Tag: Naples

Procida, the hidden gem of the Gulf of Naples

I’m really glad to be back blogging about travels, today, since this was the original, and main purpose of this blog. Despite covid-19, the lockdown and all that jazz I still want to travel. A lot. Of course not right now, but hopefully in August.

Everything is still confused here in Italy, nobody knows when we’ll be able to move around the country, let alone the world, so it’d be unwise to plan a two months trip to Madagascar right now. Living in the south of Italy, anyway, has its perks. The three small islands of the Gulf of Naple surely is one of them. Anyway, Capri is a wonder of nature, but definitely pricey, Ischia is usually crowded, so this leaves me with Procida. Let’s be clear, it’s not a makeshift! Procida is an absolute gem, totally underrated and sort of secluded from mass tourism, thus worth a vist or ten.

Its colorful, still tied to tradition, and the scent of lemons is everywhere. Il Postino by the late Massimo Troisi was shot here, among its narrow streets and almost desert beaches. Btw, it’s a wonderful movie, I strongly recommend it.

Marina Grande is Procida’s main harbor. It’s a village of multicolored houses crossed by a network of alleys full of restaurants and artisan shops. On everything stands the walls of a 12th century building, and the baroque bell tower of the Church of the Pietà. Another lovely medieval village is Terra Murata, right in the heart of the island, it offers a wonderful panoramic view because it’s built on the top of a hill, and just like the previous village it’s made by .a labyrinth of narrow streets. The third small village you just can’t miss is Marina Corricella, a mix of Italian and Arab architecture, with domed roofs and balconies closed by masonry arches, that are reflected in the crystalline sea. The last time I went there I was just a little girl, but I remember the fishermen repairing their nets, and the smallest, most lovely restaurants ever. It’s not that I’m against progress, but I hope that charming atmosphere is somehow still there.

It nothing changes drastically, I doubt I’ll be brave enough to go to the beach. Not that Procida doesn’t have a few amazing corner of paradise, it’s just that I don’t think that keeping a reasonable distance on a beach (in August) is possible. Anyway, there’s another way to enjoy the nature, and that way is definitely Vivara. Basically it’s what remains of the crest of an ancient volcano, as of today it’s a moon shaped islet connected to Procida via a bridge. Most importantly it’s also a magnificent protected area. You can truly be in contact with nature, dive to admire the underwater archaeological finds or even do some whale watching. Dolphins are pretty common in the area too, actually it looks like one of the most important colonies of the Mediterranean Sea lives just nearby. I just hope that the unavoidable crowd of the summer doesn’t scare them too much!

When you can’t travel…

…Go to see art!

It’s an excellent way of enrich yourself and still travel, in a different sense. You’ll move around just a few kilometers but you’ll see, you’ll learn, you’ll be moved or even get excited. An emotional journey is still a journey.

In case someone is wondering, this is Santiago Calatrava, on exhibit in Naples Capodimonte Museum. One of my favourite architect ever, in one of the most amazing museums of Italy. About that, it may be not famous as the Uffizi Gallery, it may not be so well connected like MANN, but it is totally worth a visit. If you happen to be in Naples don’t miss it!

If in Naples, run to MANN!

Or three reasons why now it’s a really good moment to go and see the National Archeological Museum of Naples.

  • Antonio Canova. Enjoy Naples, the crowd, the food, the sun (despite this cold, cold spring), but don’t miss the chance to also enjoy the purity of the forms of classical sculpture, reinterpreted by one of the greatest artists ever. Canova’s skills earned him the nickname of new Phidias and you’ll soon understand why. The grace of the bodies, the incredible mastery of drapery that reminds the foam of the waves, hard marble that turns into soft curves, everything is simply magic in this exhibition. It made me all emotional, so open your heart and let youself be enchanted by beauty. It’s definitely one of those feel-good experiences that can change your whole perception of a city. It stays in Naples until 30 June 2019.
  • The archeological section. This is a permanent (outstanding) exhibition in Naples and basically what makes MANN one of the most important archeological musums of the world. Now, despite a few sections being closed for a few days due to some restorations, since many Canova’s sculptures are there, you can enjoy the paralles between classical art and noclassicism. It’s truly interesting and actually accessible to all. Meaning there are a lot of things you can notice, learn and understand without needing a classical education.
  • Hugo Pratt. Naples has always been a city of sailors and travelers, so it is definitely appropriate that it hosts a beautiful exhibition dedicated to the sailor and pirate Corto Maltese, the most famous character created by the world-famous comic artist Hugo Pratt. Corto tells the history of the first years of the twentieth century with irony and humanity, siding invariably with the weakest people while still being friends with some hardened criminals. Not your typical hero, but that’s what makes him even more charming. The exhibition, Corto Maltese – An extraordinary journey, will present a huge thematic itinerary, with 100 pieces including original panels, sketches, photos and more. Until 9 September 2019.

Flower power

Unfortunately Naples, although beautiful, lively and very rich in culture, is not a city that makes you think of large green spaces and pure air to breath, but in the heart of the historic center, on the edge of a gray and busy street, there is a wonderful park full of history and rare plants: the Botanical Garden. In May it also hosts Planta, a market and exhibition dedicated to plants of all kinds, the rare ones, the exotic ones, those typical of the Mediterranean area and so on. Even on a rainy and windy day the colors of the flowers are vibrant and magnificent and it is wonderful to see the people happy and smiling for something as simple as a flower.
I was lucky, the whole time I was there it rained only ten minutes and the uncertain weather also discouraged the large crowds typical of Sunday afternoons. The next edition will be in a year’s time. What a pity! How wonderful it would be if an event like this was organized more often, especially in the city, where it is most needed.

By the way, this is my little purchase. I couldn’t buy more mostly because I didn’t know how to carry heavy vases at home all by myself. It’s an Albuca Spiralis, it comes from South Africa so I guess it should find itself at home in the south of Italy too. It’s pretty, it should have small flowers too, and quite low manteinance, perfect for my not so green finger.