Friday, December 18, 2009


Colatura di alici is a highly concentrated saline mixture derived by the drippings of the anchovies packed in wood barrels with salt.
It is an amber-colored liquid produced by aging salted anchovies from the Gulf of Salerno, caught from March through the beginning of July. Immediately after they are caught, the anchovies are cleaned by hand and salted, then layered in oak containers. After four or five months, the liquid that drips out from a small hole in the base of the container is collected and used as a unique condiment, particularly well suited to spaghetti or linguine.
[...] Some say that colatura is the direct descendant of garum, the fish-based seasoning of the Romans. (...) But many experts and the people in and around Cetara (pronounced chay-TAR-ah) insist their version is much more genteel.
Arthur Schwartz, a cookbook author who runs a cooking school near Cetara, said the Romans used ''all kinds of fish, whatever they had, not just anchovies, and they didn't gut them, they just left them whole.''
The resulting product ''must have been much funkier and oilier,'' he said. ''Not that the anchovies they use for colatura are superclean or anything. They don't rinse them before putting them in with the salt. But it's the little bits of guts still clinging to the fish that give the colatura its special something.''
Colatura is definitely somewhat of a relic, even in Cetara.
A generation ago, all the houses in town had a wooden barrel (often left over from winemaking) of fermenting fish juice in their basements, small amounts of which were exchanged traditionally as Christmas gifts.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Hidden away in a warehouse within the compounds of a military facility near Naples lies a floating masterpiece which dozens of craftsman and carpenters are painstakingly trying to restore.
(...) 'Unlike a piece of furniture, a painting or a sculpture, a period vessel cannot be restored in order for it to become a piece for a museum - it must come back to life to plough through the waves again,' Federico Cuomo says.
'It is something which takes years and millions of euros to accomplish because restoring things is more difficult than rebuilding them.'
[...] Italy’s fi rst ever 12-Metre, La Spina was built in 1929 for Italian aristocrat, the Marquis Francesco Spinola. She was relaunched in April after a two-year restoration at the Aprea Peninsula Navis boatyard in Sorrento. She now belongs to a syndicate of Italian owners who showcased her at this year’s Argentario Sailing Week (CB246). While the hull is a rebuild, the interior is, according to Stefano Faggioni, 85 per cent original, including the antique cookers in the galley and the Marquis’s writing bureau.

Monday, December 7, 2009


The man who wrote the US Constitution?
It is certainly an overstatement that the Constitution of the United States of America was written in a beautiful old building—still called "the castle"—in Vico Equense, a small town on the Bay of Naples about halfway out the Sorrentine peninsula, but that's what citizens of that hamlet delight in telling visitors.
[...] "The Science of Legislation" was among the earliest works on constitutional law and government. It presented an enlightened code of justice that was based on reason and that did not favor royalty and the wealthy. Filangieri called for equal justice for all citizens, proportionality between crime and punishment, freedom of the press, universal public education and unlimited free trade. Franklin praised Filangieri for his "invaluable work." Many of the ideas championed in "The Science of Legislation" are found in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
[...] The Revolutionary era reached its peak in Continental Europe in the period in which Gaetano Filangieri wrote his La scienza della legislazione, 1780-1785 (Science of Legislation). The friendship that grew between the Neapolitan philosopher and Benjamin Franklin, and the wish of the first to follow the statesman and secular moralist by emigrating to the New World, were signs of a profound belief in reason. The horizons and values that today characterize western civilization were already clear to the two brilliant men of the Enlightenment. Indeed, they have ennobled our civilization.