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IMAGE The angevin fortress (Maschio Angioino) opens its basements: a new archeological tour, “TIME LINE”
Monday, 17 April 2017
Translated Jeff Matthews THE ANGEVIN FORTRESS (MASCHIO ANGIOINO) OPENS ITS BASEMENTS: A NEW ARCHEOLOGICAL TOUR, “TIME LINE” As of Saturday, 15 April a new guided archeological tour is open to the public, under the auspices of the Timeline Napoli Association as part of the project “The Grail at the Maschio Angioino.” Their press release: Naples, 10 April 2017. A new guided archeological tour is open to the public at the New Castle [trans. note: the structure has two names in Italian—Maschio Angioino and Castelnuovo; that is, Angevin Fortress and New Castle]. Beginning Saturday, 15 April, and every weekend thereafter, visitors will be taken down into the underground chambers of the Angevin Fortress for a journey that starts with the vestiges of ancient Rome. Visitors will pass along the area directly below the halls of the Aragonese armory and then into the Renaissance Naples of Alphonse I, so-called “The Magnanimous, and of his son and heir, Ferrante of Aragon. The new tour is part of “The Grail at the Angevin Fortress” and is presented by the Timeline Napoli Association, which hopes to let visitors come into contact with this important part of the archeological heritage of the city of Naples and to enjoy the thrill of a hands-on experience—to physically touch history. It is a museum within a museum, displaying the first plant of this structure built at the behest of Charles I of Anjou beginning in 1279. The leitmotiv of the tour is, indeed, a trip through time; thus, the name of the association and tour, Timeline, a chance to watch the unrolling of one century after another in the same area. The “Timeline” Tour Beneath the armory, you'll be able to admire not only archeological remains but one of the best preserved geological sites in the city, made up of pyroclastic deposits from the eruptions of Vesuvius as well as those from the Flegrean Fields. You'll be able to exit to the faussebraye, the defensive wall outside the main walls, of the Beverello tower. The outside wall was introduced by the Aragonese and was an attempt to confront newer offensive weapons such as more precise artillery. The newer defensive measures incorporated a succession of loop-holes for archers, effectively doubling the defenses as they were also supported by the garrison positioned in the higher tower, itself, as well as by flanking fire from light artillery at the base of the tower. Finally, you'll climb to the terrace to look down on the construction site of Piazza Municipio. It was here, during construction for Line #1 of the Metropolitana underground train line that they found—at 13 meters below the current pedestrian surface—an entire section of the Greco-Roman port basin together with five now celebrated naval vessels, the wooden planking of which was extraordinarily well preserved. You can participate in this guided tour as well as others of the program The Grail at Maschio Angioino every Saturday (departures on the hour from 0930 to 1700) and Sunday (on the hour from 0930 to 1230). Book via telephone: 3317451461 or on the Timeline Napoli Facebook page. The cost for the tour is 10 euros or two tickets for 15 euros with the second ticket covering one of the other Grail tours. Entrance for children is reduced or even free, depending on age. Other theme tours at the Maschio Angioino: The Grail between history and mystery” is a product of IVI Itinerari Video Interattivi which guides participants along esoteric path from the Triumphal Arch to the Hall of Barons. Book by phone at 3483976244. The veiled secret” is the latest IVI video visit, replete with OLED (organic light-emitting diode) lenses, ideal for bringing to life the story of Lubrezia d'Alagno, Alfonso of Aragon's favorite lady. Booking only by phone at 3273239843. The Flight of King Charles” is the adventure-filled tale, told here by HK Avventure, of the legendary retreat from Naples of King Charles VIII of France. Includes a safe descent (led by a trained speleologist) into the escape well cut into volcanic rock. Book by phone at 3317451461 or on the Facebook page of HK Avventura. The fortress of time” is a tour from Timeline Napoli from the slopes of the fortress up and into an ancient gunport, where the defensive strategies of the Aragonese epoch will be explained, and then onto the ancient prisons. Book by phone at 3317451461. The Dragon's Secret” and the hunt for historic treasure (aimed at children aged 6-9) at the court of Alphonse I of Aragon. Discover with maps and other accessories the true story of the king, the head of the Aragonese branch of Naples, and of the secrets connected to him. Book by phone at 3317451461. Read More...
IMAGE The underground passageways of Neapolis, beyond the ancient walls – the Ipogea of St. Vincent de' Paoli
Saturday, 15 April 2017
Translated Jeff Matthews The hypogea of St. Vincent are in the quarter of the Vergini, an ancient area just outside the walls of ancient Neapolis. You gain access to the Monument Complex of St. Vincent by way of a tufa quarry that goes back to when the church, itself, was under construction; that is, around the 1760s by Luigi Vanvitelli. During the excavations for that construction, they came across a cistern from a yet earlier period, before the arrival of the fathers of the order of St. Vincent and when another order was present on approximately the same site, the Fratres Cruciferi (Cross bearing Brethren), an order abolished in 1656. It is very likely that this ancient cistern goes back even further than that, given all the digging that has taken place in that area over the centuries. Current thought is that it was a Greco-Roman cistern. The Fathers of St. Vincent have just begun a series of investigations of the site. They have delegated the task of finding out exactly what is down there to the Getta Association. They are certainly in for some surprises and interesting discoveries. Together with the many other rediscovered sites in the area of the Vergini such as the Augustan Serino Aqueduct and the burial chambers selected by the ancient Parthenopeans and Neapolitans to continue on their way into the afterlife in their splendid burial hypogea, it all makes for a fascinating tour! The short video with this item has only a music background, so you can follow right along with no problems. For information and contacts:Associazione "Getta la rete"associazione@gettalarete.itFacebook page: facebook.com/associazionegettalarete3476065947 – 3383448981 (both cell phones) Read More...
IMAGE Jewish Catacombs in the Roman Crypt at Cuma?
Monday, 27 March 2017
Translated Jeff Matthews “No, my lord, hear me: I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. In the sight of the sons of my people I give it to you. Bury your dead.” (Genesis, 23:11) “Before the age of Demo [>ed. note, the Cumaean Sibyl] there lived near the Jews above Palestine a woman with the gift of prophecy, and her name was Sabbe. The say that her father was Beroso and her mother, Erimante; some however, called her the Babylonian Sibyl and others called her Egizia” (Pausanias, X, XII, 9). [trans. ed. note: refers to Pausanias, AD 110 – c. 180, Greek geographer, author of Hellados Periegesis, Description of Greece]. Archaeologist Amedeo Maiuri's dream was to uncover the famous chamber of the Cumaean Sibyl, the dreadful chamber within which the prophetess made her divine pronouncements. It was Maiuri's dream but also his obsession; the chamber was a twisted labyrinth where one would inevitably go astray. It was sure to exist, however. That much was certain from all the references in ancient literature; yet in spite of all the indications, finding the exact spot was not easy. Where could it be? Maiuri had no doubts; the chamber had to open onto Monte di Cuma. He finally received from Fascist minister Pietro Fedele “the first substantial funding to start searching for the Grotto of the Cumaean Sibyl... Read more... Jewish Catacombs in the Roman Crypt at Cuma? Click on the images to enlarge  photo 1 di G. De Rossi photo 2 di F. De Marinis photo 3 di F. De Marinis (parete est cava) photo 4 di F. De Marinis (parete ovest cava) photo 5 di F. De Marinis (dettaglio parete est) photo 6 di F. De Marinis (dettaglio parete ovest) Read More...
IMAGE Speleo 2017 17th International Congress of Speleology (ICS)
Sunday, 12 March 2017
Translated Jeff Matthews The new eBulletin for Speleo 2017, 17th International Congress of Speleology (ICS), Caves in an ancient Land, to be held in Sydney, July 23-29, 2017, is now available on-line. This is the link for the PDF download: Speleo 2017 eBulletin 12 February 2017 This is the link to the official website: 17th International Congress of Speleology (17th ICS) Read More...
IMAGE Milano Underground - the new website dedicated to Underground Milan is now online
Thursday, 09 March 2017
by Jeff Matthews S.C.A.M. (Speleological Artificial Cavities of Milan) is pleased to announce that it has now put on-line a new website dedicated to Underground Milan. It is at this URL. www.milanounderground.it. The object of the website is to present virtual guided tours of the vast number of underground spaces, both ancient and recent, and thus combine the history and archaeology of the Lombard capital. [translator's note: I have looked at the site and there are already ample photos and videos that you can enjoy even if you don't speak or read Italian. Their promotional claim is to make the site enjoyable to tourists from abroad as well as to an Italian public. Presumably, in terms of other languages, that will happen with time. - jm] contacts: www.milanounderground.it Gianluca Padovan - padovan_g@yahoo.it Ippolito Edmondo Ferrario - maestrale1976@hotmail.com https://www.facebook.com/milanosotto https://www.instagram.com/milano_underground/ Read More...
IMAGE The new “Duomo” station of the #1 line of the Naples Metropolitana
Tuesday, 07 March 2017
  by Jeff Matthews The new station was designed by Massimiliano Fuksas and will serve the Pendino quarter as well as the areas of via Marina, much of Corso Umberto I, and the immediate area around the cathedral (“Duomo”). The entrance south of the cathedral itself at Piazza Nicola Amore will be marked by an extraordinary futuristic skylight and, underground, by the incorporation in situ of the large podium of a temple to Augustus Caesar built to commemorate the Isolympic Games of Neapolis in the first century A.D. This is a unique example of fine archaeology and urban transportation. This station is certainly on the ever-growing list of “art stations” in Naples. Due to open in 2019. This is a link to two articles in English on the website Naples: Life, Death & Miracles. Read More...
IMAGE The Next Pandemic Could Be Dripping On Your Head
Monday, 27 February 2017
by Jeff Matthews That was the title of a column published under the rubric of "killer viruses" by the US National Public Radio. It focused on the Gomantong Cave in Borneo, and presumably other large caves in the world, where great numbers of bats congregate. Bats are vital for keeping the rain forest alive — they are key pollinators for more than 500 kinds of plants. But as people spread out around the globe to visit these caves, they are increasingly coming into contact with bats and the viruses they carry in their excrement — called guano. The article focuses on the potential for the appearance of unknown viruses that might cause a pandemic that could kill millions. This is the link to the complete NPR article: The Next Pandemic Could Be Dripping On Your Head The accompanying photo is from the NPR article. Read More...
IMAGE From Maranola to the Mount of the Redeemer, an Outing in the Aurunci Mountains
Tuesday, 21 February 2017
Translated Jeff Matthews Years ago as I was passing along the stretch of coastline that runs from Formia to Gaeta and staring at the Aurunci mountains, I told myself I would some day scale the heights of that bare limestone rock. The day finally came. It was a trek I shall never forget—from Maranola to the Mount of the Redeemer, an outing in the Aurunci mountains. Monte Redentore - Aurunci We left Naples at around 9 a.m. and drove north in the direction of Formia. There was heavy traffic passing the short stretch at Mondragone; it took us about an hour to reach the small medieval town of Maranola di Formia at 268 meters/800 feet a.s.l. From there we took the narrow twisting road, via del Redentore, and , still in the car, started up the climb to the “Rifugio [shelter] Pornito” and were very graciously welcomed by the family that runs the establishment. We parked the car and started the hike up “CAI [Italian Alpine Club]- trail 960” that would lead us, uphill all the way, first to the church of St. Michael the Archangel (1200 m/3660 feet] and then to the peak of Mount of the redeemer (1252 m/4100 feet). The climb is not that bad and the trail is perfectly marked and protected by a wooden railing on the side of the slope down to the valley. It's a couple of hours up to the top, and along the way every turn on the path opened onto one delightful view after another. We were lucky because once we were at the top we were enveloped in a dense fog bank that surrounded the peak. That kept us from enjoying what must certainly be a remarkable view from up there (the proprietors of the Shelter told us that on a clear day you can see all the way to Mt. Vesuvius, over 95 km/58 miles away). One further bit of information of interest to many of out readers: there are a great number of caves along the way that indeed witness to the extreme karst nature of these mountains and beckon to further adventures down into the dark spaces within. Here is a link to download a Lazio cave atlas relevant to the Aurunci mountains. At this link you will find some the photos we took on the way up to the Mount of the Redeemer. ...and here is the video. (There is additional information on the website, Naples: Life, Death & Miracles at this link.) http://www.naplesldm.com/mountredent.php Good viewing. Read More...
IMAGE The Lava of the Vergini
Friday, 17 February 2017
Translated Jeff Matthews An interesting website has published an article that reconstructs the story of the so-called "Lava dei Vergini"  (a quarter of Naples. "Lava" refers to the periodic drastic flooding that afflicted the area for centuries, flooding from rainfall run-off so severe that it actually shaped the landscape of that section of the city. The Italian version is on the website "Cose di Napoli": La Lava dei Vergini. There is an English-language icon for a translation that is, unfortunately, inadequate. There is another version on the site Naples: Life, Death & Miracles at this link. http://www.naplesldm.com/virgin.php#lava Good reading! The photo accompanying this notice is from the "Cose di Napoli" website. Read More...

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