In search of a book in Naples, Italy

A look back: this piece was first published on 12 February 2016. I can still feel the sunshine of that walk, and the satisfaction of being able to ask for help in simple Italian. The embarrassing part is that, a year on, the book I took such trouble to hunt down is still not finished … plus I’ve discovered my weary dictionary isn’t big enough for Enzo Striano.

The Phraser

Books and Naples, Italy are old friends Books and Napoli are old friends

Step in amongst the books in this ancient city and it’s hard to avoid the big names on almost every corner. My search for just one novel was busy enough.

Start on the Lungomare and there’s the castle known, thanks to Virgil, as the Castel dell’Ovo (Castle of the Egg).

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Cuma: the Greeks, the Romans, the Sibyl and the view

A look back (first published 14 May 2015): I am happy to report that this summer (2016) the Sibyl’s Cave was open and, as far as I know, it still is.

The Phraser

The blue of the view from Cuma The blue of the view from Cuma

There is an overgrown, everyday hill north of Naples known today as Cuma. It’s legendary in every sense.

We went in search of it on an early morning in late February my mind as empty as a brand new bucket.

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In search of a book in Naples, Italy

Books and Naples, Italy are old friends

Books and Napoli are old friends

Step in amongst the books in this ancient city and it’s hard to avoid the big names on almost every corner. My search for just one novel was busy enough.

Start on the Lungomare and there’s the castle known, thanks to Virgil, as the Castel dell’Ovo (Castle of the Egg).

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Lago d’Averno – the Gates of Hell

Ducks on Lago d'Averno

Ducks on Lago d’Averno – supping at the threshold of the underworld

Some names stick, along with all the muck that goes with them; other names, that make the bones shiver, don’t budge and it makes no sense at all.

The ‘gates of hell’ near today’s Cuma is an ancient mythical name given to a lake that today is about as rattlesnake as Homer Simpson.

It was the dog that took us there first.  Someone had said Lago d’Averno would be perfect …

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Capo Miseno, Bacoli, not far from Naples

The light at Capo Miseno, Bácoli. The lighthouse was bombed in WWII and rebuilt in 1954

The light at Capo Miseno, Bacoli. The lighthouse was bombed in WWII and rebuilt in 1954

A couple of weeks ago, like moths to a flame, we set off by car to find the lighthouse at Capo Miseno, on the north-westerly tip of the Bay of Naples.  The dog in the back was beyond excitement.

Within a few miles he could smell the sea to our left and the fresh trees and orchards around the lakes, and down the hillsides to our right.

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Cuma: the Greeks, the Romans, the Sibyl and the view

The blue of the view from Cuma

The blue of the view from Cuma

There is an overgrown, everyday hill north of Naples known today as Cuma. It’s legendary in every sense.

We went in search of it on an early morning in late February my mind as empty as a brand new bucket.

Continue reading