Saint Michael the Archangel,
With your light, enlighten us.
Under your wings, protect us.
With your sword, defend us.
With your power, strengthen us.
With your love, impassion us.
Picture: Abbazia San Michele, Procida
Vesuvius, Posillipo, Nisida and Capo Miseno today in the mist from the old Bourbon prison on Procida.
The English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley was in Naples from 29 November 29 1818 until 28 February 1819. He was at a low ebb: he was ill and estranged from his wife Mary over the death earlier in the year of his daughter Clara. His first wife, Harriet Westbrook, and Mary Shelley’s half sister, Fanny Inlay, had both committed suicide and his two children by Harriet had been taken off him by the courts. His friends had turned against him and his poetry was neglected by the public and condemned by the critics. And he was plagued by financial and personal problems. The beauty of the Bay of Naples could not lift his mood and the depressive tone of this poem reflects this.
‘The sun is warm, the sky is clear,
The waves are dancing fast and bright,
Blue isles and snowy mountains wear
The purple noon’s transparent might,
The breath of the moist earth is light,
Around its unexpanded buds;
Like many a voice of one delight,
The winds, the birds, the ocean floods,
The City’s voice itself, is soft like Solitude’s.
I see the Deep’s untrampled floor
With green and purple seaweeds strown;
I see the waves upon the shore,
Like light dissolved in star-showers, thrown:
I sit upon the sands alone,—
The lightning of the noontide ocean
Is flashing round me, and a tone
Arises from its measured motion,
How sweet! did any heart now share in my emotion.
The very beautiful Corricella harbour on the small island of Procida.
The setting for the film Il Postino, Corricella is a photographer’s dream; a working harbour of fishing boats, small pastel-coloured houses, no cars, deep blue skies and a few simple cafes along the water’s edge. For lunch, take the 1300 ferry from Pozzuoli and you can sit down at just after two o’clock for a leisurely meal of assorted, sparklingly fresh shell fish, pasta with fresh anchovies and tomatoes and an assortment of fried fish. After a carafe of ‘vigorous’ white wine and a glass of homemade limoncello, you can catch the 1700 ferry back to the mainland.
We always eat at ‘Vincenzo’s’ or Bar Graziella. Simple, with white plastic chairs set under wide umbrellas, the charismatic eponymous owner is a local legend and always dressed in a white singlet. He was a part time film actor and inside the restaurant, an old fisherman’s cave, there are plenty of photos of Vincenzo with various celebrities who have visited his bar.