Beautiful but exhausted – the little lodge on the lake in Bacoli, by Naples, Italy

We visited this little lodge last August, towards the end of our two years near Naples, Italy. It was evening when we arrived. The heat had gone, the light bounced off the lake, and wedding parties posed on the bridge.

The Phraser

La Casina Vanvitelliana in Lago Fusaro, Campania, Italy La Casina Vanvitelliana in Lago Fusaro, Campania, Italy

If I had the money to save a building of all those that I have seen this is the one that I would save.

We saw it for the first time this summer – small, elegant, corroded and propped up; its perfect proportions reflected in the blue green lake as the sun went down.

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Naples, Italy: a towering view, and a night of art in a royal palace

Last June we had an eccentric, wonderful evening trip up the ‘red tower’ in Naples, Italy, followed by a night visit to the art gallery at Capodimonte. I wrote about it then but here’s a repaint … better, I hope.

The Phraser

The eye-catching 'La Torre di Rò' (Torre del Palasciano) in Naples, Italy The eye-catching ‘La Torre di Rò’ (Torre del Palasciano) in Naples, Italy

Some evenings unwrap like the best parcels – one surprise at a time.  This is one of those evenings.

We’re part of another Curiosity Tour of Naples.  I’d signed us up for two reasons – the first was to visit the old red tower I’d seen above Naples so often; and the second was to show our visiting artists the Museo di Capodimonte.

The tower is part of our lives here in Naples.  We see it on every trip along the tangenziale from the airport at Capodichino.  It stands tall and mysterious above the dark green of the bosco di Capodimonte.  It is an exotic exclamation mark above a city outlined in rectangles.

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Naples, Italy: a visit to Rione Sanità – skulls, scars, Totò and a grand palazzo

I visited Sanità in Naples, Italy last summer. Our guide was young and local, and the morning she gave us felt personal … as though, thanks to her, the city had allowed us a little closer to its secrets. It was an excellent tour.

The Phraser

Mural in rione Sanità in Naples, Italy Mural in rione Sanità in Naples, Italy – the district (rione) was known as Sanità originally because of the health benefits of living there.

The possibility of progress brings pride and hope, but it takes courage to guard the flame.

No-one needs to tell this to Sanità.  The district, ridden over by a road and tucked out of sight at the back of the city centre in Naples, is building a future for its children one day at a time. One bright gleam of opportunity shines around Sanità’s collection of treasures.

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Naples, Italy: the Museo Civico Gaetano Filangieri

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.

The Phraser

The Museo Civico Gaetano Filangieri in Naples, Italy The Museo Civico Gaetano Filangieri in Naples, Italy

The best treasure comes in chests, compact and crowded, that brim with what’s been most precious … and there should always be scars.

The Museo Filangieri is a chest like this.

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Madre: the museum of contemporary art in Napoli

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.

The Phraser

Internal courtyard of the Museo Madre in Naples, Italy with art by Mimmo Paladino on the roof Internal courtyard of the Museo Madre in Naples, Italy with art by Mimmo Paladino on the roof

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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The Villa Pignatelli, two dogs, and a carriage museum in Naples, Italy

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.

The Phraser

Villa Pignatelli in Naples, Italy Villa Pignatelli in Naples, Italy

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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The Certosa di San Martino: the jewel at the top of Naples

A look back (first published on 13 December 2015): I have made quite significant changes to this post – the skeleton is the same as the original but I have replaced much of the Angevin history with photographs. By the end of our two years in Naples I had visited this charterhouse so often that my library of photographs is more than my blog can hold. I hope you enjoy them, and that one day you’ll be able to visit the Certosa di San Martino yourself, because I know that my camera and I can’t do it justice.

The Phraser

The Certosa di San Martino and Castel Sant'Elmo dominate the Naples skyline The Certosa di San Martino and Castel Sant’Elmo dominate the Naples skyline

There are two chunks of prime real estate in Naples, two properties that swagger largest when you look up at the city from the sea.  They’ve been together for centuries.

The highest of the two is Castel Sant’Elmo – the star-shaped fortress that looks like it’s been carved out of rock by a gifted sledgehammer.  Right next to it is the Certosa di San Martino, proud when seen from below, but less obvious when approached by road.

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