Castel Sant’Elmo, Naples, Italy: built to last

A look back (first published on 12 June 2015): Castel Sant’Elmo is a great starting point for any visitor to Naples. Stand on its ramparts and it’s like being part of an enormous 3D map of the city and its bay.

The Phraser

The Castel Sant'Elmo Naples, Italy The Castel Sant’Elmo Naples, Italy with coat of arms of Charles V and the double-headed eagle

If you find a castle in town you know there’s been trouble … and the bigger the castle the bigger the trouble.

Bump into Castel Sant’Elmo, with Vesuvius just there, and you realise that you probably have no idea what ‘trouble’ even is.

When we visited there was trouble.

View original post 926 more words

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.

View original post 958 more words

Art with an edge – Museo Cappella Sansevero

A look back (first published 31 October 2014)

The Phraser

DSC01678I love art – not in an expert way, just in a ‘this amazes me’ way.  Two weeks ago we visited a statue that seemed to have barely stopped breathing – ‘The Veiled Christ’ in the Museo Cappella Sansevero in Naples, Italy.

It was a mini Indiana Jones of an event.

View original post 785 more words

Piazza Mercato in Naples, Italy – a forgotten witness

The Piazza del Mercato in Naples Italy - the church behind the football posts is called Santa Croce e Purgatorio and has been closed since the earthquake in 1980. This is the church that first marked the spot where Conradin was killed.

The Piazza Mercato in Naples Italy and the church of Santa Croce e Purgatorio (closed since the earthquake in 1980).

On a morning of warm rain I walked the seafront of Naples in search of Piazza Mercato, a place that used to be a nerve centre for the city.

For well over five centuries this piazza was where goods, power, and messages changed hands – it was the Facebook of its day.

Continue reading

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

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.

Continue reading

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

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.

Continue reading

Naples, Italy: the Museo Civico Gaetano Filangieri

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.

Continue reading