Thursday, December 31, 2015

NEW YEARS EVE

This sunny resort, famous for its lemons, was one of the first of Italy’s powerful maritime republics, trading with Islamic ports and bringing silks to the West. It was a vassal of Byzantium until AD 839 when it went its own way, until being conquered by the Normans in the 11th century. 
New Year's Eve is still celebrated in Amalfi on 31 August, the New Year according to the Julian calendar adopted by Byzantium. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

TAZZA FARNESE

The Tazza Farnese, one of the largest, figural banded agate vessels known, has only recently been reinstalled in the galleries dedicated to the antiquities of the Farnese collection within the National Archaeological Museum in Naples. The book Medusa's Gaze is a popular presentation of the history of this cup.
Belozerskaya’s history of the tazza can be divided into two chronological periods, before and after its acquisition in the 1450s by King Alfonso of Aragon. 
The modern history is filled with rich detail. One is reminded of the use of the tazza’s interior scene as a source of inspiration for Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. Its retention by the Farnese family and the reasons by which it entered the collections in Naples are well-documented.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

CANNELLONI

It is said that Antonino Ercolano was already serving them in 1800. He had invented the little La Favorita trattoria in order to turn to account the culinary arts he had learnt as a seminarian at the archbishopric. He had not managed to become a priest, but for his friends and for all Sorrento he had nevertheless earned the affectionate nickname “O’ Parrucchiano” – the parish priest. 
And in the two little rooms on Corso Italia he had also invented a highly personal way of preparing gussets of pasta rolled up any old how and filled with a rich tomato sauce and a smidgen of meat, all covered in tomato: he called them strascinati – from the amusing way he had of rolling out and pulling the pasta with his rolling pin.
In the early 1920s, when Sorrento was an must on the Grand Tour of the European aristocracy, Salvatore Coletta, the cook, rolled them up in great style, being more generous with the meat and changing the name to “cannelloni”. They were an overnight success, thanks in part to the work of Federico Nicola, a cook at the Favorita for over thirty years.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

VILLA NOLA

Antonio de Simone is professor of archaeology at the Benincasa University in Naples: ‘‘Augustus became the master of the world at a very young age. At 72 years old, which compared to the average lifespan of a Roman made him more like over 100, he’s tired. He doesn’t want anything more to do with power. He’s left Rome with the worries, anxieties which come with power and spends the last years of his life travelling or staying in houses which are outside Rome. On his return from one journey, tired and sick, he prefers the villa of Nola, even though he has more beautiful and more important villas in the area.”

Read more at: http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.gr/2015/10/villa-nola-final-resting-place-of-roman.html#.VjRv8iuGPh4
Follow us: @ArchaeoNewsNet on Twitter | groups/thearchaeologynewsnetwork/ on Facebook
Antonio de Simone is professor of archaeology at the Benincasa University in Naples: ‘‘Augustus became the master of the world at a very young age. At 72 years old, which compared to the average lifespan of a Roman made him more like over 100, he’s tired. He doesn’t want anything more to do with power. He’s left Rome with the worries, anxieties which come with power and spends the last years of his life travelling or staying in houses which are outside Rome. On his return from one journey, tired and sick, he prefers the villa of Nola, even though he has more beautiful and more important villas in the area.”

Read more at: http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.gr/2015/10/villa-nola-final-resting-place-of-roman.html#.VjRv8iuGPh4
Follow us: @ArchaeoNewsNet on Twitter | groups/thearchaeologynewsnetwork/ on Facebook
Antonio de Simone is professor of archaeology at the Benincasa University in Naples: ‘‘Augustus became the master of the world at a very young age. At 72 years old, which compared to the average lifespan of a Roman made him more like over 100, he’s tired. He doesn’t want anything more to do with power. He’s left Rome with the worries, anxieties which come with power and spends the last years of his life travelling or staying in houses which are outside Rome. On his return from one journey, tired and sick, he prefers the villa of Nola, even though he has more beautiful and more important villas in the area.”

Read more at: http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.gr/2015/10/villa-nola-final-resting-place-of-roman.html#.VjRv8iuGPh4
Follow us: @ArchaeoNewsNet on Twitter | groups/thearchaeologynewsnetwork/ on Facebook
Vesuvius erupted again in 472 AD this time smoothering the villa where the Emperor Augustus ended his days.The archaeological treasure has been under excavation for the past 13 years.The dig has reveled some extraordinary finds like never before seen frescoes.
According to the ancient historians Tacitus and Suetonius, this villa close to Nola, is the place where an ailing Augustus escaped the mayhem of Rome, before he passed away on 19 August 14 AD.
Antonio de Simone is professor of archeology at the Benincasa University in Naples:
‘‘Augustus became the master of the world at a very young age. At 72 years old, which compared to the average lifespan of a Roman made him more like over 100, he’s tired. He’s left Rome with the worries, anxieties which come with power and spends the last years of his life travelling or staying in houses which are outside Rome. On his return from one journey, tired and sick, he prefers the villa of Nola, even though he has more beautiful and more important villas in the area.”


Sunday, October 18, 2015

SUSPENDED PIZZA

Far from being a mere commodity, a product separated from the social and cultural dynamics of its production, pizza is food at the centre of a social ritual. It is at the centre of a koinè at the centre of which are the oven and the pizzaiuolo’s worktable. It is no coincidence that in traditional Neapolitan pizzerias ovens are not hidden; they are in the centre of the room, like an ancient fireplace.
The pizza maestro does not have his back to the customers; he faces them and interacts with them at all times; there is a constant collective feedback. This initiates forms of community credit, such as the “today and eight” pizza, bought and consumed immediately, paid eight days later, or the “suspended” pizza, following the ancient Neapolitan tradition of the suspended coffee, which involves consuming one espresso and paying for two, leaving one in for less fortuned strangers.
This form of generosity towards strangers, based on the assumption that “a pizza is denied to no one”, elects pizza, already the global emblem of street food, as the food of solidarity.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

POMPEIAN PUMICE

The appearance of Mount Vesuvius and its surrounding area before that catastrophic eruption has been – and still is – a debated topic for geologists and archaeologists alike. But it’s not a purely speculative topic – we not only have some geological clues about the area, but also written descriptions and some contemporary drawings as well. Roman authors who cite Vesuvius in their works include Strabo, Vitruvius and Diodorus Siculus.
In his Geographia, Strabo describes the “burned” rocks of the mountain and compares Vesuvius to the more active Mt. Etna. Additionally, Diodorus and Vitruvius seem to have grasped the volcanic origin of the mountain: "It is said, that once a fire burned below Vesuvius and spilled out a boiling flood, inundating the nearby countryside: so that the rock now called Pompeian Pumice, once was another sort of rock, reduced by fire to its actual quality."

Sunday, September 20, 2015

THE SCARLATTIS

During the Baroque, several families made their mark in the world of music. In Italy there were few families more influential than the Scarlattis.
This story begins with the birth of Alessandro Scarlatti in Palermo, Italy in 1660. In 1679, Alessandro bet everything he had on his first opera which was huge success and cemented his reputation as a composer, especially of vocal music. His catalogue of work is dominated by vocal music, secular and sacred, in what is called the Neapolitan style. He remained in Rome until 1684 when he accepted an appointment as the maestro di cappella to the Viceroy of Naples. 
Alessandro’s sixth child, Guiseppe Domenico Scarlatti, was born the next year in Naples.  Undoubtedly Domenico learned his craft from his father and other relatives. At the age of 16 he was appointed the organist of the Naples Royal Chapel with his own father as his boss. Alessandro was very demanding of Domenico and influenced his career for the better part of 20 years.
Finally, in 1719, Domenico left for Lisbon, Portugal. Domenico was now free, free from his father’s influence and his father’s music.  Domenico began to explore music of his own, improvising and composing at the keyboard in the styles that surrounded him.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

POZZOLANA

After studying sediment cores from a previous drilling project in Pozzuoli, researchers found a layer of carbon-rich rocks sitting 2.9 kilometers below the city.
When seawater infiltrates the carbon-rich rocks, they emit CO2, which reacts with calcium and hydrogen-rich rocks to form calcium hydroxide, or hydrated lime, one of the key ingredients in cement. Geothermal fluids push the natural lime up toward a top layer of ash deposited by previous eruptions, forming natural high-strength, fibrous concrete.
The material may have served as the inspiration for the creation of Roman concrete which led to the building of Rome’s architectural wonders such as the Pantheon and the aqueducts that still stand today, the researchers say.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

GENESES OF LIMONCELLO

Limoncello was perhaps born in the early 1900’s when Lady Maria Antonia Farace grew lemons and oranges to produce this liquor to serve her guests at her small boarding house in Capri. Her “nipote” opened a bar after World War II that specialized in his nonna’s old limoncello recipe. 
In 1988, his son Massimo Canale opened a small handmade production of limoncello, patenting the very first trademark “Limoncello”. Thus, Capresi believe the paternity to be rightfully theirs.
Still, Sorrento and Amalfi have age-old legends and tales about this citrusy liqueur.

Monday, August 3, 2015

THE ART OF CUTTING

The capital of the master cutters and “clothiers”, of the first designers, as always. The legendary names of the master architects of style come to mind. In the last thirty years of the nineteenth century, two affirmed exponents of the Neapolitan school, Raffaele Sardonelli and Filippo de Nicola, dressed the crowned heads of half of Europe, laying the foundations for the emergence of Neapolitan style.
It’s the Naples that blends English, French and Austrian culture with that of the ancient kingdoms and republics that came to make up Italy. De Nicola’s son, Adolfo, who studied under Antonio Caggiula (another icon, author of the famous work, “L’Arte del taglio”, published in 1887), became the most sought-after tailor in fin-de-siècle Europe after a sojourn in London.
Besides Antonio Caggiula, other great Neapolitan tailors of the first decades of the twentieth century included Salvatore Morziello, Giuseppe Tallarico and Peppino Miniello, the first to have the idea of extending the “pinces” (tuck) of a jacket along its entire front, one of the distinctive elements of Neapolitan style.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

THE SARTORIA

The history of sartorial tradition in Naples goes back to 1351 when Neapolitan elegance started to take shape with the birth of “Confraternita dei Sartori”.
In the 1800's, the sartorial tradition in Napoli grew even bigger. The noble families all around the country were hiring Neapolitan tailors to get their clothes tailored and make sure they were up-to-date with their style.
In the 900's, more tailored transformed their little "bottega" into fashion houses and turned into world references in the industry: Kiton, Isaia, Marinella are just few well-known of the many fantastic tailors still present in the area.
Today, the "stile Napoletano" is considered the best in the industry because of the innate elegance, the passion and their sublime craftsmanship.

Monday, July 13, 2015

CINEMATOGRAFEIDE!

Matilde Serao’s novels were adapted for film, which was the subject, among others, of her journalistic writings, such as her well-known reviews of films like Inferno, Quo vadis, and Cabiria. She also wrote original scenarios. As a regular collaborator of the film magazine L’arte muta edited by the Neapolitan distributor Gustavo Lombardo, she fervently promoted Neapolitan cinema, which was favoured by a cultural environment well oriented towards the Seventh Art.
Cinema was for Serao a popular art, able to reach a widespread and, at times, uneducated audience. In her 1906 article “Cinematografeide!,” the first article about film written by an intellectual in Italy, she caught the dawn of the Neapolitan enthusiasm for the cinématographe, suggesting, with the suffix of the neologism she coined, the emergence of cinema in Naples as an epidemic, a contagious disease.

Friday, June 19, 2015

ROMAN CAMPANIA

Cumae, Dicaearchia (Roman Puteoli), and Neapolis were pre-eminent in antiquity and fame. There Romans first encountered Greek civilization directly, in cities set along an indented shoreline amid volcanic craters, sulphurous soil, and mineral springs. This portion of the coast, say both Polybius and Strabo, was known familiarly as the “Crater”; it was the gulf which, bounded on the northwest by Cape Misenum, and on the south by Cape Athenaeum, forms the Bay of Naples.
Around the “Crater” were the Campi Phlegraei of forbidding aspect, associated in myth and legend with gigantomachy, the workshops of Vulcan, and the dark approaches to the infernal regions. But by Cicero’s day the coast glittered with luxurious villas of the Roman upper classes; he calls the region cratera illum delicatum – “the Bay of Luxury.”

Monday, June 8, 2015

VIDERE NEAPOLIM ET MORI

People in the United States know Naples for certain aspects of its more modern history; two  might be, Italian emigration, and a certain organized criminality associated with the city and its region. But we also need to let people see the flip side of that coin.
 The flip side, for the Americans, will let them know that Naples is rich with culture; indeed, it has been a richly cultured city for centuries, with an international sphere of influence to boot. Philosophy (fonseca Pimentel, Filangeri, Vico, Croce), Music (Scarlatti, Rossini, Merola, Daniele), Cuisine (fish, pasta, pizza, processing of tomatoes), Religion (Cathedral of San Gennaro and its world-wide appeal, other churches that are the burial sites of historic figures), Performing Arts (De Filippo, Martone, Sastri, Servillo, Sorrentino, Toto', Troisi, the “opera buffa”), Literature (Basile, Serao, Di Giacomo, Malaparte, Saviano), together with other societal and cultural movements, have made Naples one of the most significant cities of western Europe, a major center for the Baroque in the seventeenth century, second only to Paris.

Friday, May 22, 2015

TALE OF TALES

Between 1634 and 1636 Giambattista Basile wrote the first collection of short stories entirely devoted to childhood, "Lo Cunto de li Cunti overo Lo trattenemiento de' peccerille" (= trattenemiento de peccerille" (The tale of tales, or how to entertain kids) in the Neapolitan language, published posthumously thanks to the author's sister, Adriana Basile, a famous singer.  
The Cunto has been the source of inspiration for the literary genre of the fairy-tale in European literature. Some of the most famous fairy tales - Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots - are the result of reductions or adjustments from Basile's tales. Benedetto Croce said of this important work: "Italy has in Lo Cunto de li Cunti by Basile, the oldest, richest and most artistic of all the books of folk tales".
"Lo Cunto" is a collection of tales of folk origin, written in Neapolitan dialect, and inserted in a frame along the lines of the Decameron. The narrative is divided into five days (hence the other title of Pentamerone), each including ten fairy tales.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

LA ROSA DEI VENTI

If you read or listen to the weather forecast here in Italy you’re quite likely to come across expressions such as: vento di libeccio (wind coming from South West) or vento di tramontana (wind coming from the North). 
The reason for this is that we still use the traditional names taken from the Medieval rosa dei venti (wind rose), on which each of the four cardinal points and their four subdivisions is named after a wind. Historically, the use of la rosa dei venti (wind rose) precedes the compass, and has been a common tool for sea travelling since the times of la Repubblica Amalfitana (Amalfi’s Republic) before the Twelfth century. 

Friday, May 8, 2015

PLASTER CASTS OF POMPEII

The plaster casts of the men, women, children, and animals of Pompeii were primarily made in the mid-1800s. The building they were originally housed in suffered extensive damage in World War II, and they are now located in several places around the city.
The Antiquarium, near the Forum, once held most of the plaster casts.The Garden of the Fugitives holds the largest number of victims found in one place, where 13 people sought refuge in a fruit orchard. Nine sets of remains were found at the House of Mysteries, where the roof collapsed, trapping them inside.
One plaster cast can be seen inside the Caupona Pherusa tavern.
The Stabian Thermal baths and the Macellum (fish market) both house two plaster casts, and the Horrea (granary) and Olitorium (market) holds several more, including a pig, and what may be the most famous cast of all, of a small dog in a collar, writhing on its back.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

VIVA CARUSO

The opera star loomed large on the musical landscape of his time. So too does Lovano in his.
He explains that “the idea here was to try and interpret Caruso’s music in a way that’s free and organic and to put myself into Caruso’s world.”
No track provides greater evidence of that than Il Carnivale Di Pulcinella, Lovano’s original four-part suite, chronicling the narrative of the annual Neapolitan Carnival. Lovano drives the piece throughout, demonstrating his facility for underscoring mood – variously buoyant, intimate, rousing.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

THE ARCHIFLEGREO


The "Campi Flegrei" represent a highly integrated land system, which is currently part of the Regional Natural Park of "Campi Flegrei ". It is one of the regional areas with the highest environmental, historical and archaeological significance.
The name itself suggests the volcanic nature of this area (phlegraios means burning) that extends to the West area of Naples to Cuma and Capo Miseno, including the islands of Ischia, Procida, and Vivara.
In this area, where a single volcanic system formed 42,000 years ago, the "Archiflegreo", is still active, we can recognize at least twenty-four craters and volcanic edifices, some of which are unique effusive gaseous (Solfatara) or hydrothermal evidencies (Agnano, Pozzuoli, Lucrino) also due to the phenomenon, called bradyseism. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

ARIA

Alan Sorrenti is an artist from Naples who was born to an Italian father and a Welsh mother. 
In 1972 he released an interesting debut “prog-style” album, “Aria” (Air), on the label Harvest. This work is an excellent effort to blend acoustic and dreamy atmospheres with experimental sounds and vocal acrobatics. 
The most evident source of inspiration here is Tim Buckley but in this work the Neapolitan artist, helped by some excellent musicians as Tony Esposito (drums percussion), Vittorio Nazzaro (bass, classical guitar) and Albert Prince (piano, organ, bandoneon, mellotron, synthesizers) managed to shape a particular, original sound that is really worth listening to.

Friday, February 27, 2015

THE GRAND TOUR

In the middle of the seventeenth century, upper-middle-class Europeans began to set out on what was known as “the grand tour,” which was more of a rite of passage for young men than a tour. The young noblemen, who were mainly British, searched the continent of Europe for the pleasures that could be had far away from their austere lives in England. At first, they focused on Paris and later ventured farther afield to Venice, Rome, and finally Naples. 
They studied art and culture and spent time with professional women. Indeed, once the grand tour reached Naples, the number of women waiting to service the young travelers exploded. Many contracted venereal diseases there, which gave a new meaning to Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe’s famous phrase: “to see Naples and die.” The grand tour gave rise to the first printed travel guides, as well as the profession of the tour guide who showed people around cultural and ancient sites.


Monday, February 9, 2015

THE CAPODIMONTE PORCELAIN

The origin of Capodimonte porcelain dates back to the early eighteenth century and geographically to the Kingdom of Naples. 
The father of Capodimonte porcelain is considered to be Charles of Bourbon. In 1738 he married Maria Amalia daughter of the King of Saxony, Augustus III of Poland and granddaughter of Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland and founder of the first European hard paste porcelain factory in Meissen in 1710.
It was from this union that Charles' interest in porcelain production in Naples first sprang. His desire was to create a porcelain production of a quality comparable with the factory in Saxony, whose methods and ingredients were only known by the chemist Bottiger. Charles initially allocated a small building in the Royal Palace to be dedicated to porcelain production under the direction of Giovanni Caselli and the chemist Livio Ottavio Schepers, who had originally worked at the Neapolitan Mint.
In spite of many efforts, including those underhand, the formula for porcelain remained a mystery.






Wednesday, February 4, 2015

MOZZARELLA HISTORY

Mozzarella has a very ancient history and an uncertain origin. The history of this cheese is directly connected to the introduction of the buffalo in Campania, a region of south Italy, and some believe it was in the sixth century, whereas others say it was introduced in Italy by Hannibal. 
Talking about evidences of the past, there are some information provided by a historian of the “Chiesa Metropolitana di Capua”, Monsignor Alicandri. In one of his writings it is read that near the Monastery of Saint Lorenzo in Capua - it was twelfth century - monks offered to pilgrims a piece of bread and a mozza or provatura
The writing literally reads: “…one mozza or provatura with a little piece of bread was offered by monks of monastery of Saint Lorenzo in Capua as agnitionem dominii to the metropolitan church to which every year, because of an ancient tradition in occasion of the fourth fair of legations, a procession used to go to that Church…”. 
The term “mozzarella” is directly connected to the locution “mozza”, a term used to refer to provatura, that is provola, another typical cheese of Campania, as it was clearly written by Monsignor Alicandri.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

NAPLES IS A THOUSAND COLOURS

Naples is a thousand colours
Naples is a thousand fears
Naples is the voice of children
Rising slowly, slowly
And you know you're not alone.
Naples is a bitter sun
Naples is the smell of the sea
Naples is a dirty piece of paper
And nobody cares
And everyone awaits their fate.
Naples is a stroll
Through the alleys, among the people.
Naples is a great sleep
And the whole world knows it
But no one knows the truth.