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A beautiful Spring Sunday in Naples

The high sun, the yellow tinge of the stone, the steep descent of the vico, the washing at the windows and the sea of the Bay beyond. You couldn’t be anywhere but Vomero, Naples, as seen today by my friend Christian.

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The true face of Naples

NaplesLondon-based photographer Sam Gregg, who is particularly interested in ‘marginalised and dispossessed communities‘, has recently published a series of unromantic, unflinchingly honest, and insightful pictures of life in the city titled See Naples and Die.

Predominantly shot in two of the city’s most deprived working class neighbourhoods, the Spanish Quarter and Rione Sanità, Gregg says his photos are:

‘A documentation of the spirit and vibrancy of the people who live in these areas, even in the face of abject adversity. They are fiercely proud of their heritage and emblematic of what it means to be a true Neapolitan’.

A short interview with Sam by the creative website ‘It’s Nice That’ is here.  More about the locals trying to change the public face of Rione Sanità here.

 

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‘Paradise doesn’t exist’!

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This well-executed, politically-minded graffiti made me smile when I snapped it on Saturday in a back alley near the Museo Diocesano in the Centro Storico in Naples.  The skeletal figures are taken from the workers on strike in the famous painting Il Quarto Stato – The Fourth Estate (1901) by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo which is in the Museo del Novecento, Milan.

More on Naples graffiti, love it or loath it, here.  There is even a Napoli Street Art Twitter feed you can follow here.

To Evening (1803): A Sunday Italian poem

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Ugo Foscolo, an Italian patriot, pre-Romantic and atheist, died in exile in London.  After the Risorgimento his remains were returned to Florence.  His poem To Evening (Alla Serra) captures his restlessness, his longing for the peace that evening brings to the world, whilst foreshadowing his eventual death that will soothe his pains away.

Perhaps because you are the image
of the fatal quiet, your coming is so dear to me,
O evening!  And whether gay summer clouds
and serene zephyrs court you
Or whether down from the snowy air
you bring long, restless nights to the world,
Always you descend invoked.
and you softly take hold of the secret paths of my heart

You cause me to wander with my thoughts upon the traces
That lead to eternal nothingness; and meanwhile
this evil time flies, and with it goes the swarms
Of cares with which it is destroying itself and me;
And the while I gaze upon your peacefulness
that warrior spirit which roars in me is sleeping.

Photograph of the Mezzogiorno partly under cloud, with lightning over Naples, by the US Astronaut Scott Kelly who is spending a year in space in the International Space Station.