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.