El Pibe de Oro (Maradona’s Murales). Quartieri Spagnoli, Napoli

Naples (Italy). I believe that few cities have with a specific person the same relationship that Naples has with Diego Armando Maradona, also known with the name “El Pibe de Oro”. Walking up and down around the so called “Quartieri Spagnoli” and talking with people sitting along the streets, it’s easy to understand how here in Naples, soccer is not only a sport or a passion, but rather it’s an instrument for a sort of “social redemption”.

In this sense, Naples-the-city perfectly corresponds with the Naples-soccer-team, and it’s especially for this reason that the memory for a player becomes the memory of an entire collectivity. A memory still well alive today, that keeps itself strong and proud in the course of the time, also thanks to expression of fondness and devotion such as this one photographed here: an impressive murales, realised in 1990, which covers the entire facade of a six-storeys building in Via Emanuele de Deo, and that has been recently renovated to bring it back to its original beauty.

It’s something worth watching at length, to be somehow contemplated, possibly contextualising it with the place where it is and with the people living there. The result is a truly unique cross section, in some ways touching, and for sure representative of a city – Naples – which has made of its passion for Diego Armando Maradona one of the hallmarks of its DNA.

Napoli. Credo che poche città abbiano con una determinata persona lo stesso rapporto che ha Napoli con Diego Armando Maradona, conosciuto anche come “El Pibe de Oro”. Camminando per i Quartieri Spagnoli e parlando con le persone sedute per strada, si capisce subito come a Napoli il calcio non sia solo uno sport o una passione, ma piuttosto sia uno strumento di riscatto sociale.

In questo senso, la Napoli città coincide perfettamente con la Napoli del calcio, ed è soprattutto per questo motivo che la memoria per un giocatore diventa memoria di un’intera collettività. Una memoria ancora oggi ben viva, che si mantiene forte ed orgogliosa nel tempo grazie anche a forme di affetto e di devozione come questa fotografata qui: un murales imponente, realizzato nel 1990, che si estende tutto lungo la parete di sei piani di una casa in Via Emanuele de Deo e che è stato recentemente restaurato per farlo tornare al suo splendore originale.

E’ un qualcosa da guardare a lungo, quasi da contemplare, possibilmente contestualizzandolo con il luogo in cui si trova e con le persone che quel luogo lo vivono. Ne viene fuori uno spaccato davvero unico, per certi versi emozionante, e sicuramente rappresentativo di una città – Napoli – che ha fatto della passione per Diego Armando Maradona uno dei tratti distintivi del suo DNA.

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The Blue of Jardin Majorelle in Marrakesh

Marrakesh (Morocco). If someone one day will ask me “where was the bluest blue you have ever seen in your life?”, the answer can be only one: “It was in Marrakesh, at the Jardin Majorelle”.

Jardin Majorel is a popular attraction in Marrakesh: every day many people visit it and enjoy its quietness, finding here – among cactus and birds – the perfect refugee from the hot, overcrowded and dusty souk in the central city’s Medina.

However, what most probably captures people’s attention is the dominant ultramarine, cobalt blue used to color every structure in the garden: small buildings, railings, fountains etc. This large use of blue, in my opinion, contributes to give the above mentioned sense of calm and freshness and I found its intensity quite impressive. Let me say: it was an experience not only for my eyes, but also for my soul.

According to Ayurvedic Medicine, “Chromotherapy” (or “Color Therapy”) is believed to be able to use light in the form of color to balance “energy” lacking from a person’s body, whether it be on physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental levels; and the color “Blue” is known as able to give “physical and spiritual communication”. It could make sense…

However, you can believe or not to Ayurveda and its theories, it does not matter: Jardin Majorelle is a must-see in Marrakesh and it deserves a long, calm visit.

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Garibaldi Station (Back to Milan)

Milan (Italy). Here we are… holidays are over (you will see some photos taken during my summer vacations here soon, don’t worry!) and I’m back to Milan.

Maybe you noticed a low activity on my blog during the last three weeks: only three posts… it’s a shame! I will do my best to remedy 🙂 For the time being, let’s warm up with a new – albeit taken some weeks ago, in July – photo of Milan. It’s the new skyline with the Porta Garibaldi train station, taken from the bridge of Via Farini at sunset. Here, you can see some of the newest architectures characterizing Milan: from the “Bosco Verticale” to the “Unicredit Tower” and the new “Lombardy Tower”. If you are interested to know something more about the new skyline of Milan, you can read this post here.

So, nice to see you here again! It will be a very intense year, with many new posts to be shared!

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The British Museum in London

London (United Kingdom). What does make the beauty of a museum? I mean: saying that a museum is a beautiful one, what can be the main reasons? Have you ever questioned yourself about it? I did it, and I still do it basically every time I visit a museum – which luckily happens quite often because I love going to a museum.

But before giving my answer I want to say something I noticed, and that appears to me quite as a nonsense: for several people (perhaps the majority) the beauty of a museum is given by the number of famous authors (painters, sculptors etc.) exhibiting there. And unavoidably, the result  is that a museum with ten Picasso is better than another one with only two. Isn’t it absurd? Oh yes, definitely it is; but it’s also true. So, the consequence is that visitors are much more concentrated on the small label with the title and the author of a painting, than on the painting itself! And they spend the whole visit at a museum curved down on the low corner of the frame, admiring the name of some famous author, without putting their eyes on what could be a masterpiece of art’s history.

For the same reason, I love when I visit a museum and I see someone standing in front of a canvas or a sculpture, writing or sketching on a notepad: it’s a totally different approach, much deeper and in intimate relationship with art…

Anyhow, coming back to my initial question: what makes the beauty of a museum? To me, one of the key elements is its architecture: the visit to a museum is a pleasure not only for what it includes, but also for the spaces where the visitors walk. For this reason I loved the Fondazione Prada in Milan, where people walk in a former industrial site, completely reinvented but with well visible the traits of some structures used in the past to produce spirits. And of course I loved the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, designed by Frank Gehry with his typical futuristic concept of structures. But one of my favorites and that I loved most is the British Museum (in the picture, the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court), with its striking ceiling designed by Sir Norman Foster (based on Foster’s concept for the roof of the Reichstag in Berlin, Germany).

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Sunrise at La Défense, Paris

Paris (France). Early wake-ups are never very welcome, especially when I have to catch a plane. But there’s an exception: it’s when they make you experience (and photograph) such a beautiful sunrise!

This morning I was at La Dèfense – a large suburb of Paris – and I was walking around my hotel to breath fresh air before going to some meetings: when I turned my head toward Paris from the Esplanade de la Défense, I remembered when some weeks before I took this image posted here, and I immediately surfed my archive to find and share it here in my photoblog. I still have in mind when I saw this scene: I was literally impressed because it was early December (there’s a Christmas decoration) and despite the tragic terrorist attacks happened few weeks earlier, which put the city in a sort of deep chaos, I remember that everything in that exact moment was incredibly calm, relaxing, charming. The reflection of these thin lampposts on the fountain’s water was close to perfection, and the color of the sky was going from an intense blue (still with some memories of the night that was going to finish) to a warm orange announcing a fantastic sunrise – as it effectively was few minutes later.

Probably someone is curious to know how this same landscape was today… well, definitely not the same, unfortunately: cloudy and foggy, very annoying. However, this situation makes me think about another great strengths of photography, when watching something of already seen, brings your mind to the same place but in a much better situation, creating intense emotions…

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Ponte Stemma in Pontremoli, Lunigiana

Pontremoli (Massa Carrara, Italy). An after-dinner night walk around Pontremoli can become an excellent opportunity for shooting some unusual photographs. This massive bridge is called Ponte del Casotto and is placed at the confluence between the two rivers, Magra and Verde. It’s a very old stone bridge: the original structure dates back to the end of the 14th century and it was reinforced in 1568. This is the same bridge that appears in the city’s insignia (in italian: “stemma”) and for this reason it’s usually known locally as “Ponte Stemma”.

There’s a nice garden under it, and it’s a peaceful place except during Medievalis – a local exhibition held in August – when the garden is packed with several gastronomic stands and people come here for eating delicious local products.

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Reframe by Ai Weiwei at Palazzo Strozzi, Florence (Via Della Spada)

Florence (Italy). Last weekend I was walking around the downtown of Florence, when I saw this interesting installation made by the contemporary Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. It’s a serie of 22 rubber boats positioned in correspondence to Palazzo Strozzi’s windows, on its façade. The installation’s title is “Reframe – Nuova Cornice” (new frame). In these years the same type of boats have been used by refugees which, escaping misery and looking for a better life, cross the Mediterranean Sea and arrive in Italy.

Firenze. Lo scorso fine settimana, passeggiando per il centro di Firenze, ho visto questa interessante installazione dell’artista contemporaneo cinese Ai Weiwei. Si tratta di una serie di gommoni, montati sulla facciata di Palazzo Strozzi, in corrispondenza delle sue finestre. Il nome dell’installazione è “Reframe – Nuova Cornice”. Si tratta degli stessi gommoni utilizzati dai profughi per attraversare il Mar Mediterraneo ed arrivare in Italia per scappare dalla loro miseria alla ricerca di una vita migliore.

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National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York

New York (USA). I visited the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in 2012. It ‘a place that should be visited in absolute silence, not only in respect to the many people that have lost their lives here, but also meditating on how that day changed the world. Today, on the 15th anniversary of that tragic September 11, I decided to prepare and post an old photo taken during this visit. While developing it, many things experienced during this visit came to my mind: the engraved names of dead people, the flowers left by their family, the incredible number of people – of all races and religions – walking silently around the huge fountains built in correspondence of the Twin Towers. It was my way to commemorate that tragic unforgettable day.

New York. Ho visitato il National September 11 Memorial and Museum nel 2012. E’ un posto che va visitato in assoluto silenzio, non solo in rispetto alle tante persone che qui hanno perso la loro vita, ma anche in meditazione su come quel giorno ha cambiato il mondo. Oggi, nel 15esimo anniversario di quel tragico 11 Settembre, ho deciso di riprendere una foto scattata durante tale visita. Mentre la preparavo per postarla qui sul blog, mi sono tornate in mente tante cose vissute durante quella visita: dai nomi incisi delle persone morte, ai fiori lasciati dai loro familiari, alla incredibile quantità di persone – di ogni razza e religione – che camminavano silenziosamente intorno alle enormi fontane costruite in corrispondenza delle Torri Gemelle. E’ stato un modo – per me – di commemorare quella tragica indimenticabile giornata.

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