Sunday, November 28, 2010


HAPPY THANKSGIVING, Tutti Gatti Selvatici!

I do hope all is well. I tried to send this out last Thursday, but the Gods of AOL email lists got in the way. So…a little late…

As most of us on my FSHS/NAHS distro list are military brats of one hue or another, and many also served in the Armed Forces in uniformed or civilian duty, I’d like to share with you a couple of emails that I received on the 24th, one from retired USCG Captain Bruce Stubbs and the other from the Quotation of the Day (QOTD) sent by FSHS Dad Dr. Ed Whitman (whose sons and daughter attended FSHS in 1979-81, I recall…). We have so much for which to be thankful…with our experiences in Bella Napoli and Italia certainly right up at the top of the list!

From Bruce:

Thanksgiving Day Greeting:

On December 18th 1777 General George Washington and his army, as instructed by the Continental Congress, deliberately stopped in bitter weather in the open fields on their way to Valley Forge to celebrate the first Thanksgiving.

As one Continental Army surgeon put it, "Mankind is never truly thankful for the benefits of life, until they have experienced the want of them." According to some historians, the Continental Army's Thanksgiving feast consisted of a half cup of rice and a tablespoon of vinegar.

With that remembrance along with the recognition that today our service men and women continue to serve nobly in Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea, Djioubti, Bosnia and a host of other places, protecting our freedom and truly making the world more secure and better, I am grateful for their selfless duty and for the life my family and I live with all its blessings.

I wish you and all our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen Safe Journeys, a Happy Thanksgiving, and God's
Continued Blessing.

PS - For the Historians among us:

On 1 November 1777 Samuel Adams wrote the following in a Resolution before the Continental Congress:

"It is therefore recommended... to set Thursday the eighteenth of December next, for solemn thanksgiving and praise, that with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor... "

The Samuel Adams resolution adopted by the Continental Congress in 1777 seems to have been the first Thanksgiving proclamation in the United States, but it was largely inspired by the American victory in the battle of Saratoga, rather than any remembrance of the Pilgrim fathers. President Washington decreed the first national Thanksgiving Day for 26 November 1789, and the custom was revived by President Lincoln during the Civil War. After some fiddling with the dates, Congress in 1941 finally settled on the fourth Thursday in November for our most distinctive national holiday.

And from Ed:

Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.”

Estonian proverb

Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,
From North and South, come the pilgrim and guest.
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board,
The broken links of affection restored,
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before.
What moistens the lips and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich pumpkin pie?

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)
("The Pumpkin")

Gratius animus est una virtus non solum maxima,
sed etiam mater virtutum omnium reliquaram.

(A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue,
but the mother of all other virtues.)

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.)
(Oratio pro Cnaeo Plancio, 23)

From too much love of living,
From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be.
That no life lives forever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.

Algernon Swinburne (1837-1909)
(The Garden of Proserpine)

I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains. Go outside into the fields, nature, and the sun; go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God. Think of the beauty that again and again discharges itself within and without you, and be happy.

Anne Frank (1929-1945)
(The Diary of Anne Frank)

Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for - annually, not oftener - if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months, instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians. Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man's side, consequently on the Lord's side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and to extend the usualannual compliments.

Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Turkey, n. A large bird whose flesh when eaten on certain religious anniversaries has the peculiar property of attesting piety and gratitude.
Incidentally, it is pretty good eating.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?)
(The Devil's Dictionary)

In this world of sin and sorrow, there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.

H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)

My favorite table grace is frequently attributed to Scots poet Robert Burns (1759-1796) as the "Selkirk Grace," but it was likely already in use before he wrote it down:

"Some hae meat and canna eat,
and some wad eat that want it,
but we hae meat and we can eat,
and sae the Lord be thankit.")

And here is just about everybody's favorite Thanksgiving hymn, translated by Theodore Baker from the Nederlandtsch Gedencklanck. The familiar music is a 16th-century Dutch melody arranged by Edward Kremser (1838-1914):

Tante grazie, Bruce…Ed!


Last FSHSGRAM in October I attached in a single, “zipped” folder that had both the Word and Excel versions of the FSHS Wildcats Alumni Contacts Database. If you were not able to open the “zipped” folder, let me know. I’ll resend both separately or the one or the other version. The next FSHSWACD updates will distro in January 2011. FSHWACD Co-Conspirator
Pat Carter Bryant (FSHS 68 / and I will be standing by to update and add new Wildcats to the database.

Wildcats “Wring” in the Anno Nuovo 2011

A tradition in the DC/Baltimore region for about 10 years now, Wildcats will “wring” in the New Year on 8 January 2011, at Cucina Vivace, Arlington (Crystal City), Virginia, from 7PM to close. We had almost the entire ristorante to ourselves last January, and several of us have dined there other times: squisito! (See: If we get at least 30 people, Napoli-born Chef and Owner Gordon Vivace will let us have the place all to ourselves.

If you’re interested, please let me know soonest. I have to get the final count to Gordon by 3 January. He can work up a family-style dinner or we can order from the menu. I’ll be back with more info about costs, etc.

Italia from Space

Merrilee Fellows (FSHS 68 / sends this link for a spectacular view of Italy:

Astronauts have taken a spectacular nighttime picture of Italy from the Cupola observation deck of the International Space Station (ISS). See this link for accompanying text:

To see the image directly, go here:,1.jpg=

That’s about it for today.

Be well…send info about FSHS/NAHS goings-on, and I’ll work it in the next FSHSGRAM. And, if you so desire, forward this FSHSGRAM to FSHS/NAHS Gatti Selvatici on your lists.

Napoli News below.


Scott T FSHS 68 /

Napoli News

Several Wildcats alerted me to these stories about Pompeii:

Most of Pompeii site at risk of collapse
10 Nov, 2010, 11.09AM IST,IANS

NAPLES: Almost three-quarters of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii was "at risk" of collapse and 40 per cent of its buildings in need of highly urgent restoration work, a media report said.

Seven out of ten of Pompeii's ancient buildings were in danger of collapse and only thirty per cent were in good condition, while forty per cent were crumbling, according to a 2005 report cited Tuesday by Naples daily Il Mattino.

A volcanic eruption in 79 AD buried Pompeii under 6 metres of volcanic ash, preserving much of the city. The archaelogical site extends over 76 hectares.

The report surfaced after the collapse Saturday of one of the most archaeologically important houses in Pompeii, the 2,000-year-old House of the Gladiators during heavy rains.

The collapse of the celebrated structure shocked the world and prompted calls for Italian Culture Minister Sandro Bondi's resignation. Pompeii is a UNESCO World Heritage Site .

Bondi was due to report Wednesday to the Italian parliament on the disaster. The building is thought to have been used by combatants to train or relax before entering the nearby amphitheatre.

Bondi has said he believes the damage was caused by faulty restoration in the 1950s and by the recent heavy rains.

The 2005 report on Pompeii, located near Naples in southern Italy, was commissioned by its former superintendent Pietro Giovanni Guzzo and carried out by a team of archaeologists and architects.

Pompeii is the largest archaeological site in the world. It received 2.2 million visitors in the first 10 months of 2010, according to Antonio Varone, director of excavations at the site.

Police have sealed off the area around the collapsed building and an investigation is underway. Archaeologists are assessing the current state of the site and police have been searching the Pompeii Archaelogical Superindendency offices for any relevant documents, according to Il Mattino.

It was not clear what action was taken to safeguard buildings at Pompeii after the 2005 report. In January this year, a wall surrounding the nearby House of the Chaste Lovers collapsed amid heavy rains.

Work was reportedly done on the roof of the 2,000-year-old House of the Gladiators in 2007. The structure was rebuilt in the 1950s after it was flattened in World War II bombing raids.

Critics say Pompeii and dozens of other ancient Italian sites risk damage or destruction because of mismanagement and a lack of maintenance, in part owing to culture funding cuts.

Italy's ancient wonders crumble from neglect: Pompeii collapse just the latest
By Frances D'Emilio (CP) – Nov 9, 2010

ROME — Italy is rich in ancient wonders, but the real wonder may be that so many are still standing given the poor care they get.

The collapse in Pompeii last week of a frescoed house where gladiators prepared for combat was the latest archaeological accident waiting to happen. The structure was a piece of storied past that had survived the furious explosion of Vesuvius in 79 A.D. — but apparently could not withstand modern-day neglect.

"We're stunned when some walls fall down. But these are ruins not systematically maintained, so the miracle is that so few of them collapse," said Andrea Carandini, a world-renowned archaeologist who leads a panel of professional consultants in the Cultural Ministry.

Last spring, a huge segment of the now underground complex of Nero's fabled Golden Palace in Rome gave way, raining down pieces of vaulted ceiling in one of the galleries beneath a garden popular with strollers. Three years ago, a 6-meter (20-foot) section of ancient wall named after the 3rd century Emperor Aurelius, who built it to defend Rome against the first onslaught of barbarians, crumpled into a pile of bricks after days of heavy rain.

A couple of months ago, three chunks of mortar broke off the Colosseum, hours before the symbol of the Eternal City opened its gates to tourists.

While the ancient Roman arena of gladiator battles and other spectacles has survived earthquakes, lightning strikes and pillaging, architects and engineers still fret about the architectural marvel, eroded by pollution, rattled by subway cars running nearby, and still suffering from centuries of poor drainage.

But topping experts' list of potential perils is the Palatine Hill. For years, archaeologists and structural engineers have been issuing alarms that the once palatial homes of Rome's ancient emperors risk collapse because of poor upkeep.

Fissures are apparent in brickwork, and rainwater seeps through stone, forcing the closure of much of the hill's expanse to tourists.

Pompeii's gladiator barracks along the doomed city's main street joined a list of other recent victims of neglect in the sprawling remains that were once buried under the volcanic ash of Vesuvius' wrath.

Among the more noted casualties was the collapse in January of the House of the Chaste Lovers, which was excavated in 1987, a relatively recent addition for the 3 million tourists who tread the Pompeii's stone paths each year.

"We are tired of commenting on the continuous collapses and damage to the archaeological heritage of our country," said Giorgia Leoni, president of the Italian Confederation of Archaeologists in a statement after the gladiators' place fell apart on Saturday.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano on Tuesday decried what he called "terrible negligence" as a chief reason for national embarrassments like the Pompeii collapse.

Carandini, interviewed on Italian radio, warned that should Pompeii be hard hit by an earthquake — "we wouldn't be able to do a (complete) restoration" because no relief map has ever been made of the site. The Naples area, which hosts the ruins, is one of Italy's most earthquake-prone.

Lovers of antiquities here have long bemoaned the chronic shortage of funding — relative crumbs in the national budget pie — for routine maintenance of treasures to shore up shaky structures and save them for posterity.

Italy's Cultural Ministry, whose duties include caring for and repairing ancient monuments and artworks, gets a mere 0.18 per cent of the national budget, compared to roughly 1 per cent for France, according to ministry officials. It's a startling contrast for a nation that boasts the world's highest number of ruins, churches, monasteries and other artistic and architectural treasures — helping to make tourism one of Italy's biggest industries.

Ironically, experts describe Italy as being "in the avant-garde for programs of prevention, for pinpointing" potential peril with the help of architects and engineers, and drawing up a "kind of map of risk."

Giorgio Croci, one of Italy's best-known engineers for structural problems, said the nation's know-how is so in demand that Turkey has commissioned him to study Istanbul's monuments for potential perils.

"But one of the woes of this country is a bureaucracy that's paralyzing," he said. "In some cases, plans just languish in the drawers of officials or bureaucrats."

Greece, with its legacy of ancient marvels, seems to do a better job at keeping its treasures intact.

On the whole, Greek sites have benefited from a generously-funded restoration and conservation program over the past decades. Although Greece is staggering through a severe economic crisis, work has continued on the Acropolis, whose marble temples and monumental gates have been painstakingly taken to pieces, sorted out and stuck together.

That work started after experts realized, in the 1970s, that quick action was needed because of worsening pollution and damage from past restorations.

In Italy, private sponsors, ranging from utility companies to mattress manufacturers, fill some of the gap. But they pick and choose, often "adopting" only the most high-profile projects, seldom unheralded but crucial work such as removing wildflower roots from cracks in millennia old stonework.

Croci said the Pompeii collapse might have been avoided if simple, affordable measures had been taken preventatively — such as injecting material to encourage cohesion in the stone or simply covering the structure with some kind of shelter.

"A lot of the interventions are not that costly," said Croci, who has mapped out weak spots in the Colosseum and Palatine Hill ruins.

The structure was repaired in 1947 after damage from World War II bombing, and the use of reinforced concrete in that restoration was cited by some as a possible cause for the collapse.

Inspecting the wreckage on Tuesday, Pompeii's recently appointed superintendent, Jeannette Papadopoulos, said reinforced concrete was "slowly" being removed from some of the earlier restorations but that "unfortunately" restorers hadn't gotten around to tackling the gladiators' building.

Croci, who hasn't inspected the collapsed house, disagreed, citing infiltration of rainwater rather than concrete as the more likely culprit.

During a walkabout through the ruins two days after the collapse, a noted Pompeii expert pointed to rivers of rain runoff — as a state TV camera rolled — pouring through the sprawling site because weeds were clogging gutters and sewers.

"All you need is a team of artisans, carpenters and such to call when you see a simple problem," said Fabrizio Pesando, a professor at Naples University of Oriental Studies.

Berlusconi blasted after Pompeii house collapses
08/11/10, 12:14 pm

CALLS FOR AN Italian UNESCO world heritage site to be privatised have intensified following the collapse of a 2,000 year-old building in the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii.

The House of the Gladiators, which had stood for millennia at the site near modern-day Naples, collapsed before dawn on Saturday.

Italy’s opposition parties have accused Silvio Berlusconi’s government of neglect and mismanagement, and have called for the site to be privatised and removed from state control, The Guardian reports.

The building was once was used as a club house for Roman gladiators, which they would use as place for training and relaxing before going to battle in a nearby amphitheatre. It would appear that the combination of heavy rain, a recent roof restoration and a chronic lack of routine maintenance are to blame for the building’s collapse.

Today, approximately 2.5 million tourists visit Pompeii every year. Visitors were not usually allowed to walk inside the House of the Gladiators, however they were permitted to view the facade. The walls of the building were decorated with frescoes of military themes – which the Culture minister Sandro Bondi said could be saved after he visited the site on Sunday.
However, Democratic Party (PD) deputy Luisa Bossa is quoted in the Irish Times as saying:

I’ve been sounding the alarm about Pompeii for months. This very serious collapse is proof that the government and Minister Bondi have underestimated the problem… At the site this summer, there were bulldozers, diggers, cement mixers and pneumatic drills. Not even the slightest regulations for the stability of the archaeological site were respected.  
Experts and residents have complained for many years about the maintenance of the heritage sites around the area, and two years ago the Italian government declared a state of emergency for Pompeii. However, this lasted for just one year and the government, again, drew sharp criticism for their management of the funds collected.”

Professor Christopher Smith, the director of the British School in Rome told the London Telegraph:

Archeological sites are always at risk when they are open to the elements but the problems at Pompeii have been going back for decades and our experience is that you need a good plan for maintenance and administration.  

Unless there is a proper plan put into action I’m very sad to say that we will see this sort of thing happen again – buildings that are at risk must be secured or they will collapse.”

The city of Pompeii was destroyed in AD79 when a huge eruption from nearby volcano Mount Vesuvius buried the entire area – and everyone in it – in heavy volcanic ash. The near-perfectly preserved city was uncovered in the 18th Century.

To this day an incredible 40 per cent of the city is closed or yet to be examined.

Italy PM replaces penis on statue, angers experts

ROME 19 Nov 10 – Italy's culture ministry on Friday defended Premier Silvio Berlusconi for giving ancient marble statues in his office replacement body parts, to the horror of art restorers.

The ministry, which is led by a close ally of the premier, said in a statement there's no cause for alarm: The hand added to Venus and the penis added to Mars are attached by magnets and can be removed without damage.

For decades, restorers have widely agreed that missing parts of ancient statues should not be recreated.

Rome daily La Repubblica quoted Vatican Museums director Antonio Paolucci, one of Italy's top restoration experts, as saying "it's a pity" restorers didn't say no to Berlusconi's request to add parts to the 2nd century statues in Chigi Palace, the premier's office.

But Berlusconi's personal architect insisted in an interview with Associated Press Television News that the restoration was justified.

Mario Catalano said the restoration of the missing parts was based of scans of "other works with similar poses and with the agreement of the ministry's restorers."

He said the statues were among many ancient treasures relegated to the storerooms of Rome's museums because there just isn't enough space to display everything.

The sculptured pair "would have never seen the light of day" had Berlusconi not decided to have them taken from the storerooms and put in the palace courtyard, Catalano said.

Chigi Palace is also the official residence of Italian premiers, although most of them, including Berlusconi, decide to live elsewhere in the capital while in power. The building, begun in the 1500s and named after Pope Alexander VII of the Chigi family, is used for the premier's official business.

Benevento Missal returns home

Sixty-five years after the end of the second world war, the precious manuscript is the first item of Nazi-era loot to be returned by a UK national museum

By Martin Bailey

BENEVENTO, ITALY. Laureato Maio, the 84-year-old cathedral librarian, lifted the early 12th-century missal from its box, and brought it to his lips. He closed his eyes and kissed the bound codex for a full minute, deep in thought. On 11 November, 65 years after the end of the World War II, the precious manuscript from Benevento (near Naples) became the first item of Nazi-era loot to be returned by a UK national museum, in this case the British Library.

Maio is the 49th librarian at Benevento Cathedral since records began, in the year 998. He remembers the chapter library in the late 1930s, in his early teens, and as a young seminary student he witnessed the terrible destruction wrought on his city by allied bombing in 1943. The cathedral was almost totally destroyed, but its manuscripts were saved. However, soon afterwards one of the early codices disappeared: a missal written in Benevento’s unique script soon after 1100.

In 1944 the missal was bought from a book dealer in Naples by a British army officer, who sold it three years later at Sotheby’s, where it was acquired by the British Library (see related article). Following a ten-year legal claim, the manuscript was finally restituted. On 9 November it was formally handed over to Jeremy Scott, the UK lawyer from Withers who was acting for the cathedral chapter. Working pro bono, he had assembled the evidence and successfully argued the case. Scott also acted as a courier, flying to Naples with the extremely valuable manuscript as hand luggage.

The handover ceremony took place two days later at an international academic symposium on medieval Latin literature. The venue was the city’s Teatro Comunale, which had remained a bombed ruin until 1997, when it was eventually reconstructed. In Benevento, the war still seems ever-present. By coincidence Scott was speaking when the clock struck 11am, on the 11th day of the 11th month—the moment when Britons and Americans remember their war dead.

Talking to The Art Newspaper just after the restitution, the archbishop said that the return of the missal was like “a son coming back to join his family”. With real emotion, he thanked the British Library for having looked after the manuscript so carefully since 1947.

Following the meeting, I walked to the chapter library, arriving just at the same moment as Mario Iadanza, head of the cathedral’s culture office. He was clutching the heavy carrying case provided by the British Library for the missal and he was struggling to find his keys.

Iadanza obviously did not want to put the case on the damp paving stones, so I instinctively offered to help, reaching out to take the case. Iadanza unlocked the door. And so it was that I carried the missal over the threshold into the library for the last few yards of its 1,000-mile journey from London.

Ten years ago, when I visited Benevento to research the loss of the missal, Maio told me that he had given up all hope of ever seeing it again. There had been a legal claim against the British Library in 1978, five years before he took over as librarian, which had been rejected. On my 2000 visit, I explained that the British government had recently introduced a new policy on artworks spoliated during the Nazi era and a panel had been set up to deal with claims.

Maio expressed disbelief that there had been any real change, but the then archbishop, Serafino Sprovieri, persevered and submitted a claim to the UK’s Spoliation Advisory Panel through Scott. When the recommendation eventually went in Benevento’s favour, Sprovieri told us that “England is great in the esteem to which it upholds the law, contrary to the popular proverb ‘Perfidious Albion’…”, a favourite expression of Mussolini.

Last month, after lovingly greeting the bound volume, Maio opened it, showing me a few of the most beautiful illuminated initials. He then found some Beneventan musical notation, which is among the earliest in Europe (along with those for Gregorian chants). Maio quietly began to chant from the missal.

When the manuscript was eventually being put away, I asked whether its former inventory number 29 would be inscribed on the spine of the rebound manuscript, to match the style of the other forty early codices in the cathedral’s collection. “Definitely,” Iadanza said, immediately adding “and also 3511”—which was the British Library’s inventory number. This was the cathedral’s gracious way of acknowledging that although legal ownership of the manuscript has returned to Benevento, it had spent 63 of its 900-year-old history in London, where it was well cared for.

'Tears of Christ' at risk due to Naples rubbish dump

The crisis over toxic rubbish dumps near Naples is endangering some of southern Italy's most celebrated agricultural products, including a renowned wine known as Lacryma Christi, or Tears of Christ.

By Nick Squires in Rome

Farmers and environmentalists fear that pollution from a controversial rubbish dump on the slopes of Mt Vesuvius is polluting the region's soil and groundwater supplies.

One of Italy's most famous wines, Lacryma Christi has been referenced by the English poet Christopher Marlowe and by Alexandre Dumas in The Count of Monte Cristo.

The wine, said to be made from the tears of Christ which turned into grape vines, is grown in the rich volcanic soil on the slopes of the volcano, close to two rubbish dumps which have sparked riots between angry locals and police in the past few weeks.

Neapolitans fear that the dumps are putting at risk the region's highly prized apricots, cherry tomatoes and other fruit and vegetables, as well as discouraging tourists from visiting the ancient Roman cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii.

"We have plum cherry tomatoes, over 50 types of apricots and world-renowned wines like Lacryma Christi," said Ugo Leone, the head of the Vesuvius National Park.

"It's obvious that toxins in the water and air where these products are grown will have a negative effect and products will severely suffer."

Hundreds of locals have protested over an existing dump as well as plans to open a second facility that would be Europe's largest tip.

Both are located within the national park, although the government announced last week that the new tip had been put on hold.

Naples has been plagued for years by problems of waste disposal, with the local Camorra mafia accused of making money out of illegally dumping highly toxic waste.

Andrea Bocelli's Naples

The Italian tenor, Andrea Bocelli, talks about his enduring affection for Naples in southern Italy.

Interview by York Membery 11:24AM GMT 15 Nov 2010


It’s a great historic city, with a stunning location on the Bay of Naples with Vesuvius in the background. And the Neapolitans are a unique people – they have an original creative solution to everything. Plus it’s a city of music. One of my favourite singers, the tenor Enrico Caruso, came from the city.

Have a pizza and then a coffee – because the coffee in Naples is, quite simply, the best in the world. The quality of a coffee depends very much on the water and I guarantee you won’t get a better cup anywhere.


The city has lots of good hotels but my advice would be to find one with a view, by the sea. I’m afraid I couldn’t possibly single out one or I would almost certainly upset some of my Neapolitan friends.


When I visit, I like to have a coffee at a historic coffee-bar, the Caffè del Professore (0039 081 403041). It’s right in the centre, not far from the Teatro di San Carlo, the city’s celebrated opera house.


One of my favourite places is Ciro a Mergellina (081 667046). It’s famous for its pizzas, which are absolutely delicious – perhaps the best in the city.


I’ve never had a bad meal in Naples but I like to try different restaurants, so I usually ask the hotel concierge to recommend a place. If you do that, you can’t go wrong.


They should undoubtedly go to the Piazza Plebiscito, the largest square in the city, which is named after the vote taken in 1860 that brought Naples into the unified Kingdom of Italy. I’d also recommend going for a walk by the sea.


Well, there are some parts of the city where it’s not advisable to go, but if you stick to the city centre and the main tourist areas you should be fine. Just be sensible and don’t take risks.


The city is well-known for its mandolins, so if you’re a music-lover, or know one, that’s what I’d go for. I’ve actually got a mandolin I bought there at home.

Italy asked to pay up for Elton John concert

By Samyuktha Krishnappa | November 21, 2010 3:18 AM EST

Italy has learned a valuable lesson - rocking with Elton John costs a fortune. An all-out controversy broke out over the veteran British musician's concert at Naples after the European Union (EU) learnt that Italy drew money from the European Regional Development Fund to pay for the September 2009 show.

The EU union on Friday sent off a letter to the Italian Finance Ministry as well as and authorities in the Campania region stating that it will have to repay 720,000 euros ($981,000), part of a 2.25 million euros ($3,070,349.87) grant to Italy's Campania region to promote regional development, which was used to organize the concert.

The EU asserts that the money was intended at funding "structural long-term investments" aimed at promoting Campania, and not for a "one-off rock concert". Ton Van Lierop, an EU spokesman, has revealed that European Commission is "taking this matter really seriously".

The organizers, on the other hand, claim that the concert at Piazza Plebiscitto, which was part of the Piedigrotta Festival, was aimed at promoting the Naples area.

Campania, a region in southern Italy and home to Naples, is under the grips of a powerful Italian crime syndicate, the Camorra, which is known for extorting money from local governments and businesses.

Controversy outbreak

The row over Elton John's concert and the alleged misuse of 2007 EU grant broke out when Mario Borghezio, a member of the European Parliament from Italy's Northern League party, dubbed the use of EU subsidies to fund the Naples concert as "shameful and criminal."

Borghezio also filed a complaint with the European Parliament, in turn leading to an investigation by the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm.
The conflict point

While cultural projects are, in fact, considered as one of the legitimate ways to use developmental funds, the conflict arises from the fact that the EU argues that a rock show does not qualify as a "structural long-term investment".
In Ton van Lierop's words, "Cultural events, culture in general, can fall under the scope of operational programmes, but they have to be aimed at structural long-term investments."

Italy's counter argument

Ever since the row broke out, Italy has maintained that the concert was not only aimed at promoting the region's culture, but was also a "marketing operation".

Dario Scalabrini, the ex-head of region's tourism office, had justified the concert saying it promoted Neapolitan culture.

"Elton John sang the Neapolitan song O Sole Mio for the first time ever. The audience was crying with emotion," he said.

Dario Scalabrini, a former Campania official who organized the festival, justified that the concert as a "huge marketing operation for the city of Naples."

Reports: Mudslides spawned by heavy rains kill 3 in Italy; train derails and rivers overflow

By The Associated Press (CP)

ROME — News reports say mudslides spawned by heavy rains in Tuscany and elsewhere in northern Italy have killed three people. Several others were injured after their train derailed from mud-flooded tracks.

Civil protection crews issued alerts Monday for several northern rivers that they may breach if the rains continue and officials urged people to refrain from driving for fear of getting trapped in flooded underpasses.

The ANSA news agency says schools were cancelled for Tuesday in Vincenza, one of the hardest hit areas. Ferry service was cancelled to many of Italy's outlying islands off Naples and Sicily because of high winds.

RAI state radio said a mother and son were pulled from their mudslide-ravaged home early Monday; another man was found later.

Nato/ La Russa: Italia intende mantenere il comando di Napoli
Ma ogni decisione è stata rinviata al 2011

Roma, 17 nov. (Apcom) - La struttura della Nato verrà "ridotta e semplificata" attraverso una revisione dei comandi alleati sul territorio dei Paesi membri: l'Italia ambisce a mantenere l'attuale Comando interforze che ha sede a Napoli. Lo ha detto il ministro della Difesa Ignazio La Russa alle Commissioni riunite Affari esteri e Difesa di Camera e Senato sul Vertice Nato di Lisbona del 19 e 20 novembre 2010.

La Russa ha spiegato che la revisione della presenza dei comandi "potrebbe interessare l'Italia", nonostante "l'esatta collocazione geografica dei Comandi della Nato che resteranno in vita sarà rinviata al 2011". E' però "interesse dell'Italia mantenere l'attuale Comando interforze di Napoli", ha commentato.

Berlusconi government loses fifth minister in a week – former Miss Italy contestant

Silvio Berlusconi's faltering government is to lose another minister – a former Miss Italy contestant, men's magazine model and protégé of the prime minister.

By Nick Squires in Rome

Mara Carfagna, 34, was a television showgirl and model when she was spotted by Mr Berlusconi and propelled into politics despite her lack of experience.

He appointed her minister for equal opportunities when he was re-elected in 2008 and she has always been a favourite of the 74-year-old media mogul, making the announcement of her resignation all the more pointed at a time when Mr Berlusconi's hold on power appears to be shakier by the day.

Miss Carfagna, once named by a German newspaper as "the world's most beautiful minister", will step down on Dec 15 – a day after the ailing centre-Right coalition faces a crucial no-confidence vote in parliament.

She will cast a vote for the government before quitting not only her ministerial post, but also parliament and membership of Mr Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party.

"I am going to resign as a member of parliament... and I will of course be resigning as a minister as it appears that my contribution no longer carries any influence," she said.

The glamorous former starlet appears to have fallen out with Mr Berlusconi over the government's lacklustre response to a crisis over thousands of tonnes of uncollected rubbish in Naples, in her home region of Campania.

She is reported to have clashed with one of the prime minister's key allies and to have disagreed over how to tackle the problem, which has left streets in Naples choked with piles of rotting refuse and provoked weeks of clashes between angry locals and riot police.

Miss Carfagna is the fifth member of the government to leave in just over a week, after four ministers loyal to Gianfranco Fini, Mr Berlusconi's main challenger, withdrew from the coalition.

She drew the ire of Berlusconi loyalists by appearing to flirt with the idea of joining Mr Fini's newly-formed Future and Liberty party.

Mr Berlusconi shrugged off her departure, however and claimed that he still has the support to win the confidence vote in both the lower and upper houses of parliament next month.

Under the Italian constitution, he would be compelled to resign if he loses the vote in either the Chamber of Deputies or the Senate.

He claimed that opinion polls commissioned by his party showed that his personal approval rating among voters was 56 per cent.
Recent independent surveys, however, put the figure at less than 35 per cent.

On Saturday a protest by around 13,000 people was held in the earthquake-hit city of L'Aquila in central Italy to protest against the slow pace of reconstruction.

Much of the city's medieval centre is still off limits, more than 18 months after the April 2009 quake, with around 30,000 inhabitants unable to return to their homes and living in hotels, army barracks or other temporary accommodation.

Alleged Camorra mobster arrested in Italy
Nov 17, 2010, 16:30 GMT

Naples, Italy - Police in Italy on Wednesday arrested Antonio Iovine, allegedly one of the most powerful bosses of the Neapolitan version of the mafia, the Camorra.

The 46-year-old Iovine was apprehended in a house in the Naples suburb of Casal di Principe, believed to be the home turf of his Casalesi crime family, news reports said.

Iovine who at the time of his arrest was reportedly not armed and did not offer any resistance, had been on the run since 1996. His name appeared on the list of Italy's 30 most-wanted fugitives.

In 2008 he was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment in a trial against over 30 members of the Casalesi - including the clan's other powerful fugitive boss, Michele Zagaria - charged with a string of murders and other crimes.

'Today is a very beautiful day in the fight against the mafia,' Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said, commenting on Iovine's arrest.

Justice Minister Angelino Alfano, for his part said he was ready 'to sign immediately' an order placing Iovine under strict detainment conditions - including solitary confinement - applied to those regarded by the Italian state as the most dangerous mafiosi.

Italy: Northern regions reject request to take Naples trash

Rome, 25 Nov. (AKI) - The northern Piedmont and Veneto regions have stated they will not accept any of the thousands of tonnes of uncollected garbage that have piled up on Naples' streets. The Sardinia island region also raised 'technical' objections to the Italian government's request.

The governors of Italy's various regions on Thursday in Rome held a meeting with regional affairs minister Raffaele Fitto. They were expected to ask the government to order all regions to accept some of the 8,000-9,000 tonnes of rotting garbage piled up on the streets of Naples and surrounding areas.

Nichi Vendola - the centre-left governor of the southern Puglia region tipped as a future leader of Italy's main opposition Democratic Party - said Piedmont and Veneto's refusal to accept trash from Campania was dishonest.

"This is ideological. They are trying to give the specious impression that the Naples refuse crisis exemplifies the ills of southern Italy, when the truth is far more complex," Vendola said.

"Northern industrial firms have long found it cost-effective and convenient to send their waste for disposal in the south, whose subsoil is now saturated with garbage," he added.

Both the Piedmont and the Veneto region's governors are members of the conservative Northern League party, one of whose main platforms is fiscal federalism.

Piedmont's governor Roberto Cota on Thursday reiterated his refusal to dispose of any of the Naples area's rubbish, claiming politicians in the surrounding Campania region must "take responsibility for the problem once and for all."

Cota also said that trash from the Naples area was "unsuitable" for Piedmont's particular system of separated waste collection. A new incinerator in Gerbido was not ready, and Piedmonte was struggling to handle its own waste, he claimed.

Measures introduced by the Italian government, such as opening new dumps in Campania have failed to tackle the root causes of the region's chronic garbage problem. These include corruption, mafia infiltration of the lucrative waste disposal business and a lack of efficient and environmentally sound sorting practices, according to critics.

EU officials visiting Naples on Monday said the current crisis was "as bad" as that which made world headlines in 2008, when thousands of tonnes of uncollected garbage piled up for months on the city's streets.

Napoli Striker Edinson Cavani: I Can Still Improve
Date: 19-Nov-2010 

Napoli striker Edinson Cavani believes that despite his sensational start to life in Naples he can still improve.

The Uruguay international striker has scored eight goals in nine Serie A starts for the Azzurri and appears to be perfectly settled at his new club whom he joined in the summer. But Cavani insists that there is still room for improvement in his game.

“Playing in South Africa with Uruguay was the best thing that could have happened to me,’ explained Cavani, according to Sky Sports. “But thanks to God, things are also going well in Italy.

“I am keeping my feet firmly on the ground. I know very well that in football there are favourable moments and some that are less so.”

The 23-year-old continued: “Now the goals come naturally to me. There is a period when you manage to do everything simply and others in which it becomes complicated.

“I am trying to exploit it fully. I can't slow down. 2010 is going really very well. But who's to say that the next year won't be even better?”

Teatro: 'Incendi' e 'La fame', due creazioni scenice al Nuovo di Napoli
ultimo aggiornamento: 23 novembre, ore 12:53

Napoli, 23 nov. - (Adnnkronos) - Ritornano in scena, da dopodomani sera, al Nuovo Teatro Nuovo di Napoli, le due creazioni sceniche della regista bolognese Agnese Cornelio: Incendi, spettacolo corale che coinvolge l'intera compagnia stabile e La Fame, assolo di Valentina Vacca. Le due messe in scena, che fanno parte del progetto Fondamentalismo a cura del direttore artistico Antonio Latella, rappresentano il debutto italiano alla regia per la poliedrica Agnese Cornelio, ormai da tempo via dall'Italia e impegnata in diverse produzioni in tutta Europa. Entrambi gli spettacoli, prodotti dal Nuovo Teatro Nuovo di Napoli, si avvalgono della co-produzione del Napoli Teatro Festival Italia e della Fondazione Campania dei Festival, che sostengono l'attivita' della compagnia stabile nel biennio 2010-2012.

Incendi di Wajdi Mouawad, nell'adattamento di Federico Bellini, e' la seconda tappa di una trilogia (Forests e Littoral sono gli altri episodi) che Mouawad dedica ai temi della memoria, dell'esilio, della guerra. La memoria e' quella offesa del Libano diviso dalla guerra civile tra profughi e miliziani; gli incendi sono le bruciature, le ustioni dell'anima che i protagonisti del suo dramma riportano durante il percorso di conoscenza di se stessi. Incendi ci porta in un altrove, lontano nel tempo e diverso. I fratelli gemelli Jeanne e Simon, s'immergono nel passato di Nawal, la loro madre, a ricomporre i frammenti della memoria: amore, violenza, guerra, morte sullo stesso viso.