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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 !

NEAPOLITAN IDIOM

Published March 12, 2013 by Tony

NEAPOLITAN IS A LANGUAGE

Neapulitan


Few people know this, but the UNESCO recognizes the Neapolitan (nnapulitano) as a real language, and not only as a dialect.
According to UNESCO, it is the most widely spoken language of Southern Italy, the most spoken after the Italian language, and immigrants aside, it is estimated to be from 7.5 to 11 million people who know this idiom.

But this is easily explained if we think that this dialect was the official language at the time of the Kingdom of Naples, which replaced even Latin in official documents by a special decree of King Alfonso of Aragon in 1442. Kingdom which at that time included the territories of Campania, Basilicata, Abruzzi, Marche, Molise, northern Calabria, northern Puglia, southern Lazio, and part of Umbria.

It was a language and we still have to think about it this way, given that it still retains its dignity and is spoken and known by a so large number of people.
Then, do not forget that it has always been one of the most exported and known “Italian dialects” abroad, thanks to the classic Neapolitan song, one of the greatest artistic expressions of Western culture that for more than a century spreads the beauty of this language throughout the world. The Neapolitan (like Sicilian) has a rich literary tradition, a Romance language (meaning a language derived from Latin) so melodic that even the authors of the lyric genre relied on it for more catchy musical works.
However, the UNESCO also included the Neapolitan language among the most “vulnerable” ones, as, indeed, all the other dialects in Italy are. The Neapolitan idiom is not at risk of extinction, as the other dialects, and its classification as “vulnerable” comes rather by the grammar, phonetics and spelling’s rules distortion, that this idiom has undergone. In fact, during the decades the spoken Neapolitan has been altered, but the written Neapolitan is the one that undoubtedly has more been subjected to changes.

Just to give an example, someone today would write:
nu sacc caggia di pe fa n’esempio” (I do not know what to say to make an example)
while the more correct form should be:
nun saccio c’aggia dicere pe’ fà ‘n’esempio”

The main reason of the increasingly Neapolitan language’s degradation is due to the lack of any kind of teaching both by private and public, remaining a language transmitted “orally” and not “academically”. In all local schools the Italian and English are subjects of study and not the Neapolitan. The lack of teaching led new generations to know very little about the “original” written language, while the spoken language is continuously contaminated through slang, with young people who change some words and forget the meaning of others.
In Naples, very few young persons are able to write the Neapolitan properly today, and everyone, young artists included, prefer to write it simply transcribing the vulgar form how they pronounce it. The result is a deformed Neapolitan, which varies according to the person who writes it and that often becomes even difficult to interpret. Although for long time Institutions have been talking about “protection and enhancement” of the Neapolitan language, to date nothing concrete has been done.