Italian Style: 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Tour De France

During a recent visit to the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, my personal star of the show was the Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Tour De France.

Designed by Pinin Farina, with a powerful V12 engine, strengthened chassis and aluminium body, this car has breathtaking looks and is also arguably the greatest and most important Ferrari road/racing car ever built.

It delivered four victories in the 10-day Tour De France plus two category wins and a second overall in the Mille Miglia.  It also triumphed in its class at Le Mans.  The example above is one of 45 built between 1956 and 1960.

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Giving a new face to the Sanità, Naples

Mimmo Jodice is a well-known Italian photographer who was professor at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Napoli from 1970 to 1996.  He is also Honorary President of the recently launched San Gennaro Foundation NGO.  This organisation hopes to ‘give a new face‘ to Rione Sanità, one of the toughest, poorest and most deprived of the inner Naples neighbourhoods, through development projects, social initiatives and promoting a culture of responsibility and solidarity.

Jodice’s striking 1992 photograph Demetra Opera 1 is being used as a symbol of the Foundation.  It shows a broken marble bust of Demetra, Greek goddess of the harvest, agriculture and fertility.  The left side of her cheek and jaw is gone and instead her face, with its off centre, dispassionate gaze, is completed by a unblemished plaster cast. The two halves are held together by a hand, perhaps the photographer’s own.

There is a tenderness about the image and the way the face is cradled.  As this blog explains:

It is a sweet gesture – an effort to repair the damage and then bring the sculpture alive. But there is something not quite right: the cast the artist made to fit the face, doesn’t quite match, so the lips don’t meet and the face as an awkward skew to it.  Perhaps it was meant for a different repair job.  Or perhaps it is simply impossible to go back.  We try to repair, to bring back the past, to make the past whole again, but like the photograph of the repair, it doesn’t quite fit.

The Foundation hopes to raise 2.5 million Euros for the Sanità over the next 10 years, which under the system of grant matching will be doubled to 5 million Euros.  Donations can be made via the website. More about the Sanità in a subsequent post.

Video

The New Napoli Shirt arrives!

Earlier this year, Kappa, the Italian sportswear company, became SSC Napoli’s new kit supplier.  The shirt for the new season, in the famous blue as befitting the colours of the Bay and of the sky overhead, was launched recently.  Kappa marked the occasion with a lovely video (no English subtitles) nicely capturing the importance of the club to the city and the passion for football (or calcio) in general.

Forza Partenopei!

A Summer poem: on the Banks of a Canal, near Naples, 1872

10 days before before he died, Seamus Heaney, the Irish poet and recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature, completed his final poem.

It was inspired by the ‘quiet beauty‘ of a picture of a Naples canal painted in 1872 by the French artist Gustave Caillebotte which hangs in the National Gallery of Ireland.  In the picture the artist ‘depicts a canal and pathway extending into the distant horizon of a flat Italian landscape.  By allowing the edges of his canvas to slice through the water and path, Caillebotte gives the scene a sense of randomness that marked a particularly modern way of seeing‘.  Heaney wrote:

Say ‘canal’ and there’s that final vowel

Towing silence with it, slowing time

To a walking pace, a path, a whitewashed gleam

Of dwellings at the skyline. World stands still.

The stunted concrete mocks the classical.

Water says, ‘My place here is in dream,

In quiet good standing. Like a sleeping stream,

Come rain or sullen shine I’m peaceable.’

Stretched to the horizon, placid ploughland,

The sky not truly bright or overcast:

I know that clay, the damp and dirt of it,

The coolth along the bank, the grassy zest

Of verges, the path not narrow but still straight

Where soul could mind itself or stray beyond.

Poem c/o Seamus Heaney, 2014.  More detail on the picture at National Gallery of Ireland.