Fireworks – part of life and death in the south of Italy

A look back (first published on 1 August 2015): the heat last summer in the area around Naples, Italy, was severe, and with it came terrible accidents in the region’s fireworks factories.

The Phraser

Fireworks over the Bay of Naples Fireworks over the Bay of Naples

This summer has been a terrible one for the firework makers of southern Italy.  In a few months there have been explosions in three factories – two of them lethal.

You might think it’s a brutal cost for such fleeting wonder, but here, on the edge of the Bay of Naples, life is never steady or predictable, and the instability and flamboyance of the firework suits it well.

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Fireworks boom around the Bay of Naples

A look back (first published on 6 January 2015)

The Phraser

The lone bright light in the left third of the picture is the Mt Vesuvius Observatory.  It is minutes before the end of 2014. The lone bright light in the left third of the picture is the Mt Vesuvius Observatory. It is minutes before the end of 2014.

It was cold and seconds off midnight.  A sub-zero wind fleeced coats, squeezed eyeballs and jumped camera shots into shaky blurs.  Plenty of reason to go indoors but none of us did.

The view from our hill of steeply barked pines was incredible.  We could see right across the night to the lights on the opposite shore of this mythical bay.

We stamped frozen feet as we stood suspended between geography, history, and two calendar years – Vesuvius to our front, Roman remains beneath and behind us, and Naples about to mark the annual switch.

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Fireworks – part of life and death in the south of Italy

Fireworks over the Bay of Naples

Fireworks over the Bay of Naples

This summer has been a terrible one for the firework makers of southern Italy.  In a few months there have been explosions in three factories – two of them lethal.

You might think it’s a brutal cost for such fleeting wonder, but here, on the edge of the Bay of Naples, life is never steady or predictable, and the instability and flamboyance of the firework suits it well.

Continue reading

Fireworks boom around the Bay of Naples

The lone bright light in the left third of the picture is the Mt Vesuvius Observatory. It is minutes before the end of 2014.

The lone bright light in the left third of the picture is the Mt Vesuvius Observatory. It is minutes before the end of 2014.

It was cold and seconds off midnight.  A sub-zero wind fleeced coats, squeezed eyeballs and jumped camera shots into shaky blurs.  Plenty of reason to go indoors but none of us did.

The view from our hill of steeply barked pines was incredible.  We could see right across the night to the lights on the opposite shore of this mythical bay.

We stamped frozen feet as we stood suspended between geography, history, and two calendar years – Vesuvius to our front, Roman remains beneath and behind us, and Naples about to mark the annual switch.

Continue reading