This is a look back at a post written at the end of May, 2016. It’s about a small museum in Naples, Italy whose founder sought to save the skills and treasures of craftsmen before they were buried by the Industrial Revolution. There is care and pride in every detail.
Love – the elusive glue that helps us stay together in ways we still don’t understand. It’s something that most of us come across at some point in our lives if we’re lucky … unless we come to Naples, Italy, and then it’s everywhere.
I wrote this piece in April 2016 about the richness of the music in Naples. This is an updated version – improved I hope – with a range of YouTube links at the end.
History makes music … it carves out life’s edges for the musicians to find.
Little wonder then that Naples, full of passion and secrets, is carpeted with song, with great singers and orchestras, and with the drift of the mandolin, of the saxophone and of jazz.
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Music reaches into our memories and emotions, it filters through our brains to lift us to a new state of mind. It allows us to be more … and it allows us to remember.
In old churches, empty or full, there is space built to catch the echoes and harmonies of sacred music. It flows in careful patterns up the pillars, through and around the arches, on into the rafters and beyond … and it takes a part of us with it, it frees us from below.
I wrote this piece in March 2016. It gives the history of San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples, and covers the storm that raged over the threat to the city’s custody of the saint.
A threat has been made to the heart of an old city, to a unique relationship between the people and their saint. The partnership has lasted through centuries of invasion, violence, disease and volcanic turbulence … but now bureaucracy wants its say.
The challenge is to the arrangements in place for the care of the patron saint of Naples, San Gennaro, and his glittering collection of treasure.
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This piece, first published in April 2016, was written after my first visit to the Madre in Naples. I loved the museum’s calm space, the range of its exhibits … and its roof terrace.
Art is a place to be, a place that tries to reach us, provoke us. It swallows the rules, the clocks, the to and fro, and waits for us to respond.
Much of Naples itself is art – ancient, modern, faded, alive – but it does not have the quiet, the spaces between, that the Madre brings to its displays. This is the luxury of a visit to the Madre, the chance to leave the hectic city and step into its calm.
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A look back (first published 9 March 2016): the Villa Pignatelli – owned by the Actons, the Rothschilds, and the Pignatellis – is now a museum and, together with its carriage display, well worth a visit if you’re lucky enough to be in Chiaia in Napoli.
This villa – white and recently restored – sits in the lap of one of the most crowded cities in Europe. It has the blue sea to its front, colour behind, and is wrapped in an exclusive coat of green.
Its striking, classical profile is very different to the buildings that now surround it.
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