BANNER

Social Programme

WELCOME RECEPTION:

The Welcome Reception will be held at at the Maschio Angioino-Castel Nuovo on Wednesday 22nd May 2019 (http://www.comune.napoli.it/flex/cm/pages/ServeBLOB.php/L/EN/IDPagina/1372).

The building of the Castel Nuovo, also called Maschio Angioino, began in 1279 under the reign of Charles I of Anjou, on the basis of a plan by the French architect Pierre de Chaule. The strategic position of the new castle gave it the characteristics not only of a royal residence, but also those of a fortress. From the very beginning it was called "Castrum Novum" to distinguish it from the older castles dell'Ovo and Capuano.

In the first two decades of the 20th century, the Municipal Council began the work of isolating the castle from the annexed buildings in recognition of the historical and monumental importance of the fortress and the need to reclaim the piazza in front of it. The castle is today the venue of cultural events and also houses the Municipal Museum.

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CONFERENCE DINNER:

The Conference Dinner will be held at The Santa Chiara Monastery on Friday 24th May 2019. (http://www.santachiara.info).

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It is hardly what you’d expect cloistered nuns to gaze upon during the course of their silent lives. Bold scenes of boar hunting, bowling, dancing, even a Carnival revel come alive in a riot of colours on the tiled panels that decorate the cloister garden of the Santa Chiara Monastery in Naples.

I wonder whether this really was what abbess Ippolita Carmignani had in mind when she commissioned landscape architect Domenico Antonio Vaccaro in 1739 to create a cloister garden suited to “the decorum of noble ladies.” But then this is Naples, a place of blazing sunshine, music and joie de vivre, whose vibrancy breaks into even the most reclusive corners.

Vaccaro, who had a reputation for being innovative and was a darling of the Neapolitan aristocracy, chose a strictly geometric design for the garden, but sneaked in the spark and frivolity of 18th century Naples by decorating pillars and benches with hundreds of tin-glazed earthenware tiles, known locally as majolica.

An exquisite motif of vines, lemons, oranges and figs, bright against a pale blue background, climbs up the pillars in a subtle play over the garden’s scheme. The bench panels, by contrast, are a snapshot of everyday rural life in the 1700s, depicting dances such as the tarantella, or even newly popular games like cricket, in a vivid palette of yellow, oranges and greens.

Around the benches, four parterres bloom with roses, conifers, lemon and orange trees, echoing the colours of the majolica panels against the pale white of two marble fountains and the cerulean blue of the sky.

Because the Santa Chiara nuns vowed to live in complete seclusion, very few people got to see the cloister garden after it was created, and rumours of its fabled beauty flooded Naples for nearly two centuries—until a quirk of destiny ensured it could open to the public. In 1924, the nuns swapped convents with the Franciscan friars next door. The friars, who were not bound by the same vows, first allowed in the philosophers, intellectuals and beau monde of early 20th century Naples, then, from the 1970s, the wider public.

By Carla Passino, italymagazine.com

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