Thursday, January 4, 2018

THE LOTUS EATER

Set in 1913, Italy, The Lotus Eater pans the non-conformed life of a man, Thomas Wilson, from the eyes of the narrator, W. Somerset Maugham.
Thomas Wilson left a well-settled life in London to live on an Island of Capri, Italy. The story begins with sunshine, sun-kissed shorelines and a merry way of life.
This story was like a full day—sunshine and night-time. It’s a marvelous description of changing times, ideas, and even colours. What was once pink is now deep red. What was once yellow is now ochre. What was white is now black.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

STANZAS WRITTEN IN DEJECTION NEAR NAPLES

The day is warm, the sky is clear, the waves sparkle. Blue islands and snow-topped mountains look purple in the midday light. Buds are ready to blossom. The sounds of the winds, the birds, the waves, and of Naples itself blend in pleasant harmony. Shelley sees the seaweed on the ocean bottom and watches the waves dissolve into light as they strike the shore. He sits alone on the sand, observing the sparkling ocean and listening to the sound of the waves. How pleasant all this would be if there were someone with whom he could share the emotion he feels.
Shelley was in Naples from November 29, 1818, to February 28, 1819. Naples in winter offers a pleasantly warm climate. Naples is at its best, so far as weather is concerned, and Shelley and his wife, Mary, should have been happy there. However, Shelley was in poor health and the delightful winter climate of Naples did not help him. The major cause of his dejection was not his health but his wife's estrangement from him following the death of their daughter Clara on September 24, 1818.

Monday, December 4, 2017

THE FIERY GENIUS

The central role of Naples in the history of vocal music has so far overshadowed a rich tradition of instrumental music; only in recent years has musicological research begun bringing it to light once more, demonstrating that Naples also played a crucial role in the field of instrumental music, no less relevant than other centres more often associated with this repertory, such as Rome and Venice.
Precious gems are unearthed here (including the only solo violin sonata by Giovanni Carlo Cailò, in its first modern recording), and this programme makes many different exponents of Neapolitan instrumental composition accessible to a wider public, from the generation of Pietro Marchitelli (slightly older than Corelli) and Giovanni Carlo Cailò to Francesco Paolo Supriani, Angelo Ragazzi, Nicola Fiorenza and Leonardo Leo – contemporaries of Bach, Tartini and Locatelli, yet who are revealed as possessing a completely different style, at a time when Naples was one of the great European capitals.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

CUMAEAN SIBYL

Virgil famously described a cave with a hundred openings as home to one of the most famous prophetesses of ancient legend - the Cumaean Sibyl. Written in 19 BC, the Aeneid chronicles the adventures of Trojan warrior Aeneas, including his encounter with a mysterious ancient fortune teller. It was said this oracle, or sibyl, dwelt in the mouth of a cave in Cumae, the ancient Greek settlement near what is now Naples. According to tradition she would have sung her prophecies, or written them on oak leaves which she would leave at the mouth of the cave. Searches for the famous cave described by Virgil were undertaken in the Middle Ages, and there are other nearby niches that have also been named “the Sibylline grotto,” including one closer to Lake Averno. The “official” Cave of the Sibyl was uncovered more recently, in 1932, by archaeologist Amedeo Maiuri.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

NAPOLI'S WALLS

Louis Sclavis has for decades dazzled and provoked listeners with his literate, ambitious musical projects that examine not only the many dimensions and directions of the sonic spectrum, but also his Renaissance-like embrace of literature, foreign cultures, and now, visual art.
With a new quartet collaborating with him Sclavis turns his eyes, ears, and spirit toward an investigation of the paintings of the French artist Ernest Pignon-Ernest on Napoli's Walls.
Pignon-Ernest, born in 1942, is a curious and wonderfully captivating artist, since he works not on canvas but on public surfaces. From 1987-1995 he worked in Naples, digging through a knotty, tragic history that involved both Oriental and Occidental cultures and the aftermath of volcanoes, disease, defeat at the hands of many armies, and the poetry of its people through it all.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

PASTICCERIA DE RISO

In 1989 “Sal” De Riso, already an accomplished chef, opened the Pasticceria De Riso on the sea front of Minori, a town on the Amalfi Coast, and his laboratory in Tramonti, seven kilometers inland. Within a few years his pastry shop was one of the most popular in the province of Salerno. Prizes and international recognition arrived soon.
My goal was to introduce new sweets to southern Italy. From the early nineties to this day, I’m considered an innovator in the world of pastries. Even if here in the south we have some delicious traditional sweets, I was the first to introduce mousses, cakes topped with fresh “exotic” fruits, but I always had deep respect for Campania’s local ingredients.
This area of Italy has a rich variety of top-quality ingredients: hazelnuts from Giffoni, ricotta from here in Tramonti, white figs from Cilento, apricots from Mount Vesuvius, amazing wines from Benevento and Avellino to name just a few. I’ve always made use of these marvelous products. Let’s put it this way: my innovations bring out the best in the traditions of my home territory.

Friday, September 29, 2017

THE ARECHI CASTLE

The castle is perched atop Monte Bonadies, dominating the city of Salerno below. Although findings of coins confirm human frequentation of the hill as early as the third to second centuries B.C., the first permanent construction dates to the sixth century A.D., during the Greek-Gothic war, when the Greek general Narsetes ordered the construciton of a castrum, or fort. 
Remains of the Byzantine fortification are visible in some sections of the wall in “opera quadrata,” or “squared-off work,” achieved with large blocks of tufa, and in the original layout of the turris maior, or larger tower. 
The Normans modified this tower, but they raised the height of the adjoining wall network, and realized an enlargement to the south with the construction of a portico, of which there remain a few pylons, embedded in the bulwarks built to hold the cannons during the sixteenth century. 
The Angevins brought more significant modifications, adding cisterns and manufacturing zones; they built several turrets, furnished with arrow-slits (narrow vertical apertures through which defenders could shoot arrows), under which rifle-slits were later installed: these are also still visible. 
With the Aragonese, the castle reached its point of maximum development.