Wheat and flour as a combination to make a basic pasta dough was introduced by the Arabs from North Africa to Sicily in the 1100s. It was in the 16th century that in the Naples area they learned how to mix and compress this dough through a dye and make PASTA! Since then, 130 factories were founded in Gragnano, and many still exist today. Gentile is one of the oldest, and just outside their door today is a narrow winding street in which the pasta used to hang on sticks to dry. “Scasciamusch…”, or fly swatters, were 8-12 year old boys that were hired to keep the drying pasta free of flies that the passing cows and sheep would bring with them!


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