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IMAGE Speleo 2017 17th International Congress of Speleology (ICS)
Sunday, 12 March 2017
Translated Jeff Matthews The new eBulletin for Speleo 2017, 17th International Congress of Speleology (ICS), Caves in an ancient Land, to be held in Sydney, July 23-29, 2017, is now available on-line. This is the link for the PDF download: Speleo 2017 eBulletin 12 February 2017 This is the link to the official website: 17th International Congress of Speleology (17th ICS) Read More...
IMAGE Milano Underground - the new website dedicated to Underground Milan is now online
Thursday, 09 March 2017
by Jeff Matthews S.C.A.M. (Speleological Artificial Cavities of Milan) is pleased to announce that it has now put on-line a new website dedicated to Underground Milan. It is at this URL. www.milanounderground.it. The object of the website is to present virtual guided tours of the vast number of underground spaces, both ancient and recent, and thus combine the history and archaeology of the Lombard capital. [translator's note: I have looked at the site and there are already ample photos and videos that you can enjoy even if you don't speak or read Italian. Their promotional claim is to make the site enjoyable to tourists from abroad as well as to an Italian public. Presumably, in terms of other languages, that will happen with time. - jm] contacts: www.milanounderground.it Gianluca Padovan - padovan_g@yahoo.it Ippolito Edmondo Ferrario - maestrale1976@hotmail.com https://www.facebook.com/milanosotto https://www.instagram.com/milano_underground/ Read More...
IMAGE The new “Duomo” station of the #1 line of the Naples Metropolitana
Tuesday, 07 March 2017
  by Jeff Matthews The new station was designed by Massimiliano Fuksas and will serve the Pendino quarter as well as the areas of via Marina, much of Corso Umberto I, and the immediate area around the cathedral (“Duomo”). The entrance south of the cathedral itself at Piazza Nicola Amore will be marked by an extraordinary futuristic skylight and, underground, by the incorporation in situ of the large podium of a temple to Augustus Caesar built to commemorate the Isolympic Games of Neapolis in the first century A.D. This is a unique example of fine archaeology and urban transportation. This station is certainly on the ever-growing list of “art stations” in Naples. Due to open in 2019. This is a link to two articles in English on the website Naples: Life, Death & Miracles. Read More...
IMAGE The Next Pandemic Could Be Dripping On Your Head
Monday, 27 February 2017
by Jeff Matthews That was the title of a column published under the rubric of "killer viruses" by the US National Public Radio. It focused on the Gomantong Cave in Borneo, and presumably other large caves in the world, where great numbers of bats congregate. Bats are vital for keeping the rain forest alive — they are key pollinators for more than 500 kinds of plants. But as people spread out around the globe to visit these caves, they are increasingly coming into contact with bats and the viruses they carry in their excrement — called guano. The article focuses on the potential for the appearance of unknown viruses that might cause a pandemic that could kill millions. This is the link to the complete NPR article: The Next Pandemic Could Be Dripping On Your Head The accompanying photo is from the NPR article. Read More...
IMAGE From Maranola to the Mount of the Redeemer, an Outing in the Aurunci Mountains
Tuesday, 21 February 2017
Translated Jeff Matthews Years ago as I was passing along the stretch of coastline that runs from Formia to Gaeta and staring at the Aurunci mountains, I told myself I would some day scale the heights of that bare limestone rock. The day finally came. It was a trek I shall never forget—from Maranola to the Mount of the Redeemer, an outing in the Aurunci mountains. Monte Redentore - Aurunci We left Naples at around 9 a.m. and drove north in the direction of Formia. There was heavy traffic passing the short stretch at Mondragone; it took us about an hour to reach the small medieval town of Maranola di Formia at 268 meters/800 feet a.s.l. From there we took the narrow twisting road, via del Redentore, and , still in the car, started up the climb to the “Rifugio [shelter] Pornito” and were very graciously welcomed by the family that runs the establishment. We parked the car and started the hike up “CAI [Italian Alpine Club]- trail 960” that would lead us, uphill all the way, first to the church of St. Michael the Archangel (1200 m/3660 feet] and then to the peak of Mount of the redeemer (1252 m/4100 feet). The climb is not that bad and the trail is perfectly marked and protected by a wooden railing on the side of the slope down to the valley. It's a couple of hours up to the top, and along the way every turn on the path opened onto one delightful view after another. We were lucky because once we were at the top we were enveloped in a dense fog bank that surrounded the peak. That kept us from enjoying what must certainly be a remarkable view from up there (the proprietors of the Shelter told us that on a clear day you can see all the way to Mt. Vesuvius, over 95 km/58 miles away). One further bit of information of interest to many of out readers: there are a great number of caves along the way that indeed witness to the extreme karst nature of these mountains and beckon to further adventures down into the dark spaces within. Here is a link to download a Lazio cave atlas relevant to the Aurunci mountains. At this link you will find some the photos we took on the way up to the Mount of the Redeemer. ...and here is the video. (There is additional information on the website, Naples: Life, Death & Miracles at this link.) http://www.naplesldm.com/mountredent.php Good viewing. Read More...
IMAGE The Lava of the Vergini
Friday, 17 February 2017
Translated Jeff Matthews An interesting website has published an article that reconstructs the story of the so-called "Lava dei Vergini"  (a quarter of Naples. "Lava" refers to the periodic drastic flooding that afflicted the area for centuries, flooding from rainfall run-off so severe that it actually shaped the landscape of that section of the city. The Italian version is on the website "Cose di Napoli": La Lava dei Vergini. There is an English-language icon for a translation that is, unfortunately, inadequate. There is another version on the site Naples: Life, Death & Miracles at this link. http://www.naplesldm.com/virgin.php#lava Good reading! The photo accompanying this notice is from the "Cose di Napoli" website. Read More...
IMAGE The underground photography of David Seymour
Friday, 17 February 2017
Translated Jeff Matthews Thanks to the curiosity of a dear friend, architect Pasquale Dell'Aversa, and his scouting around the internet, I found this marvelous shot of a bit of (probably) Neapolitan life, shot after WWII. The only information I was able to discern was "This is by the Polish photographer, David Seymour, active in Europe after the war and was taken in 1948." The same collection contains the second image, as well, and is perhaps of the same quarry in Naples. There is an entry on David Seymour in the English Wikipedia at this link. David Seymour (IT) David Seymour (EN) Good viewing! Click on the images to enlarge Photo 1 Photo 2 Read More...
IMAGE Bunker north of Naples
Tuesday, 14 February 2017
Translated Jeff Matthews The search continues for more bunkers left over from WWII along the streets near the beaches nord of Naples. Here is another such structure uncovered on via Madonna del Pantano in Licola by Antonio Alescio; after looking at Napoli Underground's published documentation on the subject, he got enthusiastic about lending us a hand in building up our archives. As is the case with the others we have discussed, this bunker, too, is circular and was part of German defences against a potential Allied landing on these beaches. Link to images of other bunkers Click on images to enlarge  The bunker on via Madonna del Pantano at Licola  The bunker on via Madonna del Pantano at Licola - front view Read More...
IMAGE NAPOLI ABOVE AND BELOW - 14. «And lo! towards us coming in a boat…»
Tuesday, 07 February 2017
Translated Jeff Matthews The stairway leads from the Bourbon Gallery (Tunnel) down to the underlying “tunnel of corruption” (galleria del malaffare), now flooded. A narrow passage opens onto an enormous empty space, a quarry, now a cistern; little by little you descend, accompanied by sounds that echo in the dark, the sounds of footwear treading upon metal steps. Then there is a pier fashioned of metal pipes and wooden planks laid such as to let you board the raft. Gianluca Minin, somewhat of an apprentice Charon [trans note,JM: In Greek mythology, Charon, was the ferryman of Hades who carried souls of the newly deceased across the rivers that divided the world of the living from the world of the dead], will lead you along the underground route, flooded with water that has filtered in. You are moving through the never completed and now abandoned tunnel of the Light Rail Transport (L.T.R.) train line, mute witness to fraud and the waste of public monies, today transformed into a most unusual tourist attraction. Dante Alighieri wrote: “And lo! towards us coming in a boat / An old man, hoary with the hair of eld, / Crying: 'Woe unto you, ye souls depraved! / Hope nevermore to look upon the heavens; / I come to lead you to the other shore, /To the eternal shades in heat and frost.” (Inferno, III 82-87) For guided tours into Charon's tunnel it's a good idea to book ahead:Galleria Borbonica: 081.7645808 – 366.2484151galleriaborbonica.commail@galleriaborbonica.com And Virgil exclaimed: “"Vex thee not, Charon; / It is so willed there where is power to do / That which is willed; and farther question not." (Inferno, III 94-96) Gianluca Padovan (Ass.ne S.C.A.M. – F.N.C.A.) [trans. note, JM: Passages from Dante's Inferno are cited in the translation by H.W. Longfellow. As well, the unattributed photo captions are from the same translation.] Click images to enlarge 1. these words in sombre colour ... (ph. G. Padovan) 2. their sense is hard to me! ... (ph. G. Padovan) 3. we to the place have come, where I have told thee ... (ph. G. Padovan) Read More...

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