Naples:life,death &
                Miracle contact: Jeff Matthews

© Jeff Matthews  entry  2016

aples Miscellany p. 64 (start mid-July, 2016)
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(July 15 - Photo of the Day 40) - This is the restored statue of Parthenope atop the San Carlo Theater in Naples. It is the work of Antonio Niccolini (1772-1850), the prodigious Florentine designer and architect who spent much of his life in Naples in the employment of the royal family; he is the one who restored the San Carlo theater in 1816 after a disastrous fire and whose many other works in Naples include the construction of the villa Floridiana. This from album 3 at this link. Click here for a larger image and a link to a short entry
on the restoration of the statue.

(July 17 - Photo of the Day 41) - Nice morning, that's all. Cooler weather and low humidity for a few days have cleared the air and provided this view of the bay and the island of Capri. The two large motor yachts behind the sailboats are the same as the ones shown here.
(Click here to compare with a similar view just below on this same page.)      

(July 18 - Photo of the Day 42) - Not Naples, but Sardinia; that's close enough (Sardinia index is here). This photo is of the Tomb of the Giants at Su Monte è S'Apre (just south of Olbia on the east coast of the island), one of a number of such group tombs from the Nuragic age (1600-1000 BC). The dead were buried in the covered central corridor (on the left). (Click here for a general page on the megalithic structures of Sardinia.

(July 19 - Photo ofthe  Day 43) -I'd say, "Get thee to a nunnery," but this place is for men—the 1000-year-old hermitage of S. Michele di Montenero, 30 km/20 miles east of Salerno in the Picentine mountains. In an age so averse to solitude, it's refreshing to know that such places still cling to mountainsides; it is wedged into a shell-like hollow 1000 meters (3000 feet) a.s.l. on the side of a cliff overlooking the Trigento river valley. It took friends of mine from Napoli Underground (NUg) three attempts to find it. Click here for the full story of the hermitage and for a link to an expanded account on the NUg website of their entire expedition.             (photo: NUg)

(July 20 - Photo of the Day 44)
- The San Martino hill seen from the roof and northeastern turret of the portside Angevin Fortress. The white building in front on the hill is the S. Martino museum, the structure behind that is the adjacent Sant'Elmo fortress, and the large green area below it all is the San Martino vineyard. The right-hand red roof at the bottom of the photo is the Naples city hall. 
This album 3 at this link. Click here for a larger image and a link to an entry on the San Martino hill.

(July 21 - Photo of the Day 45) - This is the Villa Cimbrone in Ravello. If you watch enough old movies, you may see it sooner or later (even if it's called something else). The history of the villa parallels that of Ravello and of the entire Amalfi coast; that is, sumptuous villas, including this one, started cropping up on the coast a thousand years ago. Villa Cimbrone became a luxury hotel hosting some of the juiciest love-affairs and most famous personalities of the 20th century, including E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, the Duke and Duchess of Kent and Winston Churchill. It was the setting for the famous elopement of actress Greta Garbo and conductor Leopold Stokowsky. This album 3 at this link. Click here for a larger image and a link to entries on the Villa Cimbrone and Ravello.

(July 22 - Photo of the Day 46) - This is one of the most remarkable pieces of modern statuary in Italy—the so-called Christ of Maratea. It is on a hill overlooking the Gulf of Policastro as well as the town of Maratea, itself, in the Basilicata region of Italy, just past the boundary of Campania as the coast starts its long journey to the south. The statue was designed by Bruno Innocenti (1906-1996) and was finished in 1965. It is made of concrete with a facing of white Carrera marble and stands 22 meters/72 feet high. By virtue of spectacular location, subject matter and size, the statue is reminiscent of the one that “everyone knows”—the Redeemer atop Mt. Corcovado in Rio De Janeiro. There are important differences, however.  The complete story and a view of the whole scene from across the bay are here. (This photo © is not in my albums but comes to me from William C. Henderson,  by whose kind permission it appears on this page.)

(July 23 - Photo of the Day 47)
- Every once in a while, not just old-timers but even quite a few new-timers, convene and get all misty eyed about the good old days before the unification of Italy (1861), back when Naples meant the kingdom of Naples and the Bourbon dynasty ruled the roost. This poster is from a few years ago. It advertises the "XV Traditionalist Conference of the Most Faithful City of Gaeta" and is dedicated to Maria Sofia of Bourbon, Bavarian-born princess and then the last queen of Naples, certainly one of the most fascinating members of any European royal family, ever. The captions on the left read: the Queen, the rebel, the woman of the south. The backdrop shows the fortress of Gaeta, where she and her troops made their "last stand"
in early 1861. This photo is from album 3 at this link. Click here for a larger image and a link to an extensive entry on her life.

(July 24 - Photo of the Day 48) - The Baia Castle is at the extreme western end of the gulf of Naples. It is built on centuries of earlier structures going back at least to ancient Rome. What we see here is an entire remake from the 1500s under viceroy Toledo. From his time until the unification of Italy (1861) it was a major bulwark protecting the western approaches to the gulf. Today it houses the Museum of the Campi Flegrei and manages the impressive underwater Roman ruins just off-shore. This photo is not in the regular photo albums (available here). See this link for a map of the area and the entry on the castle and museum.

(July 25 - Photo of the Day 49)
- This is an interior shot of the main post office. The building is a good example of Fascist-era architecture and design of the 1930s in Naples, a sort of monolithic Art Deco style that was termed Fascist Rationalism. The building was opened in 1936.
This album 3 at this link. Click here for a larger image and a link to the entry (with more photos) on the post office.

(July 26 - Photo of the Day 50) - Comparison & Contrast, if you like that sort of thing. This photo is taken from the exact same spot as the second photo from the top of this page. The top photo was taken at dawn; this one at sunset.

(July 27 - Photo of the Day 51) -
This unusual building
, at least for Naples, is named the Corte dei Leoni (Court of the Lions). There is a stone plaque embedded in the façade that reads 1922 in Roman numerals; it also names the Neapolitan architect, Adolphus Avena (using the Latinized version of "Adolfo") (1860-1937), one of the foremost exponents of "Liberty" (Art Nouveau) architecture in Naples, although this pseudo-Renaissance villa is somewhat of an exception. Beyond the architecture, the villa is said to be haunted! People take that stuff seriously around here. This photo is from album 3 at this link. Click here for a larger image and a link to an entry with all the spooky details.

(July 28 - Photo of the Day 52) -
The 1964 plan to create a new Civic Center was a radical one for Naples, marking the first effort at true skyscraper technology. The Centro Direzionale follows the 1982 design of prominent Japanese architect, Kenzo Tange, whose work includes the urban plan for Tokyo in 1960 and, in Italy, the designs for the Bologne Civic Center and Fair Grounds in 1975. The Naples Centro Direzionale covers more than one square kilometer set in the Poggioreale section of the city near the central train station.
This album 1 at this link. Click here for a larger image and link to an entry on the Centro Direzionale that includes further photography.

(July 28 - Photo of the Day 53) -  The Campania region of Italy has three gulfs: the gulf of Naples at the top and then as you move south, the gulfs of Salerno and then of Policastro. We smote the sounding furrows (if you don't count the sails and engine) for a 90-nautical-mile/166 km voyage from Naples to Scario at the beginning of the gulf of Policastro. (Details of that trip are here.) There is a short straight coastline, a spur, on the home stretch, where time itself just disappears. It's a big beautiful stretch of nothing but high cliffs and some coastal caves near Camerota. The caves, such as this one, are of extreme interest to anthropologists because they show very early signs of human habitation.

(July 29 - Photo of the Day 54) -
This is one of the two so-called "Russian horses" in Naples. Actually, there is nothing "so-called" about them. They are the real thing
—the statues were originally two of the four on the Anichkov bridge over the Fontanka river in St. Petersburg. Czar Nicolas I gave them away as gifts: two went to Prussian King Frederick William IV and are still in the Heinrich von Kleist park in Berlin. The other two came to Naples as a gift to Ferdinand II in 1846.

This photo is from album 3 at this link. Click here for a larger image and link to a complete entry on the statues, including a large lithograph of the Anichov bridge that shows the statues that replaced the originals.

(July 30 - Photo of the Day 55) - These columns are an example of Norman-Arab architecture. They are on the premises of the Villa Rufolo in Ravello. Such architecture is very common on Sicily, for example, but much less common farther north. (There is an extensive entry on "The Arab Influence on the Italian Renaissance" at this link.) This photo is from album 3 at this link. Click here for a larger image and links to articles on Ravello and the yearly festival.

(July 31 - Photo of the Day 56) -  This is the cyprus grove on the grounds of the church of the Madonna of the Cypresses near the town of Fontegreca not far from Caserta in the mountains of the Matese regional park, an area that contains the highest karst lake in Italy (image of that lake is here). The complete story, with additional photography, of the grove and church is here.

This is THE END of Naples Miscellany p. 64.

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