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Naples

The Majolica Cloister at Santa Chiara Monastery

Naples (Italy). I like to consider this angle when I take photos of cloisters (here’s another one – pretty similar – from Portugal), although in this case I should have included in my photo not only the wonderful painted wall on the right, but also the majolica decorating the wall at the left side of the corridor.

The name of this wonderful place is “the Majolica Cloister at Santa Chiara Monastery”. It is located in the hearth of Naples and dates back to 1739. Walking around this cloister is a true experience: not only for its beauty, but also for the calm and quiet atmosphere, which contrasts with the chaotic and teeming neighborhood: the entire complex – the Church and the Monastery – is located along the famous “Spaccanapoli”, the straight, long and narrow main street that traverses the old, historic city center, one of the three Greek-Roman “decumani” (east-west streets) when the city name was “Neapolis”.

The cloister surrounds a wonderful garden, all decorated with majolica and with luxuriant olive and lemon trees.

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Sunset from the Church of Soccorso, Forio (Ischia)

Naples (Italy). I don’t like (anymore) photographing a sunset “in itself”, stand alone; unless there is something else in the image that can characterise it. Yesterday I was shooting some photos around Forio, a lovely small village on the Ischia Island – not far from Naples, in the South of Italy. Here, there is a small church called “Chiesa dell Soccorso” (literally translated, “Church of the Rescue”) and around it, plenty of people gather together every day to assist the show of the sunset in the sea.

I took this photo to celebrate the beginning of my summer holidays…

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On The Train (Ferrovia Cumana Montesanto – Pozzuoli)

Naples (Italy). I love trains, I love catching and photographing them. From inside, windows are screen on the external world. From outside, they are slices of daily life.I like watching people on a train: I imagine their stories and their everyday routine made of commuting and waits. There are many photographic projects – some of them truly amazing – developed around a trip on a train: mine here above is just a photograph, taken several weeks ago at the Pozzuoli station (in the Naples province) just as I got off the Cumana line from Montesanto. Yet, still today I like watching it, observing people and trying to imagine for each of them, something about their own life.


Napoli. Mi piacciono i treni, mi piace prenderli e fotografarli. Da dentro, i finestrini sono schermi sul mondo esterno. Da fuori, sono spaccati di vita quotidiana. Mi piace guardare le persone sui treni: immagino le loro storie e la loro quotidianità fatta di pendolarismo e di attese. Ci sono innumerevoli progetti fotografici – alcuni davvero bellissimi – sviluppati attorno al tema del viaggio in treno: la mia è giusto una foto, scattata diverse settimane fa alla stazione di Pozzuoli (in provincia di Napoli) appena sceso dalla linea Cumana proveniente da Montesanto. Eppure ancora oggi mi piace guardarla, osservandone le persone e provando a immaginare per ciascuna di loro qualcosa sulla propria vita.

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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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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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(After-lunch) Sunbathing in Naples

Naples (Italy). Another photograph captured on the same afternoon and in the same place of this other one (Piazza della Vittoria, at the beginning of Via Partenope’s promenade). I must admit that Naples is a city that under the photographic point of view (and not only) offers me always so many emotions, both for its indisputable beauty, and for the people it’s possible to meet.

As I wrote in my other post, I could stay hours taking photos in these moments, which are so rich of sparks that it’s impossible not remaining completely captured by the scene and by the life happening in it. This is – I’m repeating myself – the charm of Naples, one of my favorite cities in the world.


I am from Naples so I like the mixture of drama and comedy all together (Sophia Loren)


Napoli. Una foto scattata lo stesso pomeriggio e nello stesso posto di quest’altra (Piazza della Vittoria, dove inizia il lungomare di Via Partenope). Devo dire che Napoli è una città che offre sempre tante belle emozioni dal punto di vista fotografico (e non solo), sia per la sua indiscutibile bellezza, ma anche per le persone che si possono incontrare.

Come scrivevo nell’altro post, queste sono situazioni in cui potrei stare ore a fotografare: sono momenti così ricchi di spunti che è inevitabile rimanere completamente catturati dalla scena e dalla vita che in essa si svolge. Ed è proprio questa – lo ribadisco un’altra volta – la magia di Napoli,una delle città che amo di più in assoluto.

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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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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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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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