Neapolitan

All posts tagged Neapolitan

SAN GENNARO’s MIRACLE

Published September 19, 2014 by Tony

San Gennaro’s blood is liquefied

 

As always, this morning thousands of people have flocked to the Cathedral of Naples, in the hope that the miracle of the blood of San Gennaro could repeat.

The patron saint of Naples, which today, September 19, is  celebrated. After the religious ceremony began, Cardinal Sepe has made its entry into the basilica together with the relics of the saint, waiting for the miracle. Took the ampule and showed it to the faithful and…..  the blood dissolved itself!

Also this year, the miracle took place again!

A TREASURE NOT VALUED

Published May 11, 2014 by Tony

 

CASERTA ROYAL PALACE

Really true that things we’re accustomed to every day have or see, over time they become usual and uninteresting. Yet, Italy is the only country in the world with the greatest concentration of art, churches, monuments and natural beauty. Some cities, then, like Rome or Naples, become really unique pearls that anyone would envy us. In spite of this, some people do not think twice in staining a monument or a public good, and, worst, to damage it, while administrators (who knows why?) have little interest.
For years, it is has been said that Italy could live off of private income with what the past history and culture have left us as a legacy.
We are tired of hear it again and get angry even more if those who can and should take steps to ensure that such a big and particular artistic/cultural heritage can finally bring well-being and job roles, turn a deaf ear, or even make things worse. I am referring to our government, local administrators, politicians and institutions, of course.
Crisis, lack of employment, but it sounds strange that no one put tourism at the first place or thinking what we could get by it.
Another thing that personally bothers me, is the “continuous” and ” endless ” work in progress that spoil the view and often do not allow tourists and visitors to fully enjoy a site. Then, prohibited areas and premises permanently closed to the public for some kind of incurable reasons, which does not allow us to see works and places that should, however, be in the public domain, and a source of pride for having been put on display. I can’t explain myself this, even if only by chance I made a trip of a few kilometers and took advantage of a weekend, but how can we explain this to a Japanese tourist who came to Italy to visit that place after a long journey and having endured many expenses, and that probably never can come back in Italy!

We were still talking about neglect of Pompeii and now is the turn of the “Realm of Caserta”, as we call it.
Just to show arrogance and abuse of our administrators, it is the case of the Italian Garden in Caserta’s Royal Palace and the politician Nicola Cosentino. Despite this wonderful garden with waterfall shows significant signs of neglect and has long been closed (indefinitely!) to visitors, this has not prevented Cosentino to use it for his morning exercises. In fact, the former undersecretary of “Forza Italia” party had the garden’s key to enter and make jogging, thanks to the Prefect of Caserta.

This sumptuous and historic residence of the Bourbons of Naples, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1997, is a monumental complex which occupies 45,000 square meters, and with its five floors it reaches a height of 36 meters, with 1,200 rooms and 34 staircases.
In the Palace various places are closed indefinitely, as the hall of the Nativity of Neapolitan ‘600 and ‘700, as many portions of the park are inaccessible. Many rooms are not open to the public while others are not ever been open to all.
A recent news that in the west of the Palace a portion of the roof collapsed.
The Ministry of assets and cultural activities and tourism (Mibact) has provided approximately € 22 million of funding for the restoration of the facades of which the first batch from 9 million has already been allocated. Since last year, the four facades of the Palace are cordoned off and pending for the restoration work. The whole Royal Palace and its magnificent garden are in a state of neglect, despite the museum complex can count on 340 committed employees who must or should control 130 acres of parkland and 70 rooms. From 2001 to 2013, the center has recorded almost 50 % fewer visits, which go from 812 811 to 439 813, according to data published by the Mibact. After reading this, I hope that most Italians will be pissed off as I am !

SEDILI IN NAPLES

Published January 11, 2014 by Tony

Old Administrative Institutions in Naples

In Naples, the “Sedili” (Seats), also called Seggi o Piazze (Squares), were in force from the thirteenth to the nineteenth century, and they were administrative institutions of the city, whose representatives, known as Eletti (Elects), met in the convent of San Lorenzo to take decisions about the civil administration for the common good of the City. The first six seats were attended only by the nobility, while the citizens had their own representatives in the seventh Seat.
The Sedili became extinct in 1800 due to an edict of King Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, who abolished their functions. In 1808, after Joachim Murat’s reforms, the functions and responsibilities of the seats were assigned to the new Municipality institution (City Hall), with the election of the first mayor. Despite the abolition of these local administrative units, the names of some of them, still indicate the area (neighborhood) where these old Sedili were.

NAME

HISTORY

VENUE

Coat of Arms

Capuana

(Capoana)

The name derived from the surname of an influential family.

Via Tribunali

Capoana

Montagna

So named cause it was situated in a high part of the city.

Via Tribunali

Montagna

Forcella

In neapolitan this name refers to the shape Y, a symbol that was the emblem of the nearby school of Pythagoras. The motto of this Seat was: “For good agendum sumus,” (we were born to do good). This seat was merged with Montagna’s seat.

Via Forcella

forcella

Nilo

So named for the presence of the statue of the Nile River and in memory of traders Alessandrini, who dwelt therein.

Piazzetta Nilo

nilo

Porto

So called because it was near the ancient port of Naples.

Via Mezzocannone

Porto

Portanova

So named because, during the Greek time, the city’s walls were enlarged and a new entrance was built near the sea.

Piazza Portanova

Porta_Nova

Popolo

So named because it represented not-aristocratic people of the city. Representatives could only report people’s complaints and actively participate in street festivals or religious processions. They were chosen among the middle class (doctors, writers, lawyers, notaries, merchants, etc.)

Largo della Selleria (current Piazza Nicola Amore)

popolo

.

MUSIC LIFE

Published December 19, 2013 by Tony

– ENZO AVITABILE –

- ENZO AVITABILE -


Celebrated to the last Art Show in Venice, “Music Life” is a documentary dedicated to Enzo Avitabile and directed by acclaimed director Jonathan Demme.
The video’s exciting images that highlight the high musical level of the musician, mixed with scenes of daily life, have been projected last week in almost all Italian movies. Through the poetic music of the Neapolitan artist, the director has created a story that follows his desire to save the world, giving to the documentary a clear political significance. In perfect communion with the sensitivity of Demme, the Avitabile’s songs, always open to contamination and differences, exhibit solidarity for the oppressed and an empathy for the margins. A video to watch.


For the uninitiated, Enzo Avitabile is a famous saxophonist, musician and songwriter from Naples, perhaps best known in Italy for the song “Soul Express”, but who has had a background in all respect. He grows in the neighborhood of Naples called Marianella, studying the saxophone, and starting to perform at 7-8 years in Americans locals of Naples, and later graduating in flute at the Conservatory of San Pietro a Majella. In 1979 his participation in the second Pino Daniele’s self-titled album, and in 1980 he gave his contribution to another important Pino Daniele’s album called “Nero a metà”. In 1982 he released his first album, “Avitabile” , which already showed his black music style, and in which one song was dedicated to the deceased friend Mario Musella (“The Showmen”‘s singer). In 1983 he released his second album, with the song “Gospel mio” sung by Richie Havens. 1986 is the year of release of one of his best-known works, “SOS Brothers”, which contains the historic “Soul Express” and “Black Out”, whose remix version won a prize in Ibiza for the best dance song of the year. In 1988 he published “Alto Voltaggio”, in which he reiterate the presence of his love for funk, with a collaboration with Afrika Bambaataa, that will bring to the creation of the album “Street Happiness”. In devising his music the singer-songwriter has never been affected by commercial logic. In 1994 he released “Easy” where he puts in music the poem ” ‘A livella” by Toto, and where in “Leave me or love me” he sang with Randy Crawford. On that time, the record company EMI saddled him with the label of “artist unmanageable”, because he refused to participate in the Festival of Sanremo. In the same year he participated to the Pistoia Blues Festival. Since 2004, his records’ covers have been signed by the anthropologist Marino Niola. In 2009 he won the Italian Targa Tenco for the best record in Neapolitan dialect, with the album “Napoletana” released the same year.

First public exhibition

Last year, in the television show “Sottovoce ” by Gigi Marzullo , Enzo said:

<< As a boy, my dreams were simple: learn to play the saxophone and meet the artists who I listened thanks to the jukebox . >>
<< The word is already music, and I like to get there with the music where the words do not come, and vice versa. There is a mantra in our Neapolitan dialect. I hope to make music but to also say something, conveying my thoughts through the music.>>
<< Naples and Marianella are the ‘Mother home’ to me, when I am back in Naples there are certain conditions, fundamental states of consciousness, which in my opinion are to be linked to certain things, because for me the (cultural) contamination is very important, but I think it is fundamental the recovery of our cultural identity. >>
<<Mine can be defined as ‘World Music’, but I wanted to borrow from the greats artists of the past the ability to move inside any form, to go over the same shape, to create new forms, which do not really have a form… this seems to be a pun, but it is a return to pure music, one that goes beyond labels.>>
<< I can define myself a loner among people, like all of us. ‘Chi nun cunosce ‘o scuro nu po’ capì a luce, nisciuno s’ape ‘a nato, ognuno è sulo’. If loneliness is introspection and constant contact with our interior, it becomes something that you live even in the tumult of everyday life, but if it becomes marginalization, it becomes a different thing. No longer a choice but a condition. >>
<< I am a street intellectual and I like if the street generates intellectuals. I am a man of everyday, but a thinking being. >>
<< The music joins and saved the world. So many times, like John Lennon, Jim Hendrix, James Brown, Bob Marley, Giovanni Pergolesi or Stravinsky have did. >>

 together Pino Daniele

The last Avitabile’s record, released last year, is titled “Black Tarantella”, which like the previous one has won the Targa Tenco, while the song “Gerardo nuvola ‘e Povere”, won the Amnesty Award Italy. As he says, is a particular recording that gets nothing to do with the words Black or Tarantella, but wants to be a tribute to the allegorical synonymy of recent years. Tarantella is the symbol of the Made in Italy, our original sound of the south, but we Neapolitans use this term to also mean something different, as we sometimes use the term black (meaning a lack of a way out) to indicate a hope, a chance. With this record I wanted to simply explore the double meaning of words and music.

together James Brown

together Tina Turner

togehter Africa Bambaataa

(Meeting with Africa Bambaataa in the Bronx, then they came to Marianella and together they made a video for the district Scampia)

NEAPOLITAN CHRISTMAS GAME

Published December 16, 2013 by Tony

THE TOMBOLA

Let’s put aside Baseball or Playstation and take the opportunity that relatives and friends are at home to play all together with a board game.

The board  games are a phenomenon quite common in Western countries as a moment of aggregation, although their importance in social life also depends on national traditions. In Germany and the German-speaking countries, for example, the culture of the table game is much more widespread than in Italy. This kind of games is important as entertainment for family, especially for those suitable for all ages.
Christmas, being a celebration that usually unites the whole family, also becomes an opportunity to play together, a way to spend a happy afternoon or evening with a board game.

And in Naples, the oldest and widespread game played during the holiday season is the ” TOMBOLA“.
It is a traditional board game just created in Naples in the eighteenth century. A home game as an alternative to the game of the LOTTO (lot), and often accompanied by a system of association between numbers and their meanings, usually humorous, deriving from “The SMORFIA“.
The Smorfia is like the dream book, used to obtain the corresponding numbers from the various dreams to play the “Lotto”, along the lines of the Jewish Kabbalistic tradition (Kabbalah). For the Smorfia, a word, an event, a person, or an object, is transformed into one or more numbers, even through a fairly accurate coding that provides a different number depending on the context. For example, the verb (action) “to play” is represented by the number 79, but it changes if you meant to play football (50), cards (17), chess (22), and so on. For The Smorfia, the number 1 represents “Italy”, while the last number, 90, represents the “fear”, as well as the number five the “hands” and 18 the “blood”.

smorfia

For the uninitiated, the Lotto is a gambling game (like lottery), the most popular game in Italy managed by the State. The word “lotto” is derived from the French ” lot ,” which means both ” portion” and “fate.” The term, arrived in the Iberian Peninsula, is documented as “lote” in Spanish and “loto” in Portuguese. The French verb “lotir ” also means “to divide the lot” or “assign the lot”. But similar term can be found in the old English “hlot” (“a thing allotted”), which correspond to “Los” in modern German.

The game consists of three weekly draws, conducted in eleven cities called “ruote” (wheels), in which are drawn 5 numbers between 1 and 90 without replacement, meaning that a number once selected is not put back in the urn. The game is to bet on one or more numbers (double, triplet, quadruplet, quintet), in the hope that they are selected in the “wheels” you had gambled. In fact, you can bet in a single wheel, multi-wheel or all-wheel.
Neapolitans are very superstitious and often bet the numbers (arising from Smorfia) corresponding to particular events or situations, or resulting from some dream. Even the numbers that are part of a just bought car’s license plate, are among those that a Neapolitan can play to The Lotto.

Lotto: extracted numbers

According to tradition, the Tombola game would be created in 1734 by a discussion between King Charles of Bourbon and father Gregorio Maria Rocco about the lottery. The first wanted it under public control, as the second considered it immoral on religious grounds. The compromise was found by banning the game during the holiday season, during which families organized themselves with a home version of the game, which soon became a custom in those days of the year.

Basically the game of Bingo is similar to Tombola, in which participants are required to pay a sum of money which is then redistributed as prizes to the winners.
The players have one or more rectangular “cards” previously “bought”, consisting of 3 lines, each with five numbers, from 1 to 90, printed on. Each time one number is drawn and it is present on one or more of the player’s cards, the player gotta cover it. In the traditional version of Tombola, the cards are simple paper cards and the numbers are can be covered with beans, chickpeas, lentils, pasta, or other materials available after the Christmas dinners, like hazelnuts’ shells. The Tombola’s cards are made in groups of six, so that in each group the numbers from 1 to 90 are present once only. A collecting box is part of the game, typically a small cone-shaped basket, filled with 90 numbers of wood. In turn, each player draws, at random, one number a time from the container, and go on until one of the players has covered all the numbers marked on one of his card. In such cases it is said that he made “Tombola”, and is the winner. Once put back in place the numbers and emptied the cards, the game resumes and another player can extract the numbers from the bowl. Depending on the amount of the prize money, players can decide to put at stake the double, the triplet, the quadruplet and the quintet, although it is the one who gets tombola to earn the top prize.

Tombola

Since Neapolitan tombola is normally played in a familiar context (as mentioned it is the traditional Christmas game), the amounts committed and won are usually small, and often have a purely symbolic value (you can “buy” three folders for 1 euro, for example). I like to buy 6 cards and to tell the truth, I’m not very lucky in this game, and although I only pay 2 Euros per session, after a couple of hours I could lose 15-20 euro! But as we say, more to comfort than anything else, “unlucky in the game, lucky in love”?
As mentioned, it is mainly a way to get together and have fun, which children may also take part, who know the numbers, at least from 1 to 90!

tombola

ROCCOCO RECIPE

Published December 13, 2013 by Tony

ROCCOCO’

Neapolitan Roccocò

Another Neapolitan delight.
I’ve talked about Neapolitan Christmas’ desserts in the post “Neapolitan Sweets”, but I now want to say more about Roccoco, the most famous and typical sweet for us.

This sort of biscuit can’t lack in each Neapolitan home because is synonymous with Christmas, and marks the end of lunch during Christmas period.
A sweet that comes from patience and dedication of the Real convent of the Magdalene‘s sisters, which perhaps is due the first preparation of the Roccocò, whose oldest recipe seems to date back to 1320.
Their name probably is derived from the French word “rocaille“, due to their hardness and baroque round shape, like a rounded shell.
Their shape, color and flavor talk us of the past, because Roccocò are impenetrable sweets, hard, dry, prosperous and humble at the same time, but yet affectionate and flavorful in their donut shape.  A tradition by now!
These biscuits are more suitable for those who have solid teeth… unless you eat them some days later the preparation, or add some yeast and cook them for less time. Some prefer to soak them in wine or liquor.
Preparation that is pretty easy but needs some ingredients that might be difficult to find in your countries. Two of them are called “PISTO” and “VANILLINA”, products already prepared powder and sold in small sachets. The benefit to using a powdered product is that when you mix it directly into a batter or a cookie dough you get the straight flavor and, like vanilla extract, without it being diluted in the alcohol.

PISTOPISTO” is an important  ingredient that gives Roccocò their typical flavor. It is formed from a mixture of various spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, coriander (cilantro) and dill. If you can not find the Neapolitan “Pisto”, you can prepare something similar by whisking together 10 cloves, a nutmeg half chopped, and half a stick of cinnamon; or mixing 2 grams nutmeg, 3 grams of cinnamon and 2 grams of cloves. I’d also add a teaspoon of anise liqueur, if you have it available.

vanillinaVANILLINA” is vanillin or vanilla extract. It is a mixture of several hundred different compounds in addition to vanillin. Artificial vanilla flavoring is a solution of pure vanillin, usually of synthetic origin. Today, artificial vanillin is made either from guaiacol or from lignin, a constituent of wood, which is a byproduct of the pulp industry. It’s used in very small quantity, like 1 gram (0,3 ounces) for a 500-600 grams cake (16-18 ounces). Failing that, you could use the vials with essence of rum, lemon, vanilla, bitter almond, butter-vanilla. Essences that you can find in some supermarket or drugstore.

INGREDIENTS

500 grams of flour (type “00”)
500 grams of sugar
300 grams of roasted almonds (you can add hazelnuts too)
7 grams of “pisto”
4-5 grams of ammonia (for food use)
1 or 2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla powder (nearly 1 gram )
A pinch of salt
1 fresh orange peel
2 clementines or tangerines’ peels
1 fresh lemon (grated rind)
250-350 grams of warm water
1 whole egg beaten, for brushing over the surface of the Roccocò.

[In the case that you have almonds not roasted, place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and cook them at 180° C (fan oven) for 10 minutes exactly. Then set aside to cool them.]

PREPARATION

On a work surface pour the flour, sugar, pisto and salt. Add the fruits’ peels  chopped in very small pieces, the grated lemon’s peel (you could replace them with small pieces of candied fruit), the vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa, ammonia and salt. Add at little a time the lukewarm water mixing with your hands the compound. Amalgamate everything well until you get a homogeneous and rather compact mixture. Knead until the dough comes off from surface and hands, becoming dry and consistent: I recommend you do not add more water than necessary.


You should get a homogeneous and rather compact mixture.
Finally insert the almonds, distributing them evenly throughout the mixture, amalgamating it again if the case.
Preheat the oven to 180° C.

Meanwhile, roll up different parts of the compound to form long strips like snakes.  Cut each strip into several pieces about 15 cm long, and roll each to form a ring, no larger than 5-7 cm.

Flatten lightly them, to get small-sized donuts, and arrange them  -spaced apart – on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

Brush their surface with the beaten egg and bake at 180° C. for NO MORE than  18-20 minutes. The right time they become “dark gold”. Extract them from the oven after that time! (These cookies become harder as the cooking time increases!) Note that they appear soft when warm, but begin to harden (how they gotta be) as they cool.

Here’s for some video

ROCCOCO’S PREPARATION
ROCCOCO’S PREPARATION