Napoli’s tangenziale – fine if you can find it

A look back (first published on 24 August 2014)

The Phraser

Naples, two thirds of the way down Italy’s west coast, is the country’s third largest city with a population of 2.373 million. It sprawls up from the bay at its feet and is separated from the Amalfi Coast by Vesuvius and Pompeii. Centuries of geologists, historians, artists, and adventurers have all visited its treasures and each has left their mark on a city that is now tourist-wise and wary. This summer we called in – our first encounter of substance was with the tangenziale.

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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.

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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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A ‘sagra’ on an old Roman road north of Naples, Italy

Bees swarming at the 'Sagra delle antiche taverne'

Bees swarming at the ‘Sagra delle antiche taverne’

Sagre‘, and this was our first, are the right-in-the-thick-of-it festival celebrations that usually revolve around food.

Originally the meaning was linked to churches and the Latin word sacrum – holy.  Now they are still about expectation and celebration, but often with a local speciality centre stage rather than the church.

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