Sea cats around the Bay of Naples, Italy

I published this post on The Phraser at the end of February 2016. February is a grand time to be on the Bay of Naples. The sun might not always be there, and it might be chilly, but there’s always coffee and plenty to explore … plus, of course, you’re bound to bump into a cat.

The Phraser

By the old fishing harbour in Pozzuoli, near Naples, Italy By the old fishing harbour in Pozzuoli, near Naples, Italy

Last week a bonny, blond portrait painter came to stay.  We took her to see the sights: old fishing harbours; castles; artworks; views; and we fended off the men … but it was the cats that caught her eye.

I looked where she looked – this is for her.

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A day in the sky on the island of Capri

The island of Capri viewed from Castel Sant'Elmo in Naples, Italy

The island of Capri viewed from Castel Sant’Elmo in Naples, Italy

Two years of knowing and not-knowing; two years of a one-sided fascination – it may never have become anything else if it hadn’t been for a friend.

Her invitation to spend the weekend with her at home on the island of Capri was a gift … but we had a problem.

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Ferry trip from Pozzuoli to Ischia and back

A look back (first published 24 July 2015): the Bay of Naples is so crammed with history and legend it’s hard to know where to start – this is an attempt.

The Phraser

Ferry to Ischia with Procida in the foreground Ferry to Ischia with Procida in the foreground

Islands are impossible to resist.   Sit for just one pizza on the seafront in the Bay of Naples and you’ll feel the pull. Capri is the big magnet but swing your eyes to the other side, away from the Sorrentine Peninsular to the opposite end of the bay, and you see Ischia with little Procida tucked between it and the mainland.

Our trip was to Ischia by ferry – a brief journey to join an afternoon sail.

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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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Ferry trip from Pozzuoli to Ischia and back

Ferry to Ischia with Procida in the foreground

Ferry to Ischia with Procida in the foreground

Islands are impossible to resist.   Sit for just one pizza on the seafront in the Bay of Naples and you’ll feel the pull. Capri is the big magnet but swing your eyes to the other side, away from the Sorrentine Peninsular to the opposite end of the bay, and you see Ischia with little Procida tucked between it and the mainland.

Our trip was to Ischia by ferry – a brief journey to join an afternoon sail.

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The Villa Comunale in Naples, Italy: and Carducci

The Villa Comunale in Naples

The Villa Comunale in Naples

It was months before I noticed him.  I drove past him every day  … and yet I never looked left.  There were two reasons – the first was fear, new-to-the-road fear, and the second was the light of the early sun on the sea.

The fear of the drive into Naples has almost gone, and with it the bolts of shock that thumped through my heart each time I joined the traffic into the city.  Now, my spasmed eyeballs have relaxed and there’s time to enjoy the view.

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Pozzuoli – harbour, amphitheatre and Solfatara

Ferry in the Bay of Naples

Ferry in the Bay of Naples near Pozzuoli

Pozzuoli, some 15km west of Naples, should be an ordinary, busy ferry port … but it’s not and never has been.

Part of what makes it unique is that it can’t stop moving.

La Solfatara, a crater formed some four thousand years ago, just up the hill from Pozzuoli’s harbour, is a vivid example of what’s going on.

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