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Translated by Jeff Matthews

People ask me, “Why do you stay in Naples?” so often that I start asking myself the same question. Fortunately, I have an answer: “If I had to divide art and nature, I, myself, would feel split in two.”

I'm writing this while seated on a rock at Marechiaro, at the foot of the infamous Palace of the Spirits, a Roman construction that dates to the first century BC, which challenges at once both the sense of time and the passions of youth. it's not easy to think, much less put it in down in words right now. The sun caresses your skin, the scent of the marine depths enters into your veins, and the blue of heaven, the yellow of rock, and the bright greens of nature are mirrored in the crystal waters. In the reflections you see ancient forms, cut steps, baths, platforms, hollow spaces now empty, dark chambers. You behold an entire Atlantis beneath you, submerged in the slow breathing of the earth.

Someone once wrote that the sea of Posillipo--this sea that banishes pain--was made for poets and dreamers, but this sea that ingathers all the colors of Creation confuses and enchants you, calms your senses and your imagination. The ceaseless song of these waters penetrates the rough rock and there is something ancient and pagan, something that projects you into an eternal present. And you understand. You understand why poverty, wars, tyranny and invasions have never destroyed the Parthenopean joy of life.

This is the place of memory, of infancy, of waiting, the place of the symbolic relationships among distant worlds. Artists from all the world have come to know the colors of the light and have painted the hidden treasures so future generations, too, might find them. Here rock born in that fire that is the scorching blood of the abyss is torn apart in immense and ancient caverns where the sounds of the sea echo like thunder. Here you can see tunnels that wind into the earth and empty into nothingness. On the walls you find graven stories of fatigue and secret loves. And it is here that you can still hear her, feel her presence. She passes as lightly as the sea foam, her soft skin the color of seashell, the rustling of her raiment made from all the creatures of the sea. Hear her in the storm and the good omen to ships gone astray, for there is hope for those in peril who hold her white veil in their hands. Just as she, herself, was once adrift and found shelter on our shores, so will the seafarer return home in spite of danger. Her names are as countless as the years of Man. Even today, there is a small altar near the Temple of Fortuna at Marecchiaro where fishermen invoke her, now as then, and call her White Star of the Sea.

 

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Luci ed ombre della grotta del tuono

 

Nisida dalla Grotta del Tuono

 

Sott'e 'ncoppa


 

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