Saturday, March 31, 2012

MARCH 2012


03012012 A sprawling metropolis in one of the world’s most beautiful natural settings,Naples is a city of contrasts. Combining more than its fair share of Italy’s artistic and cultural riches with high levels of noise and chaos, the capital of Campania province is the kind of place where magnificent palazzi crumble beside busy roads, and a priceless Caravaggio hangs in a shabby church guarded only by a snoozing caretaker. Look one way and there’s Mount Vesuvius. Look the other, and Capri shimmers on the horizon. Above your head, washing hangs like flags between the cliff-like rows of apartments, while a Greco-Roman street remains intact underground after 2000 years. Slick Chiaia and middle-class Vomero are refuges from the anarchic alleys of Spaccanapoli, Naples’ centre. Further up the bay, the upper-crust of Neapolitan society live on Posillipo’s cliff. Head in the other direction and you reach Pompeii, that unique city of the dead. Nowhere, like Naples | Delicious
03022012 The region of Campania was an important point of intersection between the cultures of antiquity. As the center of the Greek colonial presence in mainland Italy, Campania later became a focus for Roman interest in Hellenistic culture. For educated individuals like Cicero, Seneca and Pliny the Younger, the region was associated with artistic and intellectual pursuits, but also with the pursuit of luxury and excess. The purpose of this panel is to prompt new inquiries into Campania’s distinctive multicultural identity. Campanian Cultures: Poetics, Location and Identity | rogueclassicism
03032012 The brilliant colours, the energy, the wildness, the sheer sensory overload of Naples make Palermo - until now my personal gold standard for the most attractive example of chaotic urban vitality - seem, by comparison, as orderly and restrained as Zurich. One hears stories and warnings about petty crime in Naples, but though tourists should never flash valuables, I never felt unsafe in the city. If I were staying a month in Naples, I could happily spend whole days wandering up and down the Via dei Tribunali, the lively and congested street that for part of its length follows the course of the central decumanus of the ancient city, along the route that led past the Greek agora and the Roman forum. High art is the Naples diet | Brisbane Times
03042012 Naples was the best walk of my life; it was so fun and amazing. It made me feel at home because there weren’t thousands of tourists and it wasn’t very loud. On the walk I saw markets that sold different kinds of fish from which they get from their coast. Then came time for tasting pastries at the bakery fried Graffa was so delicious it reminded me of donuts from home. I also had the chance to experience a Gothic church (Basilica di Santa Chiara) and a Baroque church (Gesù Nuovo) that were right across from each other. The difference between the two churches was very noticeable. In the Baroque church everything was so huge and fancy with detailed decoration that will take someone years to analyze. As I was walking around, I began to see beautiful graffiti everywhere. Some people may get mad about it, but to me it’s art and a way of expression. I ended up taking pictures of most of them and found a new topic that intrigued me. St. Hope travel scholarship | Context Foundation
03052012 An awesome pop song about the destruction of Pompeii. The video has lots of lava, models of body molds and dancing skeletons. As a bonus prize, we also get Budgie painted white doing interpretive dance about what it's like to have hot ash fill your mouth. Goths heart old stuff. Need I say more? Music to Dig By: Souxsie and the Banshees, 'Cities in Dust' | Archaeopop
03062012 Mezzatorre Resort & Spa is a stunning establishment situated in Forio d'Ischia, at the end of the island Ischia's San Montano Bay and within easy reach of the town of Lacco Ameno. The imposing tower and villa are surrounded by 7 hectares of Mediterranean scrub and subtropical plants and boast fabulous views of the sea, Mount Epomeo, and Vesuvius. Mezzatorre Resort & Spa Ischia | ItalyTraveller
03072012 Even in the dark we noticed that the Aquapetra Resort and Spa resembled a small village. Our dinner lasted several hours and the wine and food was excellent. The food was paired with wines made from a few of the common grapes grown in the Campania wine region. We tasted different wines made from the white grape Falanghina and the red grape Aglianico. On the next day we took a tour of the facility that included the spa area and grounds. A church, across from the check-in, provides a glimpse of the past. The spa offers many amenities such as an indoor swimming pool, a jacuzzi, sauna, bath, and a relaxation area.The resort makes for a relaxing stay and provides a base for exploring the wineries in the region. Aquapetra Resort & Spa by Terry Sullivan | Aquapetra
03082012 From the tourism point of view, Herculaneum is known for the vibrant colors of the frescoes inside some of the villas. The details are, indeed, pretty impressive. So, moving on to things that, I must admit, I find much cooler: mosaics and stonework. One of the things that I find both exhilarating and shocking about historical sites and artifacts in Italy is how close you can get to them. There are certainly some things that are too delicate to allow rough handling by the masses, but there's a surprising amount that you can not only touch, but walk on. Herculaneum: Pompeii’s mud-covered sister city | TourAbsurd
03092012 Reopening, March 8th 2012, are some long-closed sections of the remains at Stabiae – the female bath and spa area, previously closed to visitors. Pompeii – baths at Stabaie reopened | Tickitaly
03102012 The sea at Via Caracciolo in Naples is normally slow-moving at this time of year, but the waters have been made choppier this year by cranes preparing a new cliff. The world's best skippers, including the Australian sail magician, James Spithill, will face off in the knockout match race, but also in spectacular fleet regattas, with the head-to-head between boats visible throughout the city, as the hills overlying the Gulf of Naples form a natural amphitheatre. Neapolitan imagination has already been shown, with strategic spots identified on balconies and terraces to see the races close up. Sailing: Naples preparing for world showcase in America's Cup | ANSAmed
03112012 Spend an idyllic week cruising around the gorgeous Amalfi coast on your very own yacht. Bareboat Sailing Holidays has yachts for charter for those with sailing qualifications, while the rest of us can hire a skipper to do the hard work as we kick back on deck or swim in the sea. Either way, the Bay of Naples and beyond is your oyster. Drop anchor at Capri, volcanic Ischia or the other Phlegrean islands; work your way along the Amalfi coastal resorts of Sorrento, Positano and Ravello; or head north to the Pontine islands. The area is dotted with great beaches and rugged landscapes, plus top-notch nightlife for party animals. Sailing, Amalfi coast | The Guardian
03122012 The principal source is a book published in 1904 called "La Prima Repubblica Marinara d'Italia - Amalfi", written by a gentleman called Umberto Moretti. In what is described as 'il capitolo unico' (the only chapter) in the section headed 'Notes on Industry and Commerce' Moretti discusses the traditional industries of the area (both manufacture and agriculture). His first stop is with the fishing industry which brought in, among other things, coral, tuna, mackerel and swordfish which were sold in the markets in Naples and Salerno. The agricultural muscle of the area is dedicated principally to the lemon groves followed by the grape. Such was life in Amalfi | From Amalfi to Crewe - A Criscuolo Diaspora
03132012 Vegetables are sneaking onto to the dessert menu. Vegetables are sneaking onto to the dessert menu. "Eggplant and chocolate is a classic Neapolitan dessert that's existed for hundreds of years on the Amalfi coast." Dulce de Lettuce? | The Wall Street Journal
03142012 For purists, the pizza story stops with two classics. "Everything else is dross." The most ardent observer of this rigorous approach is a Neapolitan pizzeria called Da Michele. Since 1847, it has only sold pizza Marinara and, in a reckless extension of the menu after 1889, pizza Margherita. Just add parmesan: Tracing the roots of Italian food | The Independent
03152012 Gragnano is called "La Citta' della Pasta" because its history of pasta making is 500 years old. Last century, every family would make pasta using the pure water from the local springs (it is still pure, with limited calcium content) and drying it in the streets, taking advantage of the warm breeze that would flow through the main road like a channel from the mountains to the sea.There are very few pastifici left in the center of Gragnano but they no longer dry the pasta in the streets, for hygienic reasons. Pastificio Faella is the only Pastificio left in the main square, Piazza Guglielmo Marconi. Don Mario Faella told me with an authority and a passion I will never forget: pasta needs its time to rest! In fact, he believes that the drying phase is the most crucial and delicate in the production of pasta. Why is Faella the Best Artisanal Pasta in Gragnano? | Gustiamo
03162012 Caggiano is one of our favorites! This estate is beautiful (pristine vineyards, vaulted cellars, a little wine museum) and the wines are sleek and elegant. Caggiano´s Taurasi Vigna Macchia dei Goti is considered to be one of the best Taurasis in Campania, on a par with a very good Barolo. The white Fiagrè, made with Fiano and Greco, is a sexy white with a bewitching nose. Beautiful place, great wines. You can visit the local castle while in the area. Campania Wine Travel Notes - Antonio Caggiano | Cellar Tours Blog
03172012 It was Salvatore Ferragamo’s dream “to dress a customer from head to foot”, says Ferruccio, the son of the man who set up the global luxury Italian leather and fashion brand. The latest venture is into fine jewellery, launched late last year, and perhaps the culminating step of Salvatore’s vision. Salvatore Ferragamo was a pioneer who in 1911, at the age of just 13, set up shop in his home town of Bonito, south of Naples. When Salvatore died in 1960 he was still only making ladies’ shoes and the rest of the growth of the company was down to his family. That Ferragamo should enter the largely unbranded world of jewellery makes sense: the strong look of this Italian house lends itself to jewellery, and product extension is how luxury companies grow from shoes to fragrances to fashion. Ferragamo: Fulfilling father’s dream of dressing from top to toe | Financial Times
03182012 Napoli isn’t Napoli if you didn’t visit a classic tailor. Invited by one of the best I found my way thru the narrow streets to a small square, ringing the bell of the house of Gino Cimmino. The first room is the fitting room with rows of fabric samples hanging down the walls between a few yellowed images of past style icons. The second room is the tailor room. Here, all the Gino Cimmino suits are made end send out to customers around the globe. Gino Cimmino started at the age of 14 at one of Naples’ tailors as his apprentice. When he turned 23 he decided to start on his own, and since than establish himself among the great couturiers of Naples. It’s inspiring to see a craftsman working in this sober workshop 3 stores high somewhere in the centre of Napoli. Sartoria di Gino Cimmino | Anothersomething
03192012 Alicia Frankovich’s The Opposite of Backwards (2008) involves the artist hanging from the five-story exterior of Galleria Annarumma404 in Naples. Unannounced, this gesture, so slim and formless, relies on you—her audience—to add value; even as I write this document, given that none of us could have ever been there, except by chance encounter. Random Entrant and the Force of Failure. | image and text
03202012 Starting from the iconography of Our Lady of Sorrows, I photographed old ladies in their own house at Quadrelle (AV), party tablecloth becomes canceling intimate space and common knives are converted into symbolic ornament. Forever And Ever | Saurin Natalia
03212012 I like discovery. I get excited over good wines from obscure places made from grape varieties I don’t recognize. This can make me insufferable at tastings, because I’m also pretty bad at hiding my enthusiasm. Vestini Campagna, Kajanero, Terre del Volturno 2010 is the kind of wine I get enthusiastic about. This Italian red is a blend of Pallagrello Nero, Casavecchia, Pizzutella and Aglianico grapes. It’s on the bold side, with cherry and spice notes dominating. There is enough power in the tannins that this novel but well-made wine can easily stand up to roast meats, strong cheeses or other hearty foods. Where to Go For a Torta | The Lo-Down
03222012 Lucio Mastroberardino was in Portland recently to promote the unique terroir of his homeland. Mastroberardino is the chief winemaker at Terredora di Paolo, the only Campania winemaker whose wines all are estate-grown and -bottled. (That doesn't make them "better," necessarily, but it does make me feel a closer connection to the whole of their being.) Mastroberardino dispelled the notion that Campania fits a southern Italy stereotype of "hot, dry, flat." Southwest coast of Italy produces sublime wines | Portland Press Herald
03232012 Each summer, the treacherous coastal road in Italy linking picturesque Sorrento with postcardy Positano is jammed with cars and buses bringing tourists through the fragile hill towns of the Amalfi Coast. But just south of Amalfi is Cilento National Park. The white sand beaches here are quiet and the sea is crystalline — two things you won’t find in Amalfi. The Anti-Amalfi | T Magazine
03242012 Positano Italy. That’s where I want to be. | Pic Saga
03252012 The existence of the Blue Grotto was revealed in August 1826 by the German writer August Kopisch, who described its extraordinary beauty. Since then the Blue Grotto has become the emblem of the island of Capri; but the enchantment of this place goes back further in time, when it was well known by the Romans, as proved by the antique statues which were found in the Grotto.This discovery, the remains of an ancient landing place and the work on an underground tunnel, create an image of a natural cavern adorned by statues: a nymphaeum built around the intense and brilliant blue of the sea which still today fascinates its visitors.The grotto was known to the locals under the name of Gradola, after the nearby landing place of Gradola, but it was avoided because it was said to be inhabited by witches and monsters. Blue Grottos of Capri | Live Fabulous
03262012 In my imagination, there is plenty going on in the garden that points to capricious behaviour. Just look at the two characters in the scene above. Balzac must have read the mind of the Classical Roman in the background who appears to be confounded by the modern-day woman sharing his part of the Garden of Augustus. Capricious Anacapri Garden | My Garden Haven
03272012 If one can sometimes compare a biography to a novel, “A Book of Secrets” reads like a series of linked short stories. At its heart it weaves together the lives of several not-especially-well-known women, around whom more famous men (Lord Randolph Churchill, Auguste Rodin, D. H. Lawrence and E. M. Forster among them) sometimes revolved. Place is a resonant character in “A Book of Secrets.” Much of the action revolves around the palatial Villa Cimbrone, located on a hill above the Italian village of Ravello, where many of these women visited. Mr. Holroyd refers to it, a bit melodramatically, as “a place of fantasy that seems to float in the sky,” a spot that “answers the need for make-believe in all our lives.” In the Fast Company of Women on the Edge | The New York Times
03282012 Sant'Angelo on the Italian island of Ischia, which served as the fictitious seaside village of Mongibello in "The Talented Mr. Ripley." Must-see movie Location: Bagno Antonio beach |
03292012 I struggle to stay still for a whole week. I remember trying to have a relaxing holiday on Ischia, an island off the coast of Naples, and if I was lying by the pool, I wanted to play table tennis; if I was playing tennis, I wanted to be by the pool. A holiday that combines all three is fantastic for me. My Life In Travel: Jake Humphrey, BBC sports presenter | The Independent
03302012 When I was in Italy I had a chance to see the oldest image and representation of an aquatic athlete in Greek art which dates back to I think it's 500 BC and this was the painting of the Tomb of the Diver in a city called Paestum today but in the olden days when it was a Greek colony in Italy which is about 85 kilometers south of Naples, it was known as Poseidonia, which was named after the god Poseidon, the god of the sea. And not only did I find some incredible old swimming pools in this town but I really went to see the Tomb of the Diver and the Tomb of the Diver is an artwork that's on a four-sided tomb of limestone slabs and the roof of it is the one that contains this really incredible painting. Ancient Greek Painting Details Early History of Aquatic Sports | SwimmingWORLD
03312012 Paestum began its life as a Greek city, and the original circular civic meeting space is preserved, though later built over by a Roman building. This is where early democracy of sorts played out over 2500 years ago. In contrast, the amphitheatre built by the Romans illustrates the change in government as the city became more and more Latinized. Paestum #4: A Circle and an Ellipse | Saint Louis Patina