Brigantessa is inspired by the peoples, cultures and cuisines of Italy's South, from Abruzzo to Calabria, Molise to Campania, Puglia to Basilicata and the island of Sicilia. Linked by history and ruled for more than 1000 years as a single kingdom, the South is a place of great cultural, geographical and culinary diversity, comprised of the most soulful, vibrant and unspoiled regions of Italy. Rugged pasturelands, white cities above cyan-blue seas, chaotic streets in Napoli and Palermo that are riots of color and mosiacs of ancient cultures... the Greeks, Italics, Romans, Byzantines, Saracens, Normans, Turks, and Spanish all left their traces here in the art, architecture, customs, people and food.
Our menu draws on our experiences in the South... pizza mastery in Napoli, dishes redolent with cinnamon and citrus in Sicilia, hot chilies in Calabria, robust Aglianico wines from under the Vulture Volcano in Basilicata, seafood dressed in bright olive oil in Puglia and grilled lamb across Abruzzo and Molise. Brigantessa is a "forneria," an eating place centered around a wood-fired oven (in our case a Gianni Acunto oven, the best in the word, handmade in Napoli with ash from the slopes of Vesuvio) where we produce not only authentic pizza Napoletana but also baked pastas, meats and fish. The kitchen also features a wood-fired grill for meats and other dishes. Like the regions we try to honor and the neighborhood we call home, Brigantessa is welcoming, unpretentious, and proud of what we produce.
A Brigantessa was a female brigante, or brigand, one of the many southerners who resisted unification under northern rule in the 1860s and fought a long guerilla war. Our logo is inspired by a real Brigantessa, Michelina Di Cesare, from the mountains in Campania. The Brigantessa for us is a symbol of independence, indomitable spirit and living in the moment. She is also a symbol of devotion to the South. Few people live better in the moment or enjoy themselves more than southern Italians. Gatherings in the South tend to be unpretentious, warm and filled with conviviality.