Limon. They are evergreen trees and are native to Asia. They grow well in warmer climates with full exposer to sunlight, such as tropical and subtropical temperatures with very low tolerance to cooler weather. Lemons later arrived in Europe around first century AD, where it was mainly used as an ornamental plant and medicine. Since lemons contain Vitamin C, they are put in medicine to help relieve scurvy, coughs, cold and flu, inflammation, kidney stones, Meniere’s Disease, and help blood flow. Lemons also became a part of human diet, such as in drinks and foods. They can be found in salad dressings, pastries, drinks, and paired with fish to enhance the flavor. Lemons do not just taste good, but they can also help the immune system, weight loss (hence the reason people put lemons in their water), digestive system, protect against sunburn, and clearer skin.
Obviously, lemons are very important to humans, and I think Italians appreciate it more than other countries. It makes sense that lemons are considered one of the healthiest foods in the world. Given their health benefits, they do much more than just taste good.