Naples Beach Resort (la Spiaggia di Piazza della Vittoria)

Naples (Italy). There are situations that can not be illustrated, because everyone sees in them what she wants. Others that are so dense, that explaining them would be cloying.

The photo I’m posting here above was taken exactly in one of these situations.

I could write a lot about this photo, on how the experience of being on a tiny plot of sand was, holding a camera surrounded by people – friends with each other – which were doing the most different things; on the speeches that I have listened to; on questions that I was asked; on curious welcoming – but warm too – that I received on that occasion; and why not, on the social environment so rich in terms of human diversity, in which I found myself.

This is Naples: one of the city I love most (and of which I love people in almost an unconditional way). It was mid-August, it was hot, and people were going to sea looking for a little coolness. But obviously, not everyone can afford the prestigious seaside resorts such as those ones in Posillipo and Marechiaro, and for this reason they choose to come to this small sandy portion formed probably for the effect of the breakwaters in front of it. This place is few steps down of the central Piazza della Vittoria, where the promenade of Via Partenope begins, close to the famous pizzeria Sorbillo (with the queue of people waiting to sit down). The bathers bring here their umbrellas, chairs and tables from home, to eat (so much, and about everything!) all together, and to spend the day together, freshening up in the sea, whereas kids build sand castles and teenagers play with the inseparable smartphone. In the background, Castel dell’Ovo and the Vesuvius.

These are situations in which I could spend hours not only photographing; indeed, probably if I could stay a bit more I would have laid down my Leica camera and I would have started talking to people, listening to their stories and eliminating the unavoidable distance between the photographer and the subject. These are situations that must be lived, to be observed to understand the sociological context in which they are developed, and then eventually to be photographed – but always with the utmost respect.

Napoli. Ci sono situazioni che non possono essere raccontate, perchè in esse ognuno ci vede quello che vuole. Altre che sono talmente dense, che spiegarle sarebbe stucchevole.

Questa foto che propongo qui sopra è stata scattata in una di queste situazioni.

Potrei scrivere parecchio su questa foto, sul come sia stata l’esperienza di stare su un fazzoletto di sabbia tenendo in mano una macchina fotografica circondato da persone – amiche tra loro – che stavano facendo le cose più diverse, sui discorsi che ho colto, sulle domande che mi sono state fatte, sull’accoglienza curiosa – ma anche calorosa – che ho ricevuto in quella circostanza; e perchè no, sul contesto sociale così ricco di varia umanità in cui mi sono trovato.

Questa è Napoli: una delle città che amo di più in assoluto (e di cui adoro la gente in maniera quasi incondizionata). E’ metà agosto, fa molto caldo, e le persone giustamente cercano un po’ di refrigerio andando al mare. Ma non tutte evidentemente possono permettersi i prestigiosi stabilimenti balneari di Posillipo e di Marechiaro, e per questo scelgono di venire in questa piccola porzione di sabbia formatasi probabilmente per effetto delle barriere frangiflutti antistanti. Siamo all’altezza della centralissima Piazza della Vittoria, dove inizia il lungomare di Via Partenope, proprio sotto la celebre pizzeria Sorbillo con la coda di persone che aspetta di sedersi. I bagnanti che vengono qui, si portano da casa gli ombrelloni, le sedie, i tavolini, ovviamente da mangiare (tanto, e di tutto!) e si ritrovano per trascorrere la giornata insieme, magari rinfrescandosi in mare mentre i bambini fanno i castelli con la sabbia e quelli un po’ più grandi giocano con l’inseparabile smartphone. Sullo sfondo ben visibile c’è Castel dell’Ovo e oltre il Vesuvio.

Queste sono situazioni nelle quali personalmente potrei trascorrere ore intere: non solo a fotografare, anzi – probabilmente se fossi rimasto un po’ di più avrei posato la mia Leica e mi sarei messo a parlare con le persone, per conoscere le loro storie e per eliminare l’inevitabile distanza tra fotografo e soggetto. Sono situazioni da vivere, da osservare bene per capire il contesto sociologico in cui si sviluppano, e poi eventualmente da fotografare – ma sempre con il massimo rispetto.

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Rione Terra, Pozzuoli (Landscape From The Marina Just After a Rainstorm)

Naples (Italy). As anticipated in my previous post, I spent some relaxing days around Naples and its gulf. This time I had the opportunity to explore not only the city (to me, one of the most beautiful and interesting places in Italy) but also to visit the coast from a privileged observation point: a boat!. In the next days (hopefully, but more realistically I would rather say “weeks” since I’m a bit overwhelmed) I will post more images from the Gulf of Naples, the Islands and the Amalfi Coast.

The first image selected here comes from Pozzuoli, a medium-size town (ca. 80,000 inhabitants) with a very old history: according to some studies, a first Greek colony was settled here probably around 500 BC and its initial name was Dicearkia. More reliable evidences say that Pozzuoli was established in 194 BC as a Roman colony, being initially named “Puteoli” from “puteus”, a Latin word which means “well”. Another possible origin of the name Puteoli is again a Latin word – “puteo” – which means “to stink”, simply because this place is very close to a “Solfatara” (all the region is pretty “volcanic” and the Vesuvio is just at the other side of the Gulf.

The so called “Rione Terra” photographed here was the first settlement of Pozzuoli / Puteoli. I captured this landscape immediately after a very heavy rainstorm, when the first rays of sun were beginning to filter across the dark clouds, illuminating – let me more correctly say “painting with light” – the Rione. To be honest I was also waiting for a nice rainbow, but unfortunately it did not come… However I liked the final result, and I decided to share it here.

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Our Life Is Very Much Like the Movie Playing On the Screen

Naples (Italy). Life can be lived in many different ways. Mine is watching – and photographing – around me. Because wherever I go, there’s always something interesting to observe. Here I was in Naples, at the Montesanto train station. My attention was on the train waiting to leave at the opposite platform of mine: just few seconds to take the camera, focus the scene and capture this image. That’s it.

Napoli. La vita può essere vissuta in diversi modi. La mia è vissuta guardando – e fotografando – attorno a me. Perchè ovunque io vada, c’è sempre qualcosa di interessante da osservare. Qui ero a Napoli, alla stazione ferroviaria Montesanto. La mia attenzione era sul treno che aspettava di partire al binario opposto al mio: sono bastati pochi secondi per prendere la macchina fotografica, mettere a fuoco la scena e catturare questa immagine. Tutto qui.


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Landscape of Capri at Sunset (Far From the Madding Crowd)

Island of Capri (Italy). I have very little time to write my thoughts unfortunately, as I’m overwhelmed by things to do… But I wanted to “shake” a bit my blog’s homepage sharing this photo taken few days ago during a short but fantastic weekend with some friends. I’m not sure this image is able to transmit the sense of peace, calm and tranquility that I was feeling watching this landscape – it would be a fantastic accomplishment!

It was at sunset: after a very hot day, a fresh breeze was blowing from the sea. Whereas the famous “Piazzetta” (a symbolic – albeit a bit overrated – place, where people meet each other to chat, drink an aperitif, or simply to “show off”) was crawling with vacationers and daily tourists, and I was enjoying the end of the day from a very exclusive observatory – a private terrace looking out the entire town. I was so totally seduced by this scene, that I had to force myself to take my Leica  and capture this photo! (poor me… ok, now I’m a bit exaggerating!).

I have a conflicting relationship with fashionable places such as Capri (just to mention the one where I was the last weekend). For some reasons I hate them: very honestly, all those people showing off, taking selfies and posting their face on social medias just to raise some “likes” are totally incomprehensible to me. But on the other side, I must admit that I love them: they offer great sources of inspiration for capturing photos, and – as it is in this case – having the possibility to escape from the mad crowd and to relax observing the landscape from an amazing terrace makes me feel a very lucky person.

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An Eye on the Gulf of Naples at Sunset

Naples (Italy). Just few words to “refresh” the homepage. I’m on my way to Naples for a long-weekend-short-holiday. I’m not sure I will have again the privilege of shooting from such an unique and prestigious terrace (I’m referring to the posted photo), but for sure I will do my best – together with my camera – to capture the indisputable beauty of this city…

Naples is a very inspiring place, and every photographer can find his or her personal source of inspiration there: from amazing landscapes, to people on the streets – not forgetting an incredible artistic heritage – photographing around Naples (together with its gulf) has so much to offer, that few days can’t be enough. For several reasons, Naples gives me the same vibrations of Istanbul; I think that these two cities are very similar, not only for the crazy traffic (!) – I will try to use the next days to better understand why these two cities, for me, have so many common aspects: it could be an interesting theme for one of my next posts…

Greetings from Naples!

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Postcard from Italy: At The Foot of the Capri’s Faraglioni

Capri (Italy). I guess this image has been taken so many times by so many people! More or less, everyone descending the steep staircase that goes from the narrow streets of Capri to the sea – at the foot of the Faraglioni – must have captured this scene… Especially in summer, when the platform is covered by open sun umbrellas and people are lying down for a hard session of sunbathing.

Anyway, now it’s my turn!

This place photographed here is a very popular beach resort: it’s name is “da Luigi ai Faraglioni” and – indeed – its position is exactly at the foot of Faraglioni, the famous rocks characterizing this small but very popular Italian island, less-than-an-hour by boat far from Naples. Experts say that this is “the place to be” in Summer, when it’s very hot, because it’s oriented toward East, therefore in the afternoon there’s shadow and it’s a bit less scorching (after all, we are in the South of Italy). The neighbor opposite resort (named “Fontellina“) is much better in Spring and Autumn because it’s oriented toward West and captures every sun ray till sunset (again, this is what Capri’s habitue say).

Diego Della Valle, a popular Italian entrepreneur (he’s President and CEO of the Italian leather goods company, Tod’s) well known for his love for Capri, once said this sentence:

“Put a compass to paper and trace a circle. Then tell me which other country [in the world] has such a concentration of places like Amalfi, Naples, Ischia, Procida, Sorrento, Positano, Pompeii, and Capri”

Although he uses to enjoy Capri from his very large motor-yacht Altair III (google it and you will understand what I mean), to be honest I think he’s absolutely right (and not because I’m Italian, of course!).

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Gulf of Naples (See Naples and Die)

Naples (Italy). The last weekend I was in Naples for a very special (personal) event. I arrived on Friday, and few minutes after the check-in at the hotel, I went immediately upstairs to the terrace to see the view and enjoy the sunset.

I knew that the landscape was “nice”, but I was not expecting such an amazing view! I spent there a lot of time, shooting photographs (of course!) and contemplating the Gulf of Naples, with the Vesuvio volcano and the Castel Nuovo, also known as Maschio Angioino.

During the shooting, with this landscape in front of my eyes, I was thinking about the famous quote “vedi Napoli e poi muori”, which can be translated as “see Naples and (then you can) die”. The meaning is simple: after visiting such a wonderful city, you will never see anything of more beautiful in your whole life.

This is what the German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote in his book “Italian Journey” [1786 – 1788] during his visit to Naples:

I won’t say another word about the beauties of the city and its situation, which have been described and praised often. As they say here, “Vedi Napoli e poi muori! — See Naples and die!” One can’t blame the Neapolitan for never wanting to leave his city, nor its poets singing its praises in lofty hyperboles: it would be wonderful even if a few more Vesuvius were to rise in the neighborhood.

To be honest, me too: I did not want to leave Naples, its beautiful landscapes and its people. And on the plane, flying above the city on my way back home, I promised to myself that I will come back soon (also because I feel I’m too young to die!)


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Toledo Metro Station in Naples

Naples (Italy). Here I’m back again with another photograph from a recent weekend in Naples. This city surprised me a lot, its beauty was far beyond my expectations and it was such a pleasure photographing around it! I will come back to Naples as soon as possible, one weekend only was really too short!

The photo posted here represents the Toledo Metro Station: I wanted to visit it – and I was lucky, it was very few minutes on foot from my hotel! – because it has been recognized by the Daily Telegraph as the most impressive underground railway station in Europe. Also the popular website “Bored Panda” has ranked it at the number one in the list of the 15 most beautiful metro stations in the world.

But beyond rankings and lists, which are quite tough to fill out, it is worth to underline that the Toledo Metro Station is not the only one deserving a visit, being part of a larger project called “Stazioni dell’Arte” (Art Stations), developed with the involvement of many artists and architects such as Gae Aulenti and Alessandro Mendini.

I personally found the concept of “Art Stations” something of very interesting, both culturally and socially: the idea that a metro station – which is normally dark, dirty and distractedly used by people to move from a point to another – can on the other side become a place of interest by itself, is not common nor banal. And it demonstrates how things can be done in a beautiful way without en excessive extra-cost.

It was the first time in my life I had bought a metro ticket just to see the station and not to catch a train, but – let me say – I cannot complain at all for this!

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Piazza del Plebiscito

Naples (Italy). Considered as one of the most beautiful square in Italy, Piazza del Plebiscito with its 25,000 square meters is one of the largest one in the Country, and is it is today a very popular landmark in Naples. The current shape dates back to the XIX century (during the Napoleonic period) and the name itself comes from October 21st, 1860 when with a plebiscite the local Regno delle Due Sicilie became part of the Regno di Sardegna (Kingdom of Sardinia).

And the “Basilica Reale Pontificia di San Francesco di Paola” photographed here on an early Saturday morning photo-walk around Naples some weeks ago, is probably the most famous building in Piazza del Plebiscito. If you want to really enjoy this place, try to select a moment when it’s not too crowded, walk along the colonnade and visit the Basilica interior, which resembles – and it’s not a coincidence – the Pantheon in Rome.

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Have You Ever Seen The Rain?

Naples (Italy). Photographing a rainstorm over the sea can be interesting, since the photo doesn’t say if the clouds are coming or are going away from the observer, and everyone can decide to see the first or the second case. It’s a matter of being pessimistic or optimistic, everyone is free to choose…

Of course I prefer optimism. If you are like me, good choice! Not only because

life is like a mirror, and it’ll smile at you if you smile at it,

but also because it’s the correct one: oh yes, I can confirm that in this photo the clouds and the storm were going away…

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