Thursday, December 21, 2017


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 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


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


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


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 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. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


On the 24th of August, about one in the afternoon, my mother desired him to observe a cloud which appeared of a very unusual size and shape. He had just taken a turn in the sun and, after bathing himself in cold water, and making a light luncheon, gone back to his books: he immediately arose and went out upon a rising ground from whence he might get a better sight of this very uncommon appearance. 
A cloud, from which mountain was uncertain, at this distance (but it was found afterwards to come from Mount Vesuvius), was ascending, the appearance of which I cannot give you a more exact description of than by likening it to that of a pine tree, for it shot up to a great height in the form of a very tall trunk, which spread itself out at the top into a sort of branches; occasioned, I imagine, either by a sudden gust of air that impelled it, the force of which decreased as it advanced upwards, or the cloud itself being pressed back again by its own weight, expanded in the manner I have mentioned; it appeared sometimes bright and sometimes dark and spotted, according as it was either more or less impregnated with earth and cinders. 
This phenomenon seemed to a man of such learning and research as my uncle extraordinary and worth further looking into.

Saturday, September 2, 2017


This Cinderella is set in the mysterious docks of Naples, in a not too distant future, where the Chief of Police and the King and his henchmen contend for the territory and a very special girl: Cinderella.
Cinderella, oppressed by her family, servant for her stepsisters, lives in a dramatic setting of injustice, illegal trades, ambiguity, greed and rivalry. An intense need of revenge against the king- the one who murdered her father when she was a child- is growing inside her. Until the night of the great ball.
Only through discovering love, she will set her soul free from the dark shadows of revenge and start a new life.

Monday, August 28, 2017


Near Contursi Terme, the waters of the river Sele assume sulphureus characteristics, giving the possibility of enjoying regenerating and healing thermal baths present in the town.
 Anyway Sele is a river already known since ancient times as “magical”, whose waters are able to transform all is floating inside in stone (as reported among others, by the famous philosopher Aristotele).
In the Sele Valley also, in 71 Before Christ, there was the last battle of Spartacus, the famous slave reminded in the history because he “dared to challenge the Roman Empire“, which precisely in these mountains met his death with his followers.
Suggestive are the towns that arise in this area, including Oliveto for sure worth of a visit, with its imposing castle (now a museum of history of Lucania and high-average Sele).

Friday, August 18, 2017


In the seaside village of Pioppi is a unique museum.
While it's focus is what has become popularized as the Mediterranean Diet, it also is a tribute to the man who made it an internationally famous nutritional style, Ancel Keys. The American physiolgist was an eclectic man who studied political science and economics before turning his focus to biology, oceanography, and human physiology.
Keys and his wife moved to Pioppi to live among a healthy population that enjoyed longevity-and to research what effects nutrition and lifestyle played in their wellness and longevity. Keys himself was an avid practitioner and lived to 101 years old.

Monday, August 14, 2017


The launch of the new Piaget High Jewellery collection, Sunlight Journey, provides an opportunity to discover an exceptional ring inspired by a singular gem named Piaget Blue, after the Maison’s favourite colour.
Embodying a free-roaming escapade following the path of the sun amid a decor inspired by the Amalfi Coast, the collection plays on all the nuances and contrasts of the varied materials and evocative hues gracing this vibrant region. In the heart of the day, at high noon, an anthem to blue-tinted harmonies unfolds before our eyes. One particular colour stands out in a unique way: that of a stone whose history is the stuff of legends and is beyond doubt a masterwork within the Sunlight Journey range.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


The real treasure of the Conservatorio di Musica San Pietro a Majella is the library, which houses an astounding collection of musical scores. Combining the libraries of the various constituent conservatories with important donations of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, it has historical materials of a sort not usually found in music schools. And by a fortunate circumstance, the Bourbon kings of Naples decreed that no opera should be performed in any theater in the city without a copy being deposited in the Conservatory library, a decree that was reiterated through the Napoleonic era and down to the unification of Italy.
The result is that the library contains thousands of scores of operas: not only those composed in Naples, including many autographs, but everything performed there, from Alessandro Scarlatti down to Giuseppe Verdi.
Naples is considered by many to be the place opera really comes from. Yes, it may have been invented in Tuscany; yes, it may have been improved in Venice and Rome; but it is really in Naples that it grew, and it is from the Naples of the seventeenth and eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries that most of the composers and singers, trained at the Conservatory, spread the tradition of Neapolitan opera over all of Europe.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


The Vergini neighbourhood was built on top of a cemetery dating to the 4th Century BC, when Naples was the ancient Greek city of Neapolis. And according to local archaeologist Carlo Leggieri, the site was as significant then as it is now.
“These monuments marked the tombs of the aristocracy of ancient Neapolis – all the influential people of one of the biggest and most important cities on the Mediterranean,” he said.
Its status didn’t last. As the centuries passed, the cemetery disappeared beneath layers of flood and construction debris. Now it is an inadvertent catacomb, entombed 8m to 10m below the city.
The Naples National Archaeological Museum will partner with several associations – including SMMAVE, Celanapoli and VerginiSanità – through its Obvia outreach programme, where museum ticket buyers can get discounted tours of association-maintained sites.

Sunday, July 2, 2017


This exhibition proposes to use the languages of contemporaneity to analyze the most stereotyped rhetoric about Naples. The goal is not to disrupt and deconstruct redundant signs and meanings that have become firmly established, in favor of images and ideas that are new, unusual, and perhaps even truer. On the contrary, the intention is to fully engage that code, taking it seriously as a machine for the production of functional forms and as a protective device against dysfunctional disorder. 
Matthias Schaller has looked for and portrayed some of the latest stereotypes of what it means to be Neapolitan: situations, monuments, personalities that are strongly representative of the city. He has always taken photographs, but here he has decided to photograph other photographs. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


The convention ‘The Rise of Modern Banking in Naples’ will be held at the original site of the ancient Banco dei Poveri, which is now the location of the Banco di Napoli Foundation and its imposing Historical Archive: unique in the world, with 300 rooms containing millions of documents, it bears testimony to the daily life of the eight public banks in Naples and the secrets of their administration.
It was in Naples that the first fiduciary circulation was created, thanks to the public banks. These banks, in addition to their orthodox, profit-oriented economic activities, maintained a philanthropic identity for centuries.
The social economic context in which the modern bank was created (The Kingdom of Naples under Spanish rule) and the fusion of the philanthropy of the “monti” and the mercantile aspects of the “banchi”.
The benevolent involvement and power of the viceroys, became the basis for the impetuous development of fiduciary circulation, which from the end of the 1500s connected the use of paper money to the issue of the most modern forms of credit.

Monday, June 12, 2017


The Hills of Anacapri is the fifth prelude of Debussy’s first book of preludes.
It was inspired by the town of Anacapri on the island of Capri, off the coast of Italy, which the composer frequently visited.
The prelude is a lively scherzo-like piece, mingled with elements of the tarantella, and interspersed with moments of sublime awe. In the brilliant key of B major, it opens with the clear ringing of isolated tones, like a stunning view on a clear sunlit day, which alternate with lively quasi-tarantella passages.

Thursday, June 1, 2017


“O sole mio” (“My Sunshine”) was composed by Eduardo Di Capua. Its lyric, comparing a lover’s face with the sun, was written by a poet, Giovanni Capurro. In 1916 the celebrated tenor Enrico Caruso recorded it for a 78rpm single on the Victor label, a version that has been repackaged more than 90 times.
Tony Martin, an American crooner and actor, enjoyed a hit single with an English-language version called “There’s No Tomorrow” in 1950.
Elvis Presley loved Martin’s record. He taped his own version in 1959 while stationed in Germany with the US Army, a performance that went unreleased until 1997. Presley also asked his music publisher to create a new song around the melody, who gave the job to composers Aaron Schroeder and Wally Gold. It took them two hours to complete the lyrics for “It’s Now or Never”, and Presley’s sensitive and elegant 1960 recording became the second biggest-selling single of his career.

Friday, May 19, 2017


Magic, mystery, a thirst for wonders and for the unknown, and a pagan sun-religion.
An ambiguous nature envelops Naples, however wonderful in color and climate it might be, for thundering within the bowels of the earth is the mysterious fury of the volcano and the earthquakes that in the past have buried entire nations.
The mystery of excellence in Naples is called liquefaction of the blood of San Gennaro: twice a year the blood contained in vials liquefies when it comes into proximity with the head of the martyr which is guarded in the reliquary.
Here we are in the heart of the mystery, the Sansevero Chapel, which is linked to the figure of Prince Raimondo of Sangro, an alchemist, magician and necromancer. Here we find a real miracle of art: Giuseppe Sammartino’s famous veiled Christ, for the marble veil over the deposed Christ is able to simultaneously cover and completely reveal his body.

Friday, May 12, 2017


On the volcanic island of Ischia, south-west of Naples, an ancient currency is being brought back to life.
Thanks to a cultural initiative, residents and visitors will be able to use them as payment for entry at certain historical sights - or they can simply keep them as a souvenir.
One side of the coin shows a winged griffin, the logo of Aenaria, the Roman name for Ischia.. The other shows a Roman galaxy, just like the coins in use in ancient Rome.   
For now, the coin can only be used at a limited number of sites in the hamlet of Ischia Ponte, for example to pay for entry to the submerged city of Aenaria. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


In this painting, the excited and gloomy atmosphere of the tableaux vivants, packed with people, gives way to a more intimate view, not without its guarded symbolic significance. The light of dawn has already tinted pink the tunic of the flabby emperor and the calm waters of the bay of Naples. In that city Nero performed in public for the first time to resounding success, and its coastal villas inspired the architects who designed the Domus Aurea for him.
At Baiae a dramatic event took place. Here Nero decided to kill his mother. His face is mournful, his gaze blank while he awaits the uncertain result of his infamous crime.
It is easy to see the parallel between the smoking Vesuvius and the despot’s gloomy pride, as he is licked by a languid tiger, synonymous of force and cruelty, yet eager to be caressed.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Fernando De Lucia sang in many of the world’s greatest opera houses from his début at the San Carlo of Naples in 1885.
His old friend Raffaele Esposito, proprietor of the small Neapolitan recording house of Phonotype, offered him the opportunity of making records for his company.
The twin facts that De Lucia lived for most of his life in his native Naples, and that his artistic life coincided almost precisely with the heyday (1880 – 1910) of the Neapolitan song, give particular authenticity to his interpretations of those songs, which make up almost one quarter of his enormous recorded output. The great ones of the genre – De Crescenzo, De Curtis, De Leva, Gambardella, Tirindelli, Tosti, Valente – all dedicated songs to him. Their works, very often written in minor keys, frequently embody a strain of sadness: it is well said that ‘they seem to sigh, to laugh and then to die, with words and music so interdependent that that one could not exist without the other’.

Friday, April 14, 2017


Pastiera is the queen of Neapolitan sweets, yet its composition is relatively simple. Shortcrust encases a filling of ricotta cheese, eggs, boiled grains of wheat, custard, candied fruit and aromatics, including orange flower water. All of this is topped with a lattice of the same pastry.
As with almost all the great Neapolitan pastries, pastiera was born in a convent – specifically, the Convent of San Gregorio Armeno in Naples’s centro storico. The nuns there were the first to bake hundreds of pastiere for the Neapolitan bourgeoisie. And that’s why the best pastiera is still to be found around the monastery.
And, as with many great pastries, this one has a legend associated with it. Here’s how it goes: Maria Cristina of Savoy, wife of King Ferdinand II, who ruled Sicily and southern Italy in the first half of the 19th century, was nicknamed “the Queen who never smiles.” One Easter, the court chef prepared pastiera for her. The Queen tried just tried a little bit and was so enraptured that she let out a beautiful smile in public. The king, like all husbands who complain about their sad wives, said: “We needed a pastiera to make my wife smile. Now I have to wait until next Easter to see her smile again.”

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


Few of music's Golden Ages remain so obscure as the Italian eighteenth century, and few operatic repertories have so deterred our revivalist fervour as the Neapolitan of that period. Yet in the opinion of many good judges of the time, Naples, and its opera specifically, was, as de Brusses put it, "the capital of the world's music", and we may well wonder whether we can ever hope really to understand eighteenth-century music until this repertory is as familiar to us as Bach and Handel.
In 'The Neapolitan Environment" Dr. Robinson examines the institutions that nurtured opera in Naples, the theatres and the conservatories; and the relations of both with the court. It is a lucid and a richly-documented account in which the author marshals a huge amount of material with commendable adeptness. Followed by 'Heroic Opera', 'The Orchestral Items' and two chapters on 'Comic Opera'.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


The latrine inside Villa Poppaea, an opulent Roman villa owned by the Emperor Nero in the Roman town of Oplontis, is fairly large, there would have been room for several seats around the U-shaped space.
It's the classic Greco-Roman design as seen at Ephesus and elsewhere — a fairly deep waste channel against a wall, a raised seating surface (apparently of wood or otherwise not surviving today), and a low water channel for washing flowing past the users' feet. 
Europeans didn't have toilet paper until recently. The Romans, at least the higher classes and certainly Nero, used a tersorium, a sponge mounted on a stick. The sponge could be dipped into a water channel running in front of the row of communal toilets in the latrine, and rinsed off in that channel after use. If there was no channel of running water, a bucket of salt water or vinegar water would be used.

Monday, March 27, 2017


“Vergini is rich of history, of heart. It was an area of cemeteries and convents, a very spiritual location from ancient times.” 
SMMAVE stands for Santa Maria della Misericordia ai Vergini, the 16th-Century church it was originally formed to restore. Maria Corbi, an art historian, and her co-founders, artists Christian Leperino and Massimo Tartaglione, solved wiring and plumbing issues, shovelled rubbish and tackled mountains of paperwork alongside the actual restoration. 
Fortunately, the three friends weren’t completely on their own – they were supported by volunteers from the neighbourhood, along with art and architecture students. Together, they cleaned, researched, documented and repaired. After two years of work, the church reopened in 2016 as a centre for contemporary and performance art.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Statuettes of Venus as well as painted statuettes found at Pompeii attest to the importance of her cult in the city. Statuettes were painted in utilitarian gardens, as well as pleasure gardens indicating the reputation of Venus as a guardian of the garden.  
In the house of Venus in Bikini a grand marble statue of Venus was discovered on a base in the atrium behind the impluvium. The statue was originally painted, but all that remains by way of decoration is traces of red paint on her lips and the gilded gold bikini, and other flourishes of gold. 
Venus’ arm is resting on a statue of Priapus while Eros looks up at her from her feet, and she crouches to adjust her sandal. Her gold bikini is an ornate decoration that makes this statue of Venus unique.

Saturday, February 18, 2017


From Pompeii: The Afterlife of a Roman Town explores the fascinating variety of these different experiences, as described by the artists, writers, actors, and others who have toured the excavated site.
The erotic frescoes that appalled eighteenth-century viewers inspired Renoir to change the way he painted. For Freud, visiting Pompeii was as therapeutic as a session of psychoanalysis.
Crown Prince Hirohito, arriving in the Bay of Naples by battleship, found Pompeii interesting, but Vesuvius, to his eyes, was just an ugly version of Mount Fuji. Rowland treats readers to the distinctive, often quirky responses of visitors ranging from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Charles Dickens, and Mark Twain to Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017


The compositions on this disc are all from Italy, and by Neapolitan composers. The oldest is Alessandro Scarlatti, and his setting features a strong connection between text and music. He makes use of chromaticism and Seufzer to express the text.
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi is best known for his Stabat mater which was not universally approved as some felt it was too operatic.
Leonardo Leo was one of the main composers of music for the theatre in Naples. That has left its mark in his settings of the Salve Regina which are performed here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


It's not often that museums help produce games, so the upcoming Father and Son, produced and distributed by The Naples Archaeological Museum, is notable if only for that honor. At the same time, though, the game looks intriguing in its own right. Father and Son is a 2D side-scrolling narrative game that dives into themes like love, fears, dreams, and the passing of time.
The story is about an archaeologist and the son he never knew, and the main character crosses the lives of people from different historical eras (which is where the archaeological theme comes in). The protagonist gets to travel through eras like Ancient Rome, Egypt, and Bourbon Naples, and the player's choices will affect the story and the ending.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Maradona was undoubtedly the most valuable player after the world cup and he was already playing in Napoli. Especially after the world cup, all eyes turned to Napoli. He continued to live his best years and took a major role in Napoli's two championships in the seasons 1986–87 and 1989–90.
The city of Naples had a special relationship with Maradona. Being ultimately a religious city, Naples regarded Maradona as a semi-saint (or maybe a real saint) figure. There were shrines dedicated to Maradona, people lid candles and made special prayers on Sundays and festivities.
Naples and Maradona has one serious conflict. In the world cup '90 which was held in Italy, he requested the city to support Argentina instead of Italy. He backed his idea by reminding them how the Italian governments which were dominated by North, neglected South Italy and Naples.

Thursday, January 12, 2017


In the Bastard books we have contemporary Naples in all its noisy complexity, and a group of cops whose insights into crime arise as much from their own imperfections as from their training and experience.
We arrive in the rough Neapolitan precinct of Pizzofalcone in the company of Lieutenant Giuseppe Lojacono, a Sicilian known as “the Chinaman” because of his “almond-shaped eyes.”
Their replacements are discards, Lojacono’s Commissario warns him: “people who aren’t welcome where they are now, whose commanding officers are eager to get rid of them. Renegades, bastards, or screwups, every last one of them!”
Each of the Bastards books is structured around a primary case with subordinate but sometimes intersecting plot lines.