When you think of Italy, you think of a giant, bright green basil leaf on a pizza or on a spaghetti dish. Well, that basil is most likely Bolloso Napoletano, a popular heirloom variety originating from the area of Naples; it is well appreciated for the intense fragrance of its large, blistered leaves. In ancient times, basil was considered a magical plant and sacred to Venus, goddess of love. Perhaps for this reason, in Boccaccio’s Decameron, we find one of the strangest love stories featuring the basil plant. We do not want to give spoilers here, so take a trip to southern Italy and ask about Elisabetta da Messina and her beloved Lorenzo. You may be pointed to the nearest potted bush of fragrant basil.