Pulcinella e Casertavecchia.

by Sistaweotch December. 21, 2008 4122 views

On Sunday Dario and I had lots more shopping to do before taking off for Africa. We both quite like getting out of the city, however, so we detoured past one of the malls and went up to Casertavecchia. It is the original location of the town of Caserta [en.wikipedia.org]. But first we went shopping in downtown Napoli for fruits and vegetables that he could eat after coming off a week long fast.

At some point we stopped to have juice and baba. Dario only had juice, as it was his first non-water or -tea indulgence. (What a relief to see his cheeks filling out almost instantly! Skeleton Boyfriend was disappearing and Cuddly Boyfriend was returning, yay!) Then off to Casertavecchia and a couple of malls for last minute items (duffle bags, waterproof point-and-shoot camera, etc.). The malls were nearly the death of us both. Omg, if you think holiday shopping in the US is crazy, try southern Italy! Oh, the humanity!

While walking down Via Tribunali, we came across Pulcinella, a classic figure of Italian theater. There are several related characters that each represent something in Italian life – the government, the church, etc. Pulcinella, in this case, represents Naples itself – the chaos, the joy, the life, the disregard for authority that one is duty bound to display as a Neapolitan!

Pulcinella and his companions beckoned us inside for a performance of… who knows what? At first we thought, “No, we are too busy. We have Things To Do.” But he was so engaging that we decided to stop being stuffy and go inside. I am SO glad we did! What a marvelous performance! It was about the birth of Pulcinella, his trials and tribulations, and ultimately how you cannot squash the joy in the human spirit. A wonderful, wonderful play! It lifted my spirits for the entire day.

[Edit: Here is a link to some video of the performance [video.google.com]. And one more [video.google.com]! Low quality, but still fun!]

As for Casertavecchia, I used my new wide-angle lens for the first time. One thing I'm learning is that you have to be more precise with where you stand if you are trying for symmetry. Oh, and I REALLY need to use filters. Had some serious difficulty with ISO settings again. Damn. And what are those artifacts? Are they on the new lens? Sigh.

It will all work out. :)


Dario enjoys his first glass of juice. Ah, food [youtube.com]!


Here is the Wikipedia link [en.wikipedia.org]about him. I found Dario's explanation (see description at bottom of page) to be much richer than what is listed. Pulcinella is Naples, after all!

“Come inside! We will sing and dance and show you the most marvelous of times!”

The anti-Pulcinella who was waiting inside. He did a very good job of Being Not Impressed.

Sorry so many things are blurry. Little camera here. And a tall man in front of me with a camera of his own. And a very wide elbow range.

“What? Why do you bother me, Anti-Pulcinella? Don't you want to be happy?”

Battle Royale! Later there were even sticks – uh, I mean swords!

Poor Pulcinella got beaten up a few times, but was revived with a serenade of O Sole Mio: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3341992971407198991 [video.google.com]

(Sorry, hyperlinks seem to break when the URL is too long. See the description at the bottom of the page for a clickable link. Here is a link the the Three Tenors version. [youtube.com])

After a difficult battle in which Pulcinella appeared to have been defeated, the lights went down. When they came back up, one of the women was in labor. She gave birth to… Pulcinella!

The cast. Bravissimo! No, really, it was so great! I got tears in my eyes. Wonderful!

Dario, laughing hard and looking slightly mad with Pulcinella.

Me, doing the same thing. ;)

A view of Casertavecchia.

Similar to the one below, but the camera is canted slightly differently. I included them both so that a coworker could look at them one after the other to see the effect of the wide angle lens. (Download and look at them side by side. Easier to see that way.)

Who is that handsome, skinny guy?

Il Duomo di Casertavecchia.

They are crowding together to frown on you. Shouldn't you be in church? It's Sunday, fercryinoutloud!

Wow, this lens is wacky for close stuff! (Need a slide-whistle sound effect here.)

Vasca monolitica, or “monolithic Basin” (which, I believe, means it was carved from a single piece of stone!). Probably dating from the 4th century. There are frescoes around it that date from the 13th century.

Electric candle offerings. Minutes after I snapped this photo, the power went out. Do you think the prayers got misplaced?

Sarcafago Vescovo Martono. That is, the sarcophagus of Bishop Giacomo Marono. It was originally meant to be in the floor, but didn't make it there somehow. The sarcophagus itself is of Roman origin, does not quite match up with the lid (maybe from somewhere else?), and is dated back to 1360. …BUT! the Bishop did not die that year, that's simply the year it was created. The frescoes are attributed to “…the Neapolitan School of Simone Martini.” Quite a mish-mash, eh?

Madonna delle Grazie (Madonna of the Grace, not Madonna of the Thank You). It is attributed to the Sienes School and dates back to the 14th century.

It was SOOO dark in here that I could barely see this fresco while standing in front of it. Thank goodness for ISO settings and Irfanview!

The pulpit. The other side apparently has a mosaic slab on it, built somewhere between 1604 and 1616, from fragments of the old ambos of another bishop (1208-1216). Pfft! Early bishops had no taste! It's good that sort of thing can be corrected.

Wow, there are so many architectural and religious words in the description of this room, I don't know where to begin. Actually, let's just call it by name – Cappella Maria SS. Rosario – and then comment on how pretty it is. Ready? “Ooo! Ahhh! So gorgeous!”

Cars drive on these streets, one at a time, single file, residents only. I love it!

Dario at the magic hour [en.wikipedia.org]. He could almost be in The English Patient [imdb.com]!

This is as much zoom as you get with the wide angle lens. I had to set the camera on a post, focus, set the timer, and run! And what did we get? A very “wee” we, lol.

Repeat of a photo from above, this time in black and white. Well, gray scale. Hmm. Must figure out this filter business with the bigger lens. Too much washing out of light things.

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