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Posts tagged ‘It Started in Naples’

From Napoli to Capri, Part 3: It Continued in Naples

See Naples and die, or so they say… well I suppose we all have to die at some point, but the sight of Naples will not be the thing that finishes me off. For with its fantastic tangle of mad urban bustle, its multi-layered, jam-packed and over-constructed landscapes, its fiery hot-blooded temperament, and its mix of the baroque extravaganza with graffiti-strewn slum, Naples is to my mind a city to see, to experience and to savour.

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After the historical still-life that we experienced in Pompeii, we thirsted for something more akin to modern day madness. And where better to find it than in Naples, the city that never sleeps, never tires, but bustles with all the energy of its rather unstable tectonic foundations. So on this second day of our Naples adventure, we took to the streets of the Spaccanapoli, the Vomero, the Via Toledo and the Decumano Maggiore, each regions of a city exuding more character than I did sweat in the searing heat of day.

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From vast churches and convents to spooky catacombs and cocktail bars, we covered an awful lot as we continued our tour of Naples. But let us savour those characterful streets for now. This post concentrates on the fabric of the city, on those splendid baroque spectacles, on the multi-layered cityscapes constructed of palazzo upon pauper’s house, on the cramped shops selling sfogliatelli, and the cafes whose steaming hot terraces proved to be the perfect place for an extra strong negroni. See Naples… and live!

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© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2019. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Honeymoon and Hotels: Mareluna Napoli

Four years ago, I started what was to become a collection of gouache images of hotels. From my first image painted during our honeymoon, of our pretty pink little bedroom in the ravishing Colombe d’Or Hotel in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, with the iconic Calder mobile visible through the window and my painting tools spread on the wooden desk, a story of images was born – images which have since gone on the capture countless bedrooms and views from the many incredible hotels which have played host to us on our holidays.

As we arrived in Naples and looked onto the most ravishing views of the sea and the Castel dell’Ovo, I knew that the next chapter in my narrative of honeymoon and hotels was just around the corner, and I painted this work: Mareluna Napol, named after the hotel of the same name.

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Mareluna Napoli (©2019 Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper)

This small painting is no traditional capture of the Neapolitan landscape, but in its haphazardness drunkenness, vivacity and freshness of colour, and that centralised seaside view, it is a very much a homage to Naples. All that is missing is a pizza! But true to form, this is very much an image of our hotel room in the Mareluna Suite de Charme, whose wooden floor and ceiling contrasted dramatically with the fresh white walls and retro curved plastic ceiling light, while its wrought iron balcony so perfectly framed that resplendent view in all its Mediterranean majesty.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2019. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

From Napoli to Capri, Part 1: It Started in Naples

Just like the opening scenes of our favourite Sophia Loren/ Clark Gable film, It Started in Naples (1960), our magnificent trip from Napoli to Capri also began in Naples, on the Bay of Naples in fact. And in parallel with the first scene of that film, our first view of Naples was over the iconic Castel dell’Ovo with the silhouette of the mighty Vesuvius looming up behind it, and the silky blue waters of the Mediterranean sea flowing in around it.

This was to be the beginning of a mighty adventure in what must be one of the most beautiful areas of the world; a stretch of mountainous, fertile, stunning scenery full of contrast: from the bustling, sometimes menacing but beautiful Campanian capital of Naples, to the tranquil paradise of Ischia, and the fashionista’s paradise of Capri.

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Yet it all started in Naples, and that opening scene was framed, liked the most dramatic of theatrical montages, by the drapery of curtains and a proscenium arch, namely the window (and balcony) of our very own room with a view. That room was to be enjoyed at the Mareluna Suite de Charme, a charming little boutique hotel stationed on the first floor of an old Neapolitan palazzo, and from there, we could indulge in the daily blockbuster of the Bay of Naples awakening, the sea glistening, and the outline of Capri emerging out of the mist of the horizon, while in the closer foreground, locals would take a morning dip in the warm waters, and chat/ yell along the seaside promenade.

That same scene was to occupy a prominent place in our admiration of Naples, and this first, photographic post from our holiday is something of a prologue to the story that will follow. It is a collection of our first impressions – the view by sunset, and in the morning; the nearby Castel dell’Ovo and the Port of Santa Lucia, and the tenement blocks clinging precariously to steep hillsides nearby. And of course that looming, dramatic shadow of Vesuvius, an omnipresent backdrop to a city which thrives on its fertile soils, but is always living on the edge of disaster, knowing that a volcanic end is, like the sword of Damocles, a constant and real risk.

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Perhaps the presence of Vesuvius is why Naples feels both dangerous but alive, full of hot fiery tempers but a tangible vivacity for life. It’s a feeling which energises Naples, and makes it one of the most interesting cities to visit in Italy. Come back soon to the Daily Norm, to find out what happened when we made Naples our base for a few days.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2019. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.