Like Helene Stapinski, I, too, made the pilgrimage to my family's ancestral home of Basilicata, Italy, where I traveled to Matera and walked the slanted stone streets [Reflections, May].


I stumbled upon the oldest semolina bakery in the world and was welcomed—as if family—when the baker set up a card table in front of his tiny shop and filled it with goods from his cupboards and full pantry. I was surprised and delighted by the warmth and friendliness demonstrated by the people from this Italian coastal region.

—Daniel L. Rice, Glen Cove, N.y.

Pizza! Pizza!

Revisiting Naples with Guy Trebay ["Sempre Napoli," May] showed me parts of the city I've yet to explore. But I wish you had mentioned the beloved restaurant L'Università della Pizza da Gigino, Pizza al Metro [15 Via Nicotera, Vico Equense; 39-081/879-8309], located in the quaint town of Vico Equense, en route to Sorrento. The pizzeria bakes traditional Italian pies to order by length, warmed in ovens large enough to accommodate in excess of 6 1/2 feet. Arrive hungry—I recommend the pesce spada (grilled swordfish) or the specialty, quattro gusti Gigino, a large pizza topped with broccoli, sausage, bacon, and endive.

—walt diem, Mount Ephraim, N.J.

Chinese Art Scene

Nell Freudenberger's story "Made in China" [April] was a refreshing look at modern-day life in Beijing. Over the last several years Asia's rapid economic growth has been well documented, yet very few magazines have focused on the commitment to the creative community present at places like Factory 798, or even on China's flourishing arts scene and the export of its culture abroad. To my dismay, the arts are frequently overlooked in favor of more glamorous subjects.

—Lindsay Todres, Toronto, ont.

Hidden Attraction

I very much enjoyed Rachel Urquhart's tour of New England's Shaker landmarks ["Shakes Alive!" March]. Interestingly, the original Shaker Historic Site [Rte. 155, Colonie, N.Y.; 518/456-7890;] was founded by Mother Ann Lee in 1776. Curious visitors may walk through the district, located directly across from the Albany airport, to see Mother Ann's grave site, the inside of the 1848 meetinghouse, the apple orchard, and the nature preserve. It's an intriguing—albeit overlooked—detour for travelers to New York State.

—jennifer horne, tuscaloosa, ala.

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Shaker Historic Site

L'Università della Pizza da Gigino - Pizza a Metro

A key stop on any pizza tour of Italy, this eatery in the center of Vico Equense gained notoriety in the 1950's with its exceptionally long pizzas sold by the meter. Today, its large, wood burning ovens churn out crispy, denser-than-Neopolitan pies under a thick layer of cheese for up to 2,000 customers in its expansive, sun-filled dining area. If that’s not enough, waiters wheel antipasti and desserts around on carts, including frittelle di alghe (seaweed fritters), a local specialty.