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!
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!
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!
Scintilla @ Bell'Avventura says
I love Dalla! Always have, but I go back a long way…
Lucky you to see him sing and in such beautiful settings.
I believe he sang at Positano too for the opening of an art show in the crypt of the church.
Chef Chuck says
WoW Laura, Magical yes!!! You give me a great sense of being there. This event is one I would treasure. I feel so close to that church and now even closer! The angles give you a very different point of view on which the texture grabs you or at least me! Is this an annual event? If so,I need to contact my travel agent! I will watch the video everyday,I love it. Grazie Grazie 🙂
You write so well…this description has left me amazingly calm this morning. Very beautiful. Thanks.
Sounds like a pretty enchanting evening! I would have loved to bring Fil to that 🙂
…Next one be sure to let me know – because I'm writing from Fiumicino right now!
NOTE: One of my twitter followers suggested that it might be Jupiter and not Venus. Non sono un' astronoma! If anyone knows for sure, please do verify. Grazie!
Great post, Laura. and beautiful photographs. Jupiter is in the constellation Capricorn and found near the moon this time of year. Neptune is near also but too faint to see with the naked eye.Venus rises just before the sun..bright morning star. Great writing…thanks for sharing this romantic evening on the Amalfi Coast.
Sounds like a wonderful evening! You were lucky to hear Dalla sing in person!
Ciao Scintilla! This was my introduction to Dalla, and it was indeed magical. I have been enjoying listening to more of his music now. Wow, hearing him in the church in Positano would also be a great venue!
Ciao Chuck! I thought of you so many times during the concert and when I was taking those photos. I knew they would make you very happy! I was surprised as well about how seeing it at night highlighted the texture and colors in an interesting way. This isn't an annual event, but there are usually a few concerts held in the ruins of the church every summer. I don't know how to suggest finding out in advance about them, but I can certainly keep you posted! 🙂
Ciao Laura! Wow, [blush], thank you so very much for your very kind words. So happy to hear this post was a nice moment during your day!
Ciao Peter! I'll keep you posted for sure. 🙂 This one wasn't well advertised, and I found out about it the day before. I hope you didn't have to wait too long for your luggage at Fiumicino! (The long waits have made the news recently.)
Ciao Mom! Thanks for setting me straight about Jupiter and Venus. 🙂 I didn't know you could see Jupiter so clearly, but it has certainly been a beautiful addition to the night sky here recently.
Ciao Saretta! Yes, it was one of the lucky spur of the moment events that make me glad I always have my camera with me. 🙂
Chef Chuck says
Thank you for thinking of me, I suppose my families surrounding magical spirits were within you!! You are a wonderful person! Grazie 🙂
Ciao Chuck! Your family sure built a magnificent church all those centuries ago. Walking through the ruins, I was wishing I could have seen how beautiful it must have been when it was built. Wow! We just have to close our eyes and imagine today. 🙂