Featured Posts

Naples Sunrise

Links to some featured posts since the start of this blog.  All comments welcome…

  • Red Wedding in the New Castle, Naples (12/11/2015) - In the heart of the dark, hulking Castel Nuovo, known locally as the Maschio Angioino (Angevin Keep), is the Hall of the Barons.  Some 28 meter high, the impressive medieval ribbed vaulted roof ‘fuses ancient Roman and Spanish late-Gothic influences‘.  The walls, bare today, were originally frescoed by Giotto in around 1330 with images of ancient […]
  • Giving a new face to the Sanità, Naples (7/26/2015) - 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 […]
  • A Summer poem: on the Banks of a Canal, near Naples, 1872 (7/13/2015) - 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 […]
  • The wildflowers of the Sicilian Spring (5/2/2015) - ‘Where are you going on holiday?’ asked an Italian friend. ‘Sicily at the end of April and the beginning of May’.  ‘Ah, just the right time for the wild flowers’. He was right.  Before the arrival of the suffocating, ‘tyrannous‘ summer heat, Spring in Sicily is when ‘the climate’s delicate; the air most sweet‘. The […]
  • Carefree Style: Jackie Kennedy in Ravello, 1962 (4/3/2015) - In August 1962, Jacqueline Kennedy holidayed in the beautiful Amalfi coast town of Ravello with her son John John, her daughter Caroline and her sister and brother.  The location had been recommended to her by the writer and distant relative Gore Vidal, a Ravello resident. Despite White House instructions that the stay should be low key, the holiday […]
  • Finding Peace in Naples (2/8/2015) - The magnificent Charterhouse and National Museum of San Martino is perched precariously on a hill high above Naples, just below the commanding fortress of Castel Sant’Elmo. Once home of Carthusian monks, expelled at the unification of Italy, the monastery complex is deceptively large with breathtaking views of the city and bay below.  Here, for over 500 […]
  • Maradona, the King of Naples (12/14/2014) - Diego Maradona’s time with SSC Napoli, from 1984 to 1992, was relatively short and ended in mob- and drug-related disgrace.  But this was the most successful period of the club’s history, which saw it win two Italian championships or Scudetti in 1987 & 1990, the Coppa Italia in 1987, the UEFA Cup in 1989 and the Supercoppa Italiana in […]
  • ‘On his last sight of Fiammetta’ – A Naples Love Story (12/2/2014) - By legend it was in the ‘huge, utterly gothic space’ of the Church of San Lorenzo Maggiore, situated in the very centre of the Centro Storico of Naples, that the 14th Century poet and writer Giovanni Boccaccio first glimpsed his muse, Fiammetta or ‘Little Flame’.  He was 21 years old at the time and had arrived in Italy’s […]
  • The Mothership has landed (11/26/2014) - An awesome picture of Naples’ Galleria Umberto I, composed from eight different photographs and assembled using Photoshop’s PhotoMerge module. Photo by Ugo Cei.
  • Saving Naples (11/14/2014) - It is sadly true that, despite the many wonders and attractions of the historic centre of Naples, a lot of the buildings in this UNESCO World Heritage Site are in a sorry state of repair.  Formerly beautiful Palazzos are run down with little sign of repair work.  Churches are locked, damp has eaten into the walls […]
  • Naples – one of Europe’s 15 Best second cities (11/13/2014) - Fodor’s Travel likes smaller European cities: When it comes to traveling across Europe, most tourists come equipped with a checklist of must-see places: London, Paris, and Rome, among others. Meanwhile, lesser-known cities remain under the radar for most travelers—but bypassing these “second cities” would be a mistake, as these destinations offer distinctive cultures and histories […]
  • The Enduring Danger of Mount Vesuvius (11/1/2014) - I am lucky to sit in an office from which I can see Vesuvius.  As the year goes by, I love to look at the volcano, symbol of Naples, a few kilometres away: sometimes with a snowy cap, sometimes with its cone obscured by a cloud, sometimes as clear as a bell in the crisp air, sometimes hidden by a sudden thunderstorm or by […]
  • Capri, September 1939 (10/30/2014) - 3 tourists eat spaghetti and drink wine in Capri on 1 September 1939.  In the background are the Faraglioni rocks. AP Photo/Hamilton Wright.
  • The Last Days of Pompeii? (10/22/2014) - I was at Pompeii again with friends yesterday, for perhaps the 5th time over the last two years.  In the late autumn sunshine, the ruins were as wonderful and evocative as ever.  The administration of the site remains dysfunctional. To be confronted, at 10 o’clock in the morning at the main entrance to a UNESCO […]
  • Caravaggio – Turbulent Genius (8/23/2014) - Michelangelo Merisi called Caravaggio arrived in Naples in 1606 on the run having killed a young man in a brawl in Rome.  His fame and radicalism as an artist preceded him and he was quickly commissioned by a group of young, charity-minded noblemen for work at the Pio Monte della Misericordia church in the Centro Storico.  The local worthies originally […]
  • Sunset over Capri (7/16/2014) - Snapped by the author whilst strolling along Lungomare on a lovely Summer’s evening.
  • 20 Reasons to Fall in Love with Naples (7/6/2014) - ‘Few Italian cities cause as many arguments as Naples. Travelers either see it as chaotic and unwelcoming or else passionately believe that the city is one of Italy’s most vibrant and unique. Almost no travelers stand in the middle. Is the dividing line drawn between those looking for a quintessentially romantic Italian experience versus those […]
  • Sunday Italian Poem: Mattina ‘Morning’ (1917) (6/29/2014) - Giuseppe Ungaretti was a leading representative of the Hermeticism school of poetry, which believed that punctuation should be erased, meaning obscured, words reduced to essentials and compositions be as brief as possible.  He wrote this in the trenches of northern Italy in 1917 and it is perhaps the most famous modern Italian poem. M’illumino d’immenso It is also a […]
  • In the Footsteps of Spartacus (5/31/2014) - Some 15 miles north of Italy is the town of Capua, situated in a bend of the slow flowing River Volturno.  The star attraction is the local Roman amphitheatre.  Now in a poor state of repair, at its height it was the second largest amphitheater in Italy after the Colosseum.  60,000 people could watch the games here in four […]
  • Why do Italians say ‘Calcio’ not ‘Soccer’? (5/29/2014) - In today’s Italian lesson, we tackled the Subjunctive.  As in English, it is used to express ‘various states of unreality such as wish, emotion, possibility, judgment, opinion, necessity, or action that has not yet occurred‘.  Unlike modern English, in which the subjunctive is hard to make out, in Italian it is a minefield for foreigners and, according […]
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