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The Kingdom, intact, became a colony of Spain.

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Naples was now no longer the capital of its own realm. In a few year's time, with Charles V of Spain crowned Holy Roman Emperor, heir to the Caesars and Charlemagne, it would be part of an empire as it had been more than a thousand years earlier. True, the East had fallen and what was left of Christian Empire was all in the West, but after 'West' meant something monumentally different in human history.

The Empire had shifted, spreading from Europe to the Americas and on to the Pacific. The age of Empires on which "the sun never sets" had arrived. Naples is secret even when it is manifest, let alone in its most cursed, metropolitan, dirty places. But it is always a dirt that adds civilization to civilization, a "filth" that ennobles man. Naples is almost years old: imagine how many things you saw? And so how many things do you know, know, want, satisfy, show? Ladies and gentlemen: Naples, the best sex you can do! Renoir was a French painter and a leader in the development of the Impressionist style.

Other than that, Renoir certainly needs no introduction from me. I note simply that he traveled in Italy between and In Naples he visited the National Museum and the ruins of Pompeii, later making mention of his admiration for the frescoes there. Your eyes should start to hurt if you look at this too long, exactly as they would if you stood at the spot in person and stared out at the bay. When I first looked at it, I thought it had been painted from the area along the sea approximately where the Villa Comunale ends and before you get to Mergellina.

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Then it occurred to me that the coast road I was thinking of, via Caracciolo, didn't exist until The view was probably painted from farther east, the old Santa Lucia road. That road still exists but no longer has the unobstructed view of the bay it had in That would also let Renoir off the hook for leaving the Castel dell'Ovo out of the picture; it would have been behind him. Michelangelo's sketch of V. ColonnaMaybe I should be upset at the good folks at the fine New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, one of the great on-line reference works. They have listed the Italian poet dare I say "poetess"?

Vittoria Colonna as Vittorio Colonna. Vittori-O is a man's name. Vittori-A is the feminine form —you know, the weaker vessel. If it's just a typo, ok, get Attila the Nun to whack the proof-reader across the knuckles with a ruler. Or —this is perhaps a bit too clever—maybe it's sneaky obeisance to Michelangelo's poem to Vittoria that starts,. Heady praise, indeed, coming from the man. Michelangelo's sketch of her is shown here, left. In any event, Victoria in English Colonna was born in and died in In the meantime, she made the friendship of Michelangelo, Ariosto, Sannazzaro, Aretino, and others, composing along the way a body of poetry that would one day have her hailed as the "first great woman poet in the Italian language.

Vittoria and Ferrante were married in the fine Aragonese castle on the island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples and lived there for a number of years. Ferrante was one of Charles V's generals at the great battle of Pavia in , the climax of decades of war between France and the Holy Roman Empire for control of the Italian peninsula. The battle proved to be the last stand for knights in shining armor, as the French knights were annihilated by the new harquebus design of hand-held firearm used by Imperial forces. During the battle harquebusiers killed over French armored cavalrymen.

Ferrante was then involved in an anti-imperial conspiracy that might have wrested the Spanish vicerealm of Naples away from Spain and put himself on the throne of Naples with Vittoria as his queen. We'll never know, since 1 he died from the wounds incurred at Pavia, and 2 he is said to have given up the idea because his Vittoria told him that she would rather be the wife of an upright general than the consort of a king who had backstabbed his way to the throne.

After Ferrante's death, Vittoria went into religious seclusion and wrote poetry to her dead husband. English translations of much of her poetry are available. Here is one prose translation by George R. And although they do not try their wings as much as I wish, yet when I call them back, they turn their flight from other paths to this one. The same people the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia that called her "Vittori-O" says that she was "undoubtedly greater as a personality than as a poet. They can't even get her name right. Quite recently, an unknown booklet of lyric poetry by Vittoria was found at the Vatican.

The booklet includes compositions. The discovery was made by researcher Fabio Carboni, who describes the finding in an essay published in Aevum, the review of the historical, linguistic and philological sciences of the Humanities Department of the Catholic University of Milan. One hundred years ago, the Neapolitan historian and philosopher, Benedetto Croce, wandered up to the hilly part of Naples, an area called the "high Vomero", specifically to the "Due Porte"—the two gates entrances to caverns to see what was left of the premises where one of the first scientific societies in European history had convened centuries earlier.

They nicknamed themselves the Otiosi Men of Leisure , and in order to join you had to have contributed a new discovery or fact in natural science. Later in life, Della Porta helped establish the Academy of the Lynxes, which counted Galileo as its most illustrious member. In the days of Della Porta, Naples was in the middle of the great Spanish rebuilding of the city under viceroy Toledo, but the city didn't even have a population of , nevertheless, large for the time.

This part of the "high Vomero" was, indeed, a hamlet near Naples, known as the area of the washerwomen and of one particularly nasty witch. When Croce visited the place, it was still far enough outside of town to count as a pleasant holiday retreat in the summer—a good view from the hillside about feet fresh air, no traffic. He lamented that little remained. On the plus side, the concrete apartment house that now stands over the old inner sanctum isn't far from a stop on the new metro line. That's bogus, too. I've just walked it and it's still hard to get to.

The perfect place for secrecy. The assumption that the area Due Porte is somehow, itself, related to the name Della Porta is almost certainly wrong. There really are two entrances. Also, there are sources from the s that, while acknowledging the widely-held view that "up here somewhere" is where Della Porta had his Academy, no one seems to know where it was.

The name Della Porta did not appear to be connected, even historically, to any of the known villas. Item 2, below, sheds some light on what else the site might have been. In his first famous publication, Magia naturalis [Natural Magic], Della Porta indicated what "magic" meant to him in those days: "I think magic is nothing less than a survey of the whole course of nature. In those days, that meant writing:. Della Porta also started a private museum of natural science, full of specimens collected during his wide-ranging travels in Europe; it was an important innovation and became an imitated prototype.

He also claimed to have beaten his younger contemporary, Galileo, to the telescope. The Inquisition closed it down in , and Della Porta's works were banned from publication between In his spare time! See those links. Recent archaeology has revealed such items within the ruins of. God, Set, and Isis on the left nursing the infant Horus.

Giambattista Della Porta was born in the village of Vico Equense on the Sorrentine peninsula and was well educated at home by his father and private tutors. From all accounts, Giambattista was a prodigy; he may have written the first four books of Natural Magic when he was 15 years old. The entire work was virtually a compendium of science since the time of the ancients down through Della Porta's own day; it covered geology, cosmology, plant products, medicines, poisons, distillation, the magnet and its properties, gunpowders, and ciphers. It also covered things such as demonology, astrology, occult philosophy, women's cosmetics, and transmutation of metals, none of which are considered particularly scientific today, but in the late s everything was fair game.

Indeed, a glorious age! In short, whatever you wanted to know, Della Porta had written about it or was in the process of doing so. It was an immediate best seller and was translated almost immediately from the original Latin into Italian, French and German; an English translation was published in the s. Even in Latin, however, the work was accessible to all European scholars when it was written. Della Porta lived in a strange time—the tail-end of the age of "pre-science". To put things in perspective, young Giambattista's father remembered!

Leonardo Da Vinci. Della Porta worked a generation before Galileo and Bacon both inspired by Della Porta's tenacious will to investigate nature , a half century before Kepler and Descartes, and a full century before Newton. It was an age that still clung to the Renaissance vision that one good person with drive, time, and a very large brain could learn everything there was to know. He mixed valid work in optics and botany two of many examples with nonsense about fortune-telling and the "philosophers' stone".

He also soft-pedaled his brash curiosity when the Inquisition told him to. But even Galileo did that. Della Porta joined the Jesuit order towards the end of his life. That disqualifies him, in the minds on many, as being counted as an early scientific rebel like Galileo. And maybe he wasn't. Maybe he was just a man who wanted to "survey the whole course of nature". That has to count for something. He was interred in the family tomb within the church of San Lorenzo in Naples. See this link.

Below is my translation of his article that appears on the NUg website. Used here by kind concession. About 25 years ago two geologist friends and I were hunting around on the slopes of the street named Due Porte all'Arenella in an attempt to pinpoint the locations of some caverns that historical sources place in that area. I came across a small grotto that at first left me perplexed. There were three spaces connected by tunnels and corridors; on their surfaces you could still see frescoed plaster, reconstructed columns, semi-cylindrical niches and traces of engraved plaques.

It had all been altered in some way. You could still make out part of the fresco representing three subjects: a woman seated on a bench holding a child in her lap, and a human figure with a damaged face holding out a tray of offerings to her photo in the main entry, directly above this one. Very probably the artist had intended to depict in Egyptian fashion the goddess Isis nursing Horus.

In the same space a corridor about ten meters long on the side walls, the plaster had been frescoed to simulate opus reticulatum [a Roman reticulated pattern of diamond-shaped bricks]; there were also four or five semi-cylindrical niches that were empty but led us to believe that they had once held statuary or similar. At the end of this passageway was a single wooden door that led to the outside.

We later discovered that this was the bottom entrance to the grotto. The next chamber the first room was jammed with building materials; the walls were covered with panels that hid the surface of the wall in back. In any event, you could see a circular column in the room inscribed with an elongated numeral 8 like a kind of infinity symbol except that it was vertical.

A low tunnel led from this room into a second space. The entrance to the tunnel had also been shaped to resemble a large numeral 8. After a couple of meters the tunnel came out in the second room; the walls still had traces of frescoed plaster but the images were so degraded that you couldn't make out what they were meant to be. In this space there were two fake columns made of brick and plaster ; one was circular, the other was square.

There was a horizontal niche on one wall that originally must have been sealed by a plaque, traces of which were still visible. The back wall was of brick and irregular-shaped tufa blocks; a series of openings a door at the bottom and some spaces for oil lamps higher up gave the impression that it was meant to represent a face or perhaps a skull photo, above. Courtesy of NUg. This last wall separated this space from a small parking space behind; it was of recent manufacture and belonged to the building on the surface above.

Yet another short passage led to a third room almost totally filled with dumped earth, probably hauled in from a well on the surface. There was a hole high up on on the side of the second room that led to a narrow and steep stairway made of brick that, in turn, led to a garden on the surface. It had been from these stairs and then by lowering ourselves from the hole in the wall that we first gained entrance to this underground chamber.

Obviously, we were amazed at first glance by all of this. We had explored hundreds of spaces beneath Naples, but this was the first time that we had found something like this! We made sketches and took some photos of the grotto. With these in hand we tried to attract the interest of the Superintendency of Naples, but to no avail.

Given the difficult access we had got in only by lowering ourselves through a hole in the wall and the fact that this particular space really wasn't part of our original research plans, we put it off for another few years. Another decade passed and I found myself talking with engineer Clemente Esposito a veteran of Neapolitan speleology about how the whole thing had sort of gone back into oblivion. Thanks to his insistence and that of my daughter, Selene, I contacted the owner of the property to get permission to enter the premises once again.

We reached an agreement. Thus, years later we went back into the grotto, this time by the more comfortable lower entrance. Everything was as it was when we had seen it for the first time. We took more photos and made a video. But the question remained: What could this space have been that no one seemed to know anything about and only old-timers in the area still knew as the teatrino little theater? Esposito was of the opinion that the cavern might have been the laboratories of Giambattista Della Porta, a secret place where meetings of his famous Academy of the Secrets were held.

The residential quarters that surrounded the grotto must have been the summer homes of the Della Porta family. But was it really? Or was it rather nothing more than a sophisticated and fascinating garden structure, part of the property of the ancient casale [a large country estate] that we find on the Duke of Noja map, perhaps torn down in order to make room for more modern cement buildings?

The rest of Italy had its own examples. Among the many, there was the hypogeum [underground chamber] of villa Francescati in Verona, the vaulted entrance of which is so similar to the one at Arenella. The stones were meant to simulate the pyrotechnical results of a fanciful eruption of Vesuvius!

Here, too, there is a vault with wide-open eyes and mouth, similar to the Neapolitan hypogeum Twenty-two years later, he set about building a bit of Naples in Germany. The inner brick building is five stories high and covered with local boulders. At the top, a hollow cone was made and contained a high chamber, complete with three fireplaces and a roof with an artificial crater that could be filled with water. He then constructed a lake around the volcano. Artificial eruptions were a regular garden feature; that feature has been revived in recent years.

The great Spanish Empire founded shortly after the discovery of the New World came to an end in the year when Charles II of Spain died without an heir. This potential fusion of Spain and France into a single dynasty so threatened the balance of European power that virtually all of Europe took up arms in the War of the Spanish Succession, a term so dry that it rather sounds like a description of gentleman barristers dickering over the Rule of Perpetuities. It was, however, as wars go, the real deal, the first widespread European conflict among modern rival nation states, true kin to the Napoleonic Wars of a century later and the aptly named World Wars of our own times.

Naples, as a Spanish possession, was affected by the War of the Spanish Succession. While the war raged from in northern Europe, Naples fell under the domination of the Austrians when that state successfully moved to take over Spanish territory in Italy. Naples, meaning all of southern Italy, thus became an Austrian dominion, ruled by the Hapsburgs of distant Vienna through a succession of Austrian viceroys stationed in Naples.

That state of affairs lasted until the Austrians, as part of the treaty ending the War of the Polish Succession, ceded Naples to Charles III of Spain in , at which time Naples became a sovereign kingdom of its own. The period from is somewhat neglected in the history of Naples. He was known as the "Reuccio," meaning the "Little King," so dubbed because he ascended the throne at the age of four.

Compared to the great Spanish period before and the equally great Bourbon period afterwards, the few years under Austria are, perhaps, less important, yet not insignificant; they produced interesting social changes and were a time of great art, music and philosophy in Naples. Naples in the year was almost dead in the water. Spanish rule, innovative and dynamic in the s and early s, had become harsh and corrupt in its last decades, and the city of Naples, itself, had just been through the mother of all wringers—the plague. The ferocious pestilences of and had reduced the population of the city from , to ,, and by the first decade of the s Naples still had only about , inhabitants.

It was a loss that crippled the working and merchant classes; sketches of the layout of the city in the early s look the same as half—a—century earlier—no new buildings, no new streets. There had been no growth. This, then, was the Naples that the Austrians inherited when they entered the city in The plight was aggravated by two factors that had traditionally been another sort of plague in Naples.

One was baronial power, a feudal system of local lords wielding virtually independent power throughout the kingdom, paying but lip service to the central authority of the king. The second problem was land grabbing by the Church within the city. Some estimates set the number of clergy in the city as high as 16, in the early s, which would make one out of every 15 persons a cleric!

That many clergy needed a lot of land and even a brief trip through the Naples of today sheds light on the problem of three centuries ago: a faithful church-goer in Naples can change houses of worship once a week and probably run out of Sundays before Naples runs out of churches.

Entire quarters of Naples were, thus, off—limits to the authorities. In their brief time in Naples, the Austrian viceroys at least held their own against baronial privilege, a dying societal structure anyway, but one that would not crumble until Napoleon dismantled feudalism a century later. The Austrian stance against the Vatican is worthy of note, however. The Hapsburg emperor in Vienna rather enjoyed antagonizing the Pope in this manner, since the Vatican had been openly on the side of the French in the War of the Spanish Succession. Austrian rule made it much more difficult for the Church to wheel and deal in Naples as it had done over the centuries.

Additionally, Austrian revision of tax laws encouraged the beginning of planned rebuilding in Naples after the stagnant period at the turn of the century. The Austrians also instituted reform in the University, and, perhaps most importantly of all, encouraged the formation of a iureconsultus, a body of experts in matters of the law, experts—lawyers—who would advise the state and the people when necessary. Even those who love lawyer jokes will see how revolutionary that concept was in an age of absolute monarchy.

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As far as the physical plant of the city goes, the Austrians built coastal roads from the city out to the slopes of Vesuvius, roads which eventually led to modern expansion of Naples in that direction. It was home to great painters of the Baroque, such as Luca Giordano and Francesco Solimena self-portrait, left. The latter's works adorn churches in Naples, Rome and Vienna and are on display in museums in Britain and the United States.

His studio in Naples became a workshop for numbers of northern European painters who made the trip south just to study with him. They coincidentally got in on the beginning of the great age of the Grand Tour: northerners coming to Italy to study antiquity; for it was under the Austrians that Naples began the rediscovery of its own Greek and Roman past.

Music in the early s in Europe was greatly shaped by the powerful influences of Neapolitan composers, primarily Alessandro Scarlatti, one of the innovators in early classical music, as important as his contemporary, J. Bach, and even as important as Mozart almost a century later.

Also, the prodigious Pergolesi changed the face of opera by composing La serva padrona, the first internationally successful piece of Neapolitan Comic Opera, music that greatly influenced Mozart and subsequent operatic and symphonic music. Intellectual life in Naples in the early s was active.

Naples was the home of the misunderstood and obscure philosopher, Giovambattista Vico, whose cyclical view of history was quaint even when he formulated it. It was certainly to be overshadowed by the powerful thoughts of Hegel and Marx in the next century—their idea holding that history evolves through conflict to ever new and higher states in the human condition. So maybe the jury is still out. That, then, was Austrian Naples: a brief and interesting period, with one foot in the future, a time that set the stage for the Bourbon take-over in when Naples would finally become a modern European nation.

There are any number of encyclopedias of quotations. I particularly like lists of misquotes —that is, expressions that everyone except me cites incorrectly: for example, it's not "Money is the root of all evil," but "The love of money Churchill did not say "blood, sweat and tears" but rather "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. I stress "fiction" because a recent poll in Britain shows that a lot of people apparently think Sherlock Holmes was a real person: "Dude, like he's the guy that caught Bob the Ripper!

There are also many cases of accurate quotes attributed to the wrong person. I have had at least one German tell me that "To be or not to be" was by Goethe, and the other day a Neapolitan woman told me that it was by Luigi Pirandello. The expression "Naples is a paradise inhabited by devils" is in this category somewhere. The first time I came across it was in the English version; it was in something by Mary Shelley.

I don't remember what, but she spent time in Naples and was always writing about it, even in surprising ways see Frankenstein. I remember thinking what a clever turn of phrase it was, and I assumed that she had originated it. Not so, though the phrase in English through Shelley is still quite current; in the Swiss composer, Christophe Terrettaz alias Ozymandias, after Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem of that name and singer Kelli Ali released an album called A Paradise Inhabited By Devils that, according to the promos, was "inspired by the short stories of Mary Shelley.

Selwyn, from The author cites Benedetto Croce as having made her aware of the phrase. Discussion, below. Who actually coined the phrase? No one knows. Really, it's that simple. It's amazing, though, how many Neapolitans assume that it must have been Goethe. I don't know if Johann Wolfgang von Goethe ever uttered the phrase or maybe wished he had invented it, but he never wrote it down and —as absolutely no one ever once said in German Zeig mir das Rindfleisch! Mir geht es ebenso, ich erkenne mich kaum, ich scheine mir ein ganz anderer Mensch.

Everyone lives in a kind of drunken absent-mindedness. It happens to me, too. I barely recognize myself. I seem to be a very different person. That happens to me, too. Goethe is stingy, in general, with the word "Paradise". Sometimes the trees outside his window are "paradise" and a certain "Angelika" is "paradise, but Johann is too much of a gentleman to expand on that and we are too discreet to press the issue. The only thing certain is that when Goethe and, a bit later, Mary Shelley were here, the phrase was current.

It was on the lips of any and everyone on the so-called Grand Tour, but the phrase has a much older origin by at least a couple of centuries. Benedetto Croce, historian, philosopher and enthusiastic logophile set his considerable skills to work on the problem and produced a delightful book in called, of all things, Un Paradiso abitato da diavoli.

Croce has an even earlier reference to one Piovano Arlotto, pseudonym of Arlotto Mainardi [—], a Florentine priest known for jests and facezie witty anecdotes. If it weren't for the people, Naples would be a Paradise! Croce concludes inconclusively; that is, the expression probably arose in the 14th century among the "foreign" that is, from northern Italy communities of merchants in Naples.

Galasso, who wrote a commentary on the Croce book, is also the author of his own L'altra Europa, Per un antropologia storica del Mezzogiorno d'Italia The Other Europe, towards an historical anthropology of Southern Italy. He discusses the expression and says, essentially, that Croce's two early examples are interesting but don't really pin down the expression.

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Again, close but no cigar. Gee, I wonder who said that. Even Croce's book causes confusion. A blurb-promo for the concert traced the title to "Croce's phrase" that Naples was a paradise inhabited by devils. He didn't say that. I didn't either although it is the title of this article. At least they didn't claim Goethe said it. All this reminds me that I had a friend in the army whose favorite quote was "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know. I don't think he understood the irony, especially since he claimed it was by Schopenhauer.

We were a well-read band of brothers. We threw books at the Commies in the Cold War. Apparently, the phrase is by Ralph Waldo Emerson, but don't quote me on that. The Churchill quote is a bit more complicated. The expression 'Show me the beef! The ad agency was Dancer Fitzgerald Sample. The ad was written by Cliff Freeman.

Reprinted with a forward and comments by Giuseppe Galasso. See Facezie del Piovano Arlotto, commentary by G.

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Baccini, Firenze University of California Press. Alfredo Guida, Napoli. ISBN No takers on this one, but the expression probably originates in early 20th-century US carnivals where they commonly gave away cigars as prizes at fairway games. If you came close but didn't win, they said "Close, but no cigar. My thanks to Selene Salvi, a young lady who eats archives for breakfast! It stands on reclaimed land, for, as early prints show, the sea once came right up to a rather swampy area, the site mostly of fishermen's houses.

It wasn't until the 16th century, the beginning of the Spanish viceroyship, that a general campaign was undertaken to make the land suitable for the construction of the fashionable villas that sprang up in the s along that section of the sea front. Click here for a related item.

The Villa was the result of the wishes of King Ferdinand IV, who, in , decided he wanted a large wooded area along the sea for members of the royal family to stroll in. The park, thus, was open to the public only one day a year, for the Festival of Piedigrotta. They say that many marriage contracts of the day even stipulated the husband's duty to take his wife to the gardens on that day each year. The park was opened to the general public on a permanent basis in after the unification of Italy.

The seaside road, via Caracciolo, which now lies between the aquarium and the sea, is another, more recent reclamation project added to the topography of the city. Until , the sea rolled up to the villa, itself, and coach traffic passed along the Riviera di Chiaia, the road now bounding the inner side of the park. He was given a site within the Villa Comunale; the project was begun in under Oscar Capocci and finished by the German architect Adolf von Hildebrand. Since its inception, the aquarium in Naples has not only served as an exhibition of marine flora and fauna, but has also been a working research facility in marine biology.

When the Dohrn Zoological Station opened in , it was immediately seen as a major innovation in marine biology. The station thrived in the final years of the s and well into the s. Even the First World War did not have a serious physical effect on the workings of the station although international cooperation among former colleagues in science and now deadly enemies was stifled.

That passed, but then came WWII. When Italy made a separate peace in September , her former Axis ally, Germany, punished the city of Naples by wide-spread destruction of the physical infrastructure and even the mindless destruction of intellectual facilities such as libraries, large portions of which were set ablaze. Fortunately, the station itself was not destroyed and workers had removed the books and some of the equipment out into the countryside for safekeeping. As the war moved north and away from the city of Naples, itself after Sept. Since the libraries of the various university institutes have suffered great damage, the value of the station library is greater than ever before.

It is being used considerably by the scientific workers from the laboratories of biochemistry in the American military hospital. Unfortunately, some of the important instruments have been damaged. Finally, Science from Sept 23, , was able to print a letter from a local university professor that said The Zoological Station survived the war without heavy damages. The laboratories and library lost some apparatus and books, but the building was not seriously damaged.

The devotion of the personnel and the intelligent cooperation of allied military authorities are the main factors responsible for this fortunate circumstance. The writer comments on the quantity and quality of new equipment and says further that The library is also in very good shape. The gaps in the files of journals have been almost entirely filled, and subscriptions are running regularly. This is most important since so many biological laboratories in Europe have been destroyed It would be impossible to mention here all of the people and organizations who have helped and are still helping the institution towards its rehabilitation.

The cooperation of the friends from all over the world has been the directorial staff's greatest reward. The entire Villa Comunale underwent remodeling a couple of years ago. There seem to be fewer trees than before. Some call it "pruning back". Some call it firewood. I haven't made up my mind. Elia Mannetta, the engineer from Baltimore who built the new aquarium in Genoa, will be in Naples in a week or so to help decide if the city of Naples needs a new aquarium and, if so, where to put it.

There are three candidates: 1 in San Giovanni a Teduccio, a suburb of Naples just to the east along the coast; 2 Bagnoli, where a new aquarium would fit in nicely with the pedagogical ambitions of the Science City exposition and fair grounds as well as with a general rejuvenation of the area after decades of decay; 3 in the Villa Comunale, where a new aquarium would take the place of the older one, the Anton Dohrn Aquarium, in place since the s. Choice number 2, Bagnoli, is probably the strongest candidate. Very few Neapolitans would like to see the Villa Comunale dug up and closed again as it was a few years ago for restoration or see the current aquarium demolished.

Not only did they chop down a lot of trees but they replaced a number of 19th—century metal scrolls and curlicues along the fence with more modern bulletoid metalwork that has already midwifed an entire repertoire of suppository jokes. I get suspicious when they start chopping down trees in Naples, as they are about to do once again in the Villa Comunale, the large public park along the sea-side see entries directly above this one.

Thirty-one trees are destined to be removed "in the interest of public safety," according to a spokesman for the city. Most of those trees are either diseased or unstable; those that are neither, but that are precariously close to buildings in the villa such as the large Dohrn aquarium, visible in the photo will, says the city, not get the axe, but just the shovel and be moved, if possible, to a safer location. The last time they did this was a few years ago when they remodeled the villa item 1, above.

To my, admittedly, non-expert eye, all they did was make a quaint s bit of charm a lot less green and a lot more metallic. On the other hand, they tell me that in the tough times after the end of WW II in Naples, the park was totally denuded of anything that could be used as firewood, after which, however, the park again prospered and staged a fine comeback.

And, of course, at one time in the s there was no park there at all. It was scraggly and brackish beach. So I suppose things could be worse. Trees that have to be moved because they endanger buildings and passers-by —well, that is reasonable; trees or tree branches can fall on people, injuring and even killing them. The most famous case in Naples that I remember is this one. In the case of diseased trees, that is still a problem that Naples and other Mediterranean cities are struggling to cope with.

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  • The tree pest the red palm weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus still exists in the city and, to my knowledge, no miracle cure has presented itself. That insect attacks only certain kinds of palm trees, but oak and pine in the villa are also set upon by certain wood-boring insects. So you save some and lose others. It's not an easy battle. For more on the tree pest, see this link.

    Unstable trees are a peculiar problem because the causes are not clear. Faulty engineering interfered with the underground aquifer in the area, causing the collapse last year of a building along the proposed route. Work on the train line has since been halted; a major street on the surface next to the park has been closed and traffic has had to be rerouted. It may be that underground work also blocked the natural flow of fresh rain water into the soil of the park, water that nourishes tree roots.

    In the place of fresh water, there is now sea water seeping in from the landfill beneath via Caracciolo on the other side of the park and rotting the roots. It was then set to music by Henry Russell. Fall in love with Naples With Neapolitan songs, is possible? Naples, love and music have always shared an unbreakable link. Land of artists, poets and great passions, the city has been able to tell the feelings in thousands of different sjades, through songs that strike straight to the heart.

    There isn't a Neapolitan song that's not, among other things, very romantic, but there is one song in particular that speaks of love by the sea, under the stars, with two hearts beating as one. Since then the song has been sung by all the greatest Italian and non-Italian artists. This cheerful and rhythmic song tells us, with great irony, about bold and cocky love, as only that of young people can be. While doing so he courts beautiful girls and doesn't refuse to be paid in kisses! At least compared to other great classics.

    Over the years, thanks to its verses so real and poignant, the song has been 'adopted' by all those who suffer for love. A funny and optimistic song, written by the poet Giuseppe Capaldo in The poet was in love with the girl and he was sure that by courting her he would be able to win against her perpetual reluctance. We don't know how it ended between the two and if Brigida actually ended up giving in to the poet's courting. Anyway the song, thanks to its happy rhythm and the lightness with which it addresses the topic, has become a timeless classic.

    Unfortunately their story doesn't have a happy ending. After promising eternal love to each other, the two lovers meet again in a beautiful, flowery garden in May, but while the man's feelings are unchanged, while the feelings of the woman went out until almost completely disappeared. The old Roman tunnel was bypassed many decades ago by a modern traffic tunnel on the right of the church.

    Piedigrotta is connected in popular Neapolitan culture with the famous Festival of Piedigrotta, a celebration on September 8, a spectacular parade led by viceroys and Kings, passing along the entire length of the seaside road, Riviera di Chiaia, and winding up at the church, itself. The parade was a yearly affair in the s under the Spanish who built the road leading to the church as they expanded the city to the west and in the s under the Bourbons.

    The parade was still held during the 19th century and into the 20th. In some fashion or other, there is still a celebration today. Much more recently, although there is still a celebration at the church, the parade is no longer held. The church of Santa Maria di Piedigrotta is first mentioned in a document from and is mentioned prominently by both Boccaccio and Petrach in the s.

    Over the centuries, the church has been redone and expanded many times. There is also an adjacent monastery that now serves as a military hospital. Also, near the entrance to the grotto behind the church is a monument billed as Virgil's Tomb. Perhaps the most interesting thing, historically, has to do with the site, rather than the church.

    That is, the grotto led to the fabled Phlegrean Fields, the mythological entrance to Hades, and thus lent itself well to mysterious carryings-on. Pre-Christian religions almost certainly used the site near the present church as a place for their rituals. One speculation by no less than the great Neapolitan dialect poet, Salvatore Di Giacomo citing "scholarly sources" , is that here was the setting of Petronius' Satyricon, that great bit of pornography from the first century a.

    Di Giacomo starts to cite the passage about the three young men out for a good time going into the cave and running into a band of women. Then, he blushes to continue. As do I. Just to be sure, I checked to see if there is a street or square in Naples named for Bernardo Tanucci. Good, there is indeed a street at the east end of the great Royal Poorhouse, the Albergo dei Poveri. Bernie deserves at least that small honor, for if the history of nations had been slightly different, he might be remembered as the astute statesman that he was, on the order of Cavour and Bismark of a later time.

    Instead, he is a footnote in history texts, a big fish in a dried-up pond, the curious Kingdom of Naples, as real to most today as, oh, Asturias or Austrasia. Depending on what sources you read, you will get different opinions. Roman Catholic sources will tell you that Tanucci was an anti-clerical zealot responsible for establishing the supremacy of the state over the church in southern Italy in the mids. Precisely for that reason, say others, he helped bring enlightened government to the Kingdom of Naples right on the heels of the French Enlightenment —a perfect time for it.

    Your call. Tanucci was born in Arezzo in Tuscany and educated in Pisa where he became a law professor. At the beginning of the Bourbon rule of the kingdom of Naples in the s, he found his way into the service of the first monarch, Charles III. Tanucci became first councilor of state, minister of justice, foreign minister, and then in the s, prime minister. He was especially valuable when Charles abdicated in to return to Spain, leaving the throne to his nine-year-old son, Ferdinand, a numskull kid who matured into an oaf and who would eventually rule until well after the Napoleonic wars!

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    Tanucci was the regent, providing valuable service to the child king as he had to the father. Tanucci was so good at what he did that Ferdinand—even after he reached majority and was allowed to make his own decisions—left government pretty much in the hands of Tanucci, who remained in constant contact with Charles back in Spain. Tanucci was the mainstay in the kingdom of Naples of the Enlightenment commitment in much of Europe to diminish the power of the Church.

    The balance of power between Church and State in Europe lasted more than one-thousand years from the establishment of the Papal States in to their demise in and is beyond the scope of this entry; suffice it to say that by , the power of the church was in severe decline. In Naples, Tanucci was zealous in abolishing the feudal privileges of the Church and restricting its legal jurisdiction and prerogatives.

    He closed convents and monasteries, reduced the taxes to be forwarded to the pontifical Curia, and was pivotal in the expulsion of the Jesuits from the kingdom in , an episode that resulted in his being ex-communicated at which point, he closed two more monasteries. In , Queen Caroline joined the Council of State as her marriage contract specified she might do as soon as she bore an heir to the throne. Tanucci, then 76 years of age, was no match for the energetic and ambitious Caroline.

    He retired in and died in Naples in His enemies claim Tanucci and people like him paved the way for revolutions. That's what his friends say, too. Dante's la Divina Commedia pretty well established the linguistic future of literature in what would one day be called "Italy. That didn't mean that vibrant local languages would die out; they continued to provide pleasure for theatergoers in a great many places in Italy, including Naples.

    Neapolitan comic opera and theater well into the early s was often in Neapolitan, although Alessandro Scarlatti in got in on the future with his The Triumph of Honour. It was advertised as "in Tuscan" and "not dialect. The most popular comic operas of the early s are those of Rossini, many of them composed in Naples, and they are all in Italian. In the late s and early s, comic opera served not just as random light-hearted entertainment, but as specific comic relief from serious operatic fare.

    Il Sangue DI San Gennaro

    There are many examples where the Neapolitan comic opera, in Italian as well as Neapolitan, makes fun of serious opera and customs of the serious opera goers. The best-known example from the late s is probably Paisiello's Socrate immaginario, a parody of Gluck's Orfeo.

    Romanticism in music was well-geared to the new fire of the times in Italy—the move towards national unity, a movement known in Italian history as the Risorgimento, up and running at least twenty years before Cavour's newspaper of that name was first published in Even Rossini got in on that; his William Tell is a fiery revolutionary opera about the birth of a nation Switzerland.

    Verdi's Nabucco was so patriotic that both he and the opera became forever linked with Italian unity. Through all of this, comic opera in standard Italian in Naples became irrelevant. Italian was now the vehicle for the task of creating a nation. That was no laughing matter. Yet, dialect survived. The most famous dialect theater in Naples was San Carlino. It started life as the Cantina di San Giacomo St.

    James' Cellar , built in near what is now the city hall. The original name referred to the fact that the theater was adjacent to and below the church of San Giacomo. The founder of the theater was Tommaso Tomei, head of a roving troupe of actors. The detailed history of that troupe as well as others of the mid-to-late s is found in Croce, below.

    Note the date. It is immediately after the construction of the San Carlo opera house, at the beginning of the Bourbon rule of Naples. Unlike the opulent San Carlo, the Cantina really was a cellar, little more than one room—a loud, noisy and dirty place with a stage for actors. The theater was closed by order of the king on "for moral reasons" Croce and then rebuilt in with the new name of San Carlino. For a few decades it presented a ragbag of assorted plays and music, both light and serious, with no real sense of direction.

    It ran into financial difficulties and closed for a few years at the turn of the s. It reopened in with programs of both prose plays and music. In the first Neapolitan comic troupe was formed there under Silvio Maria Luiz and, until its demolition on May 6, , San Carlino remained the most important vehicle for dialect works in Naples.

    Among the important names associated with the theater as playwrights or actors in the mids were Pasquale Altavilla, one of the great Neapolitan dialect playwrights of the century; the father and son team of Salvatore and Antonio Petito, first one and then the other as the best-known stage players of the Neapolitan masked figure, Pulcinella; and later Eduardo Scarpetta, a name synonymous with Neapolitan theater from the late s. Interestingly, there is also a name not normally associated with comedic dialect theater, that of Salvatore Cammarano Di Giacomo below laments the decline of the dialect Neapolitan opera buffa at mid-century, supplanted by the new maestri of music such as Donizetti and Verdi.

    Di Giacomo mentions Cammarano as one of those dialect wordsmiths who passed over to the music of Romantic opera to write libretti in the one language of Italy.

    San Gennaro non fa il miracolo "laico", parlano le "parenti": "Non è grave"

    Cammarano was from the best-known Neapolitan theatrical family of the s and early s. He contributed, as had his father and grandfather, to the comedic repertoire of San Carlino. In he heard the call of the new music and went on to write libretti for Donizetti Lucia Di Lamermoor , Verdi Luisa Miller, il Trovatore and others. When we say "theater," we include musical theater. Operatic parody in dialect at San Carlino was very popular from about ; many of them were parodies of works by Verdi.

    Send-ups in the s included versions of il Trovatore and something called il Traviato a parody of la Traviata—the gender change from -a to -o indicates that the man, not the woman, is "traviated". The word, itself, may be translated as "seduced," but more precisely it means "led astray" or, in the case of the opera, "The Wayward Woman. They apparently did not interfere with the title of the parody.

    San Carlino often employed singers from San Carlo, itself, just a few blocks away. In some sense, the musical parodies at San Carlino were an extension of the earlier comic operas in Naples, those by Paisiello and Cimarosa, many of which were in standard Italian and, in any event, were old hat in the age of Romanticism. So, while some were watching Aida premiere at San Carlo in March, , two months later in May others were down the street watching Aida dint' 'a casa 'donna Tolla Pandola Aida at home with donna Tolla Pandola , considered the greatest of all such parodies done at San Carlino.

    It played 28 consecutive nights, a number chosen as a tribute? The theater ran into financial difficulties and was closed for months in Free delivery worldwide. Bestselling Series. Harry Potter. Popular Features. New Releases. Categories: Contemporary Fiction. Notify me. Other books in this series. Add to basket. Weary Policeman Dana Allin. China's Cyber Power Nigel Inkster. Climate Conflict Jeffrey Mazo. Regional Disorder Sarah Raine. Everyone Loses Samuel Charap. No Exit Jonathan D. Sanctions as Grand Strategy Brendan Taylor.

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