Tuesday, March 25, 2014


'Rich in gold and cloths'? This is the first full-length study of the history of medieval maritime republic of Amalfi that addresses both the internal political, social, and economic history of Amalfi - as an independent city-state, under Norman rule and as part of the Kingdom of Sicily - and the history of its diaspora, those Amalfitans who left temporarily or permanently and whose activities contributed to the image of their home city as a thriving centre specialising in the luxury end of the market.
By taking a prosopographical approach, Patricia Skinner reveals the presence of Amalfitans in many parts of the Italian peninsula and further afield in the Mediterranean. 
At the same time, she critically re-examines some of the externally-generated views of Amalfitan wealth, suggesting that these may have as much - or more - to do with literary and patronage networks as with the actual situation on the ground.

Saturday, March 1, 2014


Dating back to 1849 and originally titled “Barcarolla,” the song became “Santa Lucia” when it was the first Neapolitan song to be translated into Italian during  il Risorgimento (the political and social movement that gathered different states of the Italian peninsula into the single state of Italy).
The lyrics of “Santa Lucia,” which celebrate Borgo Santa Lucia, the picturesque waterfront district in the Bay of Naples, are the invitation of a boatman to take a turn in his boat, to better enjoy the cool of the evening.
“Santa Lucia” has been covered by many artists over the years, but the 1916 recording  by Enrico Caruso, the great Neapolitan opera singer, is by many considered the definitive 20th century recording of the song. Other singers who’ve lent their voci (voices) to “Santa Lucia” include, Mario Lanza, Luciano Pavarotti, and even Elvis!