As I was walking across Via Chiaia the other day, I noticed that scaffolding has been erected around Ponte di Chiaia. I don’t know when it went up because I was gone for the first week of September and things have been manic since, so I’ve not been up this way for several weeks. In any event, the bridge is enshrouded and I assume, it’s long awaited restoration has begun.
This bridge was built in the 17th-century to connect the Pizzofalcone and Mortelle hills. Today, it is better known for the elevator that is tucked inside that connects Via Chiaia to Via Nicotera in the Monte di Dio neighbourhood above. The bridge’s renovation is one of the Monumentando projects I wrote about last week in Bras Provide “Monumental” Support.
If you haven’t read the article, Monumentando is basically a scheme in which a sponsor funds a monument’s restoration in exchange for advertising space on the scaffolding erected around the monument. Not only does the program provide for the monument’s restoration at no cost to the public, but in most cases (this can be quite subjective), the billboards the advertisers put up are an attractive alternative to the scaffolding. I don’t believe this is a new concept – George Clooney’s face spent a long time on a building in Piazza dei Martiri hawking Nespresso some years back – but it may be the first time this scheme has been used (at least in Napoli) to fund the restoration of public monuments.
To date, the Fontana del Carciofo or Carcioffola as it is affectionately known, the Artichoke Fountain erected in Piazza Trieste e Trento in the 1950s by then mayor Achille Lauro has been restored courtesy of Caffè Moreno. In front of the Santa Caterina della Spina Corona church (just behind Corso Umberto I), the Fontana Spina Corona was restored thanks to Uno Outdoor and along Lungomare, Colonna Spezzata, the Broken Column has been returned to the city courtesy of Jadea.
Photo courtesy of Monumentando
Currently, the Obelisk of Portosalvo on Via Nuova Marina is being restored by Haber & Coast Clothing and the Fontana della Maruzza in the garden of the Santa Maria di Portosalvo church by Original Marines. Meanwhile, though sponsors have yet to be identified, Torri del Carmine and Ponte di Chiaia are also both being restored. When all is said and done, 27 monuments will get a facelift with the funding the organisers hope, coming from advertising dollars.
There was another monument that recently got a face lift too, the fountain of Neptune in Piazza Municipio. Walking home from the Municipio metro the other night and seeing it all lit up like a Xmas tree, I realised that what struck me about it most was not how shiny clean it was, how beautifully restored it was or how pretty it looked. What I noticed, were all the people who had flocked to this new public space like birds on a wire. One of those “if you build it they will come” moments. But of course, this is the way in this city. Life is lived on the streets, in the alleys, in the piazzas and in the outdoor bars and caffes.
As I cut through Galleria Umberto and made my way home through the animated streets around Piazza Municipio and Chiaia: Piazza Trieste e Trento, Via Toledo and Via Chiaia, I began to realise something. Somewhere between tending to the website, a full time job in itself, and writing, publishing and marketing our NU Guide to Naples, not to mention a variety of other projects I have my fingers in, I forgot how to live in this city I love so much. Like any great love affair, infatuation has given way to a comfortable friendship and where I once saw this city with wonder and awe, Napoli has become my backdrop. I no longer stare longingly into its eyes and in some respect, the very things that I first fell in love with some years ago have become the things that annoy me the most. But on October 1st, we celebrated our 10th anniversary here. And in honour of that, I vow to myself and to my Bella Napoli, that I will once again stare longly into its eyes and I will make it my mission to explore the many, many places in this city I’ve yet to discover.
Naples In the News
- World Pizza Championships: where dough-obsessed divas battle it out – For the first time ever, the championship is awarded to a female “pizzaiola“
- Mamma mia! Naples hammered with fist-sized hailstones – Very glad I was on Ischia for this!!!
- Scans show Pompeii victims ‘in good health – Archeology meets technology, radiology and orthodontics to learn more about the residents (and even animals) of Pompeii
Naples on the Blogs
- A great way to spend the weekend in Naples & Campania – One more weekend in Campania
- Georgie Knaggs reviews not one, but two of the Elena Ferrante novels – My Brilliant Friend and The Story of a New Name
- It’s not just Naples & Campania, but you get the point – 33 Reasons Why The South Of Italy Will Ruin You For Life
Naples in Video
The Month Ahead
The fall marks the opening of the theatre season in Naples. At the San Carlo, the Symphony Season started on 12 September with Roberto de Simone and Zubin Mehta. The theatre’s Ballet Season opens with Othello on 8 October and the Opera Season will be inaugurated with La Traviata in November. Morrissey and Mario Biondi will be in concert this month at the Augusteo and the Briga – Never Again Tour will be at the Palapartenope.
Also this month, the Chiaia Funicular will re-open on October 2nd and the National Railway Museum will re-open on October 4th and there are plenty more events for all interests. Holly will be keeping us up to date on all of those.
For the Napoli Expat – the Naples Naples International Happy Hour is Wednesday the 7th of October, 19-22 at Barril in Chiaia and the AIWC Meeting is Saturday, 10 October. As usual, there are English language services at Christ Church Naples every Sunday. There is also Cinema in Original Language at the Cinema Academy Astra (presented by CLA – Centro Linguistico di Ateneo) and at Multicinema Modernissimo. Find all of Naples English Speaking events.
And in other news… we launched our Napoli Unplugged News & Events Newsletter this month. Please sign up here!!!
And don’t forget – our NU Guide to Naples is available in paperback and EPUB3 eBook for iPad (and most other devices). We are working on the conversion to Kindle Now and hope to have that available soon.
Order the paperback book from:
- Partenope Press – serving customers in the US, Mexico, Canada, the UK, Europe Australia and New Zealand
- Amazon US – serving customers in the US and Canada
- Amazon UK coming soon
Have a fun-filled fall and a Happy Halloween!!!