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Francesco Clemente’s Standing with Truth for Ravello 2017

In Italy, you can’t help but experience modernity within the context of the past. What is new is quite literally enveloped in what came before. But isn’t that what it should always be like? During my Washington, DC days, I was struck by a quotation from Shakespeare’s The Tempest that is carved at the base of a statue outside the National Archives. “What is past is prologue,” it reads. In a place like the Amalfi Coast, protected as it is thanks to its UNESCO World Heritage Site status, the visual landscape is a narrative that has continued unbroken from the past.

In a place with centuries of history such as the Villa Rufolo in Ravello, it’s possible to walk through its history, starting practically at the prologue in the 12th century and continuing to today. It is within this historic surrounding that a thoroughly modern exhibit has been placed this summer. As part of this year’s Ravello Festival, the show Standing with Truth for Ravello 2017 is a site-specific installation created by Neapolitan born artist Francesco Clemente in one of the Villa Rufolo’s atmospheric spots.

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The exhibit is situated in the courtyard and what was once a chapel at the Villa Rufolo. It’s a quiet and reflective setting – perfect for art exhibitions. The courtyard is flanked by two rows of bright red flags painted with symbols at once captivating and dark. A clenched fist holds colorful flowers. A sickle, broken at its base, cuts into a bleeding heart. Two strange creatures embrace. Images with an intensity that evokes a struggle.

Stepping inside the chapel, the narrative continues with a large tent entirely hand painted in tempura. The exhibition notes point out that it’s the type of tent characterized by Asian nomad shepherds. A tent as shelter, a tent as a symbol of changing places. This exhibition is themed around the idea of walls and migration – timely topics in today’s political climate around the world. Clemente has been working with the idea of tents since his ENCAMPMENT series that started about 5 years ago.

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This is a tent you can walk into, explore and experience. I happened to be there at a moment when there were no other visitors and it was a fascinating visual experience. There are ancient symbols, animals and faces that reminded me of Picasso’s Rose Period. The colors are vividly warm and I found myself creating my own narratives as I wandered around inside.

What stories do you see?

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Peering out from inside the tent, you can see the walls lined with a series of watercolors by Clemente that are on display for the first time.

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Getting up close to these watercolors, it was possible to see the incredible texture and labor that went into their design. Just look at the design in the concentric circles and the red border below. The works were full of intricate details that are exotic and traditional, playing on the theme different cultures blending together.

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Leaving the chapel, the harsh red flags reveal softer pastel color scheme with messages embroidered in gold thread. As they say, there are two sides to every story, and these flags fluttering in a summer breeze were reminders of that.

One tie-died flag caught my eye in particular. It says, “Il piu moderno qui è anche il piu’ arcaico.” That translates to: “The most modern here is also the most archaic.” Framed by the arched entrance to the chapel courtyard, it perfectly captured the setting of this contemporary art exhibit in the 12th-century ruins of the Villa Rufolo.

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It was also the catalyst for my reflections on this exhibition. If what is past is prologue, we carry not only who we were in the past with us as we move forward in life, but we also carry with us our family, back to our remotest ancestors in far flung parts of the world we have yet to even imagine. We carry that with us as we go forward, sometimes moving countries, meeting new people, making new families. We are ancient and modern all at once, just like the landscapes we move through.

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Standing with Truth for Ravello 2017 is on display at the Villa Rufolo through the end of September. Entrance to the exhibit is included when you purchase your ticket for the Villa Rufolo. More details available at www.villarufolo.com.

 

Italy Blogging Roundtable

Italy Roundtable
This blog post is part of a series called The Italy Blogging Roundtable. Every month our group of Italy based writers takes on a new theme, and you can read the contributions for this month’s topic – Modern – at the links below. We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Please share the stores if you’ve enjoyed them!

ArtTrav

At Home in Tuscany

Bleeding Espresso

Brigolante

Italy ExplainedWhere to See Modern & Contemporary Art in Italy

Girl in Florence

Italofile

 

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Check Out My Favorite Capri Walks in Dream of Italy!

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It’s been a quiet summer around here on Ciao Amalfi, but it certainly hasn’t been a quiet time. Summer is always a busy period, but this year seems especially hectic … and hot! We’ve had a heat wave on the Amalfi Coast, making usually hot August even stickier than normal. But I’ve had a lot of fun experiences this summer, including writing a feature piece in Dream of Italy’s June/ July newsletter on my favorite walks on Capri. It was a pleasure to explore the island, covering familiar pathways and discovering some new ones to me – all while taking notes and photographs for the article. I’ve shared a variety of walks, including some short and easy walks if you only have a limited time on Capri as well as some longer hikes if you’re staying for more than a day. However, all of them show you the way to discovering the natural beauty of Capri!

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You can check out a sneak peek of one of the walks on the Dream of Italy blog with Capri Walk #2: Natural Beauty Up Close. To read about all the walks, check out the Dream of Italy June/ July 2017 issue here.

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Dadini – Jewelry Inspired by the Amalfi Coast

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The Amalfi Coast is endlessly inspiring to me. Whether I’m writing or out taking photographs, there’s always something that I’m trying to capture to share or remember. I love seeing how this beautiful landscape inspires so many different types of artists. When I spotted Dadini, a local jewelry company started by Salerno native Alessandra Sessa, the influence of the Amalfi Coast in her lovely designs made me smile. What a beautiful idea! Dadini was inspired by the colors and emotions of the Amalfi Coast and, of course, the strong tradition of ceramics in the area. Each majolica cube has a design that reflects the Amalfi Coast – the blue of the sea, multi-colored homes, yellow lemons and the intricate tiles you’ll find all up and down the coast.

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Many of the colorful designs in their Amalfi Coast Collection are even named after towns along the Amalfi Coast, like the Positano, Ravello or Conca dei Marini. All the designs are charming, but it will come as no surprise that my favorite is the Amalfi! I have my eye on a few other designs to add to my collection, which I know will grow. How can you resist these colorful little designs?

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I love the joy and color captured in Dadini’s designs and in everything they do. Just look at this video, which tells a charming story. On their website it says, “Once upon a time, there was a Dadini that traveled along the Amalfi Coast from Vietri sul Mare to Positano, along the way meeting other Dadini to create a colorful bracelet.” What a fun little visual story!

 

 

Curious to find out more? Visit Dadini.com to see all their designs. You can order from the website and get free shipping in Italy, but they also ship worldwide. Add a touch of Amalfi Coast charm to your look this summer with the colors and design of Dadini!

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Disclosure: Dadini very kindly sent me the necklace featured in this blog post, which was a lovely surprise! However, the opinions in this blog post are entirely my own. I love supporting and sharing about local companies and small businesses. Shop local and support artists whenever you can!

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Ravello Festival 2017 Schedule and Tickets

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Photo by Roberto Vuilleumier and used courtesy of the Ravello Festival

 

Every year I eagerly await the announcement of the Ravello Festival program, which runs from July to September in the City of Music. The Ravello Festival 2017 schedule has finally been announced! This year’s program kicks off on July 1st with Adam Fischer conducting the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in a performance of works by Wagner – representing the roots of the Ravello Festival and Wagner’s connection with Ravello.

On July 2nd the festival changes gears dramatically from the historic inspiration of the festival to a night of contemporary dance, music and performance with noted Italian artist Francesco Clemente. This is sure to be an intriguing artistic evening in Ravello! There will also be an exhibit of Clemente’s work on display at the Villa Rufolo from July 2nd – September 30th.

Keeping with tradition, this year’s Ravello Festival presents a mix of performances in genres ranging from classical to opera, jazz and contemporary Italian and international musicians. Dance lovers will find some excellent shows to choose from, including the Stars of the American Ballet and Les Italiens de l’Opéra de Paris.

Highlights of this year’s program are Dianne Reeves on July 5th, Philip Glass on July 14th, the Wayne Shorter Quartet on July 16th, Antonello Venditti on August 4th and the traditional Concert at Dawn on August 11th.

You can book your tickets for the Ravello Festival 2017 at the online Box Office. If there’s a concert that catches your eye, it’s a good idea to book well in advance. Also,  a ticket buying tip: For inclement weather, the concerts can be moved from the Villa Rufolo gardens to the nearby Auditorium Oscar Niemeyer. However, since the space is more limited, only people with tickets in rows A, B, C, D, E, F e G will be allowed in. All other tickets are reimbursed. So if there’s a show you absolutely don’t want to miss, make sure to get a ticket in rows A to G.

Will you be seeing a show at the Ravello Festival this year? I’d love to hear which one!

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New Bus Service from Naples Airport to the Amalfi Coast

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Planning a trip to the Amalfi Coast and flying into the Naples Airport? Then I have some good news for you! There’s a new bus service that goes direct from the Naples Capodichino Airport to multiple destinations on the Amalfi Coast. And it only costs €15 per person! Reaching the Amalfi Coast by public bus has always been a bit of an adventure. It was hard for me to even recommend that as an option for travelers, especially if they didn’t speak Italian. Thankfully, Pintour has launched a new bus service the connects the Naples Airport with all of the towns on the Amalfi Coast from Vietri sul Mare to Amalfi. That includes stops at Vietri sul Mare, Raito, Cetara, Erchie, Maiori, Minori, Castiglione (where you would get off to catch a local bus up to Ravello), Atrani and Amalfi.

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There are four departure times from the Naples Airport (9:00, 12:30, 16:00, 19.30) and four departure times from Amalfi (7:00, 10:30, 14:00, 17.30). The journey takes about 2 hours each way. Tickets cost €15 per person (€10 for kids under 12) each way, and can be purchased online here. For exact departure times from each stop along the way, check out the schedules below.

 

Bus Schedule for Naples to the Amalfi Coast

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Bus Schedule from Amalfi to the Naples Airport

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This is a much needed service on the Amalfi Coast – for both locals and travelers alike. The departure times from the Naples airport comfortably cover many of the flight times for travelers arriving to visit the Amalfi Coast. And for the departure, if you have a later morning or afternoon flight from Naples, this bus service has you covered, too. The only issue with departure times is for travelers heading to the United States since those flights often leave very early from the Naples airport to make international connecting flights in Italy or Europe. If you’re leaving at a flight around 7am like I often do when flying back to America, then booking a private taxi transfer will still likely be your best option. I know some of you will be asking, “And Positano?” That town is not covered in this bus service, and will have to be another post in itself! (Spoiler alert: It’s NOT easy.)

Note: I’m looking forward to trying out this bus service to the Naples Airport, but I haven’t used it yet personally. So for any additional questions on schedules or tickets, please contact Pintour here.