We thought it would be obvious …

A look back (first published 25 November 2014): I think this piece should have gone under the heading “In Search of Vesuvius” because that is how it begins.

The Phraser

Vesuvius from the Castell dell-Ovo Vesuvius from the Castell dell’Ovo

We should have known better – nothing is obvious about Vesuvius.

The volcano has sat across the bay from us all summer – big, blue and balmy.  It reclines like some artist’s prop, a balance to the curve of sea and islands, a backdrop for the scuttle of life on its slopes and down to the shore.

It looks benign, the perfect place for an afternoon stroll, perhaps even a villa or two.

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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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