Thursday, July 20, 2017

BORGO DEI VERGINI

The Vergini neighbourhood was built on top of a cemetery dating to the 4th Century BC, when Naples was the ancient Greek city of Neapolis. And according to local archaeologist Carlo Leggieri, the site was as significant then as it is now.
“These monuments marked the tombs of the aristocracy of ancient Neapolis – all the influential people of one of the biggest and most important cities on the Mediterranean,” he said.
Its status didn’t last. As the centuries passed, the cemetery disappeared beneath layers of flood and construction debris. Now it is an inadvertent catacomb, entombed 8m to 10m below the city.
The Naples National Archaeological Museum will partner with several associations – including SMMAVE, Celanapoli and VerginiSanità – through its Obvia outreach programme, where museum ticket buyers can get discounted tours of association-maintained sites.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

VEDI NAPOLI

This exhibition proposes to use the languages of contemporaneity to analyze the most stereotyped rhetoric about Naples. The goal is not to disrupt and deconstruct redundant signs and meanings that have become firmly established, in favor of images and ideas that are new, unusual, and perhaps even truer. On the contrary, the intention is to fully engage that code, taking it seriously as a machine for the production of functional forms and as a protective device against dysfunctional disorder. 
Matthias Schaller has looked for and portrayed some of the latest stereotypes of what it means to be Neapolitan: situations, monuments, personalities that are strongly representative of the city. He has always taken photographs, but here he has decided to photograph other photographs. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

FIDUCIARY CIRCULATION

The convention ‘The Rise of Modern Banking in Naples’ will be held at the original site of the ancient Banco dei Poveri, which is now the location of the Banco di Napoli Foundation and its imposing Historical Archive: unique in the world, with 300 rooms containing millions of documents, it bears testimony to the daily life of the eight public banks in Naples and the secrets of their administration.
It was in Naples that the first fiduciary circulation was created, thanks to the public banks. These banks, in addition to their orthodox, profit-oriented economic activities, maintained a philanthropic identity for centuries.
The social economic context in which the modern bank was created (The Kingdom of Naples under Spanish rule) and the fusion of the philanthropy of the “monti” and the mercantile aspects of the “banchi”.
The benevolent involvement and power of the viceroys, became the basis for the impetuous development of fiduciary circulation, which from the end of the 1500s connected the use of paper money to the issue of the most modern forms of credit.

Monday, June 12, 2017

LES COLLINES D'ANACAPRI

The Hills of Anacapri is the fifth prelude of Debussy’s first book of preludes.
It was inspired by the town of Anacapri on the island of Capri, off the coast of Italy, which the composer frequently visited.
The prelude is a lively scherzo-like piece, mingled with elements of the tarantella, and interspersed with moments of sublime awe. In the brilliant key of B major, it opens with the clear ringing of isolated tones, like a stunning view on a clear sunlit day, which alternate with lively quasi-tarantella passages.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A NEAPOLITAN BALLAD

“O sole mio” (“My Sunshine”) was composed by Eduardo Di Capua. Its lyric, comparing a lover’s face with the sun, was written by a poet, Giovanni Capurro. In 1916 the celebrated tenor Enrico Caruso recorded it for a 78rpm single on the Victor label, a version that has been repackaged more than 90 times.
Tony Martin, an American crooner and actor, enjoyed a hit single with an English-language version called “There’s No Tomorrow” in 1950.
Elvis Presley loved Martin’s record. He taped his own version in 1959 while stationed in Germany with the US Army, a performance that went unreleased until 1997. Presley also asked his music publisher to create a new song around the melody, who gave the job to composers Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold. It took them two hours to complete the lyrics for “It’s Now or Never”, and Presley’s sensitive and elegant 1960 recording became the second biggest-selling single of his career.

Friday, May 19, 2017

A DAY IN NAPLES

Magic, mystery, a thirst for wonders and for the unknown, and a pagan sun-religion.
An ambiguous nature envelops Naples, however wonderful in color and climate it might be, for thundering within the bowels of the earth is the mysterious fury of the volcano and the earthquakes that in the past have buried entire nations.
The mystery of excellence in Naples is called liquefaction of the blood of San Gennaro: twice a year the blood contained in vials liquefies when it comes into proximity with the head of the martyr which is guarded in the reliquary.
Here we are in the heart of the mystery, the Sansevero Chapel, which is linked to the figure of Prince Raimondo of Sangro, an alchemist, magician and necromancer. Here we find a real miracle of art: Giuseppe Sammartino’s famous veiled Christ, for the marble veil over the deposed Christ is able to simultaneously cover and completely reveal his body.

Friday, May 12, 2017

THE PONTESE

On the volcanic island of Ischia, south-west of Naples, an ancient currency is being brought back to life.
Thanks to a cultural initiative, residents and visitors will be able to use them as payment for entry at certain historical sights - or they can simply keep them as a souvenir.
One side of the coin shows a winged griffin, the logo of Aenaria, the Roman name for Ischia.. The other shows a Roman galaxy, just like the coins in use in ancient Rome.   
For now, the coin can only be used at a limited number of sites in the hamlet of Ischia Ponte, for example to pay for entry to the submerged city of Aenaria. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

NERO AT BAIAE

In this painting, the excited and gloomy atmosphere of the tableaux vivants, packed with people, gives way to a more intimate view, not without its guarded symbolic significance. The light of dawn has already tinted pink the tunic of the flabby emperor and the calm waters of the bay of Naples. In that city Nero performed in public for the first time to resounding success, and its coastal villas inspired the architects who designed the Domus Aurea for him.
At Baiae a dramatic event took place. Here Nero decided to kill his mother. His face is mournful, his gaze blank while he awaits the uncertain result of his infamous crime.
It is easy to see the parallel between the smoking Vesuvius and the despot’s gloomy pride, as he is licked by a languid tiger, synonymous of force and cruelty, yet eager to be caressed.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

FERNANDO DE LUCIA

Fernando De Lucia sang in many of the world’s greatest opera houses from his début at the San Carlo of Naples in 1885.
His old friend Raffaele Esposito, proprietor of the small Neapolitan recording house of Phonotype, offered him the opportunity of making records for his company.
The twin facts that De Lucia lived for most of his life in his native Naples, and that his artistic life coincided almost precisely with the heyday (1880 – 1910) of the Neapolitan song, give particular authenticity to his interpretations of those songs, which make up almost one quarter of his enormous recorded output. The great ones of the genre – De Crescenzo, De Curtis, De Leva, Gambardella, Tirindelli, Tosti, Valente – all dedicated songs to him. Their works, very often written in minor keys, frequently embody a strain of sadness: it is well said that ‘they seem to sigh, to laugh and then to die, with words and music so interdependent that that one could not exist without the other’.