A Night of Music & Magic in Scala

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Concert

 

The moon, accompanied by her bright friend Venus, shone brightly over the Amalfi Coast a few nights ago. Along the moonlit and silent coastline, the ruins of the once magnificent Basilica di Sant’Eustachio tucked up high in the mountains about Amalfi were aglow. A magical night in Scala was about to begin. As I scurried down the steps to the ruins, I heard something familiar being recited. It was an excerpt of Homer’s Odyssey telling of the brave Odysseus and his voyage past the deadly sirens, long thought to have once inhabited the coastline along the Sorrento Penninsula. Thus began an enchanting evening!

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Moon Olive Trees  La luna through the olive trees

 

The event was called Il Viaggio in Italia (The Journey in Italy) featuring solo performances by great Italian singer Lucio Dalla interspersed with readings by Marco Alemanno of writings by travelers to Italy. It was held at the ruins of the Basilica di Sant’Eustachio in Scala, which I’ve written about here on Ciao Amalfi. I couldn’t think of a more evocative setting on such a beautiful night on the Amalfi Coast. After squirming uncomfortably in the pews that had been carried down the steps and placed in the church (now I know why the church that got ride of them did so), we got up and started exploring the ruins. Seeing them inside for the first time on a moonlit night with the music and recitations in the background was truly magical!

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Sant Eustachio1

 

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Sant Eustachio2

 

It was amazing to stand right at the base of the church and see the details so closely. I was able to distinguish for the first time the original details and what was added during a restoration to stabilize the ruins in 2002. For those architecture fans, here is a video with more detail:

 

 

 

 

And for those fans of Lucio Dalla, here is a video of him singing one of my favorite songs called Caruso.

 

 

 

 

I apologize that the video is cut off, but I have a strange problem with  my camera that prevents me from making videos much longer than two minutes (or they will be stuck forever on my camera). If you want to hear the entire song, here is a moving video of Lucio Dalla performing Caruso at Naples’ San Paolo stadium. 

 

 

 

 

This concert was the opening event for a conference taking place in Scala today and tomorrow called Grand Tour: Viaggio in Italia. In an area of Italy famous for its many visitors today, it seems quite appropriate to go back to the origins of today’s tourism, the Grand Tour, which brought so many visitors from across Europe to Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries. While these original tourists brought canvases and sketchbooks rather than the digital cameras of today, they marked the trail down to Naples, further south to Calabria and onward to Sicily. These were the tourists who wrote home telling of the beauty of southern Italy, its impressive historic sites, its people, culture and traditions, and who knew they had found a place at once remarkable and unforgettable. Avanti viaggiatori! Onward travelers!

Something Fishy in Atrani

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Atrani  Pesce Azzurro1

 

Today I went for a beautiful swim in Atrani, and while I was there the city was setting up for the Festa del Pesce Azzurro, or the Festival of the Blue Fish, which takes place tonight. The city is covered with fishing nets like a haunted house might be with spider webs, and there are beautiful little fishing boats everywhere. It looks like a fun festival, and it has been recommended by my readers Una and Maria from Ireland who visit Atrani every year. The Festa del Pesce Azzurro is one of the many food festivals, or sagre, that are common all across Italy. They are usually a very tasty way to experience local specialties that vary from town to town and village to village. I was hoping to go to Atrani tonight, but other plans have come up for the evening. However, I just can’t resist sharing some photos of the fun decorations that I took this morning. Here you go:

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Atrani Boat

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Atrani Lamp

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Atrani nets

Wishing on the Stars on the Amalfi Coast

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog San Lorenzo

 

As I spend my first whole month of August on the Amalfi Coast, I am learning a lot of new things. The first is that I finally know what really crowded here really means. And I mean the really crowded, no place to park, no beach chair left unoccupied, mobs of Italian tourists sort of crowded. It ain’t pretty, and let’s just leave it at that. The up side is that I am seeing so many festivals and events for the first time, which has been a great deal of fun. Tonight is the festival for San Lorenzo, that patron of the city of Scala on the Amalfi Coast. Most of the year a quiet and sleepy little town, you will be hearing more about Scala over the coming month as I write about the Scala Meets New York festival starting tomorrow.

 

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The town is all set up for the festivities, which started yesterday evening. I am looking forward to seeing the procession, hearing the music by a band from Lecce, and seeing the fireworks display over the city for the first time. I just read a fun article online at Italy Magazine about the night of San Lorenzo that I had to share here. I didn’t know before that tonight is a night for wishing on falling stars, called the “tears of San Lorenzo,” that come from the Perseidi meteor shower. You can also head over to Bleeding Espresso where Michelle wrote a lovely post last August 10th about the La notte di San Lorenzo. All across Italy, people will be outdoors looking for falling stars and making wishes. Speaking for this hopeless romantic, you can bet I will be in Scala with eyes searching the dark night sky for shooting stars ready to make my wish!

 

May all your wishes come true!!

Out & About: Art Show in Amalfi

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Pepe Art3 

Walking through Amalfi the other day, I noticed this strange little sign advertising a mostra d’arte, an art show. Fortunately, I had a few moments to enjoy walking through this colorful and fun little exhibit of work by the artist Giuseppe Palermo, or Pepe, presented by the Presso Azienda Soggiorno e Turismo of Amalfi. I am not sure if art exhibits happen here every summer, but this is the first I have seen. I hope there will be more! The beautiful courtyard is a perfect location, and one that is often just passed by.

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Pepe Art4

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Pepe Art1

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Pepe Art2

 

This show was called “Famiglia Gialla,” or “The Yellow Family,” and all of the paintings and sculptures featured one or more of these little yellow figures. Each of the figures had a definite sense of “melancholy happiness,” as Pepe describes it, which was evident as I walked around the courtyard both wanting to laugh and to frown. It was a strange combination of emotions!

 

Ciao Amalfi Coast Blog Pepe Art5

 

While I caught this show right at the end (it closes today), you can visit the artist’s website and view his work in more detail. Be sure to check out the fun video of a recent exhibition in Ravello at the Hotel Palumbo featuring the work of Pepe, paintings by the American artist Lucy Mc Gillis, and interesting works on glass by Emilio D’Agostino. (Great practice for those of you studying Italian!)

Regatta Results 2009: Amalfi Takes Second Place

Hiding out from the pouring rain in Amalfi, I watched the Regata Storica delle Repubbliche Marinare on a TV in the crowded Gran Caffè yesterday afternoon. Pisa started out strong and stayed in the lead to win the race. Although word on the street wasn’t the best for the Amalfi team, my boyfriend said that Pisa waters are lucky for Amalfi. It’s true! They ran a good race in second the entire time, and stayed there with a photo finish with Genoa who took third. Rather unexpectedly, the Venice team, who usually win each year, came in last. I’m not sure if the Amalfitans in the bar were more excited that Amalfi came second or Venice came last. I am happy for the Amalfi team to get second! Great work guys!! Go Amalfi!!