Peppers took some time to be accepted in Italian cuisine, as they were considered a vulgar food. One of the first varieties to find success in the kitchen was the sweet green horn-shaped pepper eaten in Naples fried and salted or barbecued; in Campania this type is still called friarello (from the Neapolitan frijere – to fry – and not to be confused with “friariello”, winter broccoli). In the rest of Italy the same variety is known as friggitello.
The sweet pepper is a herbaceous plant in the Solanaceae family with picciolate leaves, white flowers and berry-like fruit, hollow inside except for the seeds. It apparently originated in Brazil, and was undoubtedly brought to Europe after the discovery of America.
Peppers can be divided into sweet and spicy, the latter belonging to the Frutescens family and used primarily as a condiment.
Sweet peppers fall into at least four groups, depending on the shape: square, ox heart, “popone” and horn-shaped (including the Naples green variety, friarello).