Capo Miseno, Bacoli, not far from Naples

A look back (first published 3 June 2015): my thanks to Drusilla Gillen who, in the comments at the end of the original post, provided the following information: “… the current thinking is that the children of Cleopatra and Marc Antony, first twins Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene, followed by Ptolemy Philadelphus, survived.
Cleopatra’s son by Julius Ceasar, Caesarian was a threat to Octavians inheritance, so was killed. But the others were sent to Rome and (bizarrely,) cared for by Marc Anthony’s previous wife, Octavian’s sister Octavia Minor.
Like the princes in the tower, the boys disappear from history, only Cleopatra Selene survived, appearing again, married to King Juba II of Mauritania.”

The Phraser

The light at Capo Miseno, Bácoli. The lighthouse was bombed in WWII and rebuilt in 1954 The light at Capo Miseno, Bacoli. The lighthouse was bombed in WWII and rebuilt in 1954

A couple of weeks ago, like moths to a flame, we set off by car to find the lighthouse at Capo Miseno, on the north-westerly tip of the Bay of Naples.  The dog in the back was beyond excitement.

Within a few miles he could smell the sea to our left and the fresh trees and orchards around the lakes, and down the hillsides to our right.

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The Royal Palace at Portici, Naples

A look back (first published 30 May 2015)

The Phraser

Royal hideaway in Portici, near Naples Royal hideaway in Portici, near Naples

It was a warm day and we were on an old road in a corner of what used to be a royal park.  It is now university grounds but still has that swish of palaces, intrigue and celebrity at play.

In front of us a smallish red building curved its face to catch views of Vesuvius and the sea. This, we were told, was where the king entertained his mistresses. Instantly the Italian guide had our attention.

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A look back over two years in Naples, Italy

The Bay of Naples, Italy

The Bay of Naples, Italy

Experience, memory and time frame our lives.  We exist together and are shaped by them but are unable to catch hold of any one of them … we’re like flotsam on a storm sea.

I look back at my life and know its chapters have changed me, that each has altered the book of me they belong to.  Now there’s a new chapter to add – Naples.

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Fear amongst the ceramics on the Amalfi Coast

Mural outside Industria Ceramica Avallone in Vietri sul Mare

Large tile mural by the entrance to Industria Ceramica Avallone in Vietri sul Mare

No – no foto!”  The small, elderly woman hustled through the piled plates towards us.

Non posso fare …?”  My bad Italian faltered.

No!”  Her finger flicked sternly from side to side as she halted in front of us, dark eyes flashing with suspicion.

“Who are you?”  The slow English syllables were weighted with menace.

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Book Review: The Lady Queen – The Notorious Reign of Joanna I, Queen of Naples, Jerusalem and Sicily by Nancy Goldstone

The Lady Queen by Nancy Goldstone

The Lady Queen by Nancy Goldstone

Life is full of ‘bad days’ – if you think you’re having one of them, or even a calendar full of them, this book might help to put things into perspective.  It’s a portrait of a lady whose days are potholed with treachery from the moment she’s born.

I read this book whilst in Naples, not far from the solid black towers of Castel Nuovo, or il Maschio Angioino (the Angevin Keep), where Queen Joanna (born in 1326 – died in 1382), spends much of her life.

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Lago di Patria: a walk for the dog?

A look back (first published 24 May 2015): a year on there was little sign of change at the lake: the road around its far end was worse; the abandoned hotel still gaped; and the rowers powered on. Only the water buffalo had gone … and our innocence.

The Phraser

The faded happiness of Lago di Patria The faded happiness of Lago di Patria

The pink hotel stood block-upright and silent.  Bleak windows stared from behind the flaking wall – all happiness abandoned.

Nervously we peered upwards through the car’s windscreen, enticed by the almost empty roadside parking.  Behind us, in the back, the dog bounced with impatience.

We were unsure … the dog wasn’t … so what was wrong?

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Cuma: the Greeks, the Romans, the Sibyl and the view

A look back (first published 14 May 2015): I am happy to report that this summer (2016) the Sibyl’s Cave was open and, as far as I know, it still is.

The Phraser

The blue of the view from Cuma The blue of the view from Cuma

There is an overgrown, everyday hill north of Naples known today as Cuma. It’s legendary in every sense.

We went in search of it on an early morning in late February my mind as empty as a brand new bucket.

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2015: Napoli versus Wolfsburg at the Stadio San Paolo

A look back (first published 28 April 2015): this was such a memorable night out. If you’re in Naples and you’ve never been to watch Napoli play in the Stadio San Paolo don’t hesitate, especially if there’s a big game. The city’s heart beats loudest here.

The Phraser

Napoli supporters Supporters in the Stadio San Paolo

Last Thursday evening crowds and cars streamed in one direction through Naples – towards the Stadio San Paolo.

Vfl Wolfsburg were in town and SCC Napoli had to hold its nerve.

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A day on a beach just north of Naples, Italy – with a dog in mind

A look back (first published 14 April 2015): it turned out that Django loved the beach on winter walks when dogs were welcome. Then it was often just us, occasional strays, the fishermen and the horses in training for the trotting races.

The Phraser

In winter the ‘Litorale Domitio’ near Naples is quiet. Perfect for dogs?

In late February we began to hunt for walks for our labrador due to join us in the spring after he’d spent eight months frolicking with family in the leafy parks of Copenhagen.

We fretted for his well-being in the streetwise south.

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