Massimo Listri
Maria Gabriella di Savoia
Cesare de Seta
Giuseppe Morabito
Enzo Gragnaniello
José Alberto Ribeiro
Maria Fernandes Thomaz
Mario Martone
Vittorio Sgarbi
Gelasio Gaetani d'Aragona Lovatelli
Patrizia Sardo
Alessandra Pugliese
Costantino Lo Presti
Pierluigi Coppola
Guido Donatone

Napoli Lisbona

To unite Naples and Lisbon on this, our umpteenth, journey, suspended between wine and artistic photography, as always, we have tried to compose a mosaic of similarities and stories, some more well-known and cognate, others more muted and suffused. Lisbon, just like Naples, cultivates a palpitating and yearning nostalgia for the future, for what could be, for what WILL be. It’s a matter of Saudade, a concept very close to the German Sensucht, a nostalgia for the moment in which we’re living, as observed by Antonio Tabucchi, the Italian writer in love with the town of Fado, and by Pessoa, in his most famous book, Sostiene Pereira. A common perception which emerges with intense and arousing poetic nuances in so many classic Neapolitan songs. It’s the same sentiment, interwoven with melancholy sweetness, that I felt constantly as a child, looking at my parents’ wedding photos, taken way back in 1952. Shots in black and white, reminiscent of that time full of enthusiasm and hope, of the reconstruction that took place immediately after the end of the War. They had decided to go to Cascais, to Villa Italia, to visit Umberto II, the last king to sit on the Italian throne, who had been in exile in Portugal for six years, seeking a world which was irremediably lost by then. Lisbon speaks to me often among the streets of Naples, in scraps of imagination dense with memories and suggestions, in sudden evocative fragments of sounds and expressions. Eleonora Fonseca Pimentel, a scholar with a passion for the Neapolitan Revolution, born in Rome into a Lusitanian family originally from Alentejo, fully embodies this double soul, this successful game of elective affinities.
In via Toledo in the 16th century don Miguel Vaaz, Count of Mola, a Portuguese banker who belonged to the administrative department of the Kingdom of Naples, the Regia Camera Sommaria, commissioned the construction of a palace, refurbished in the 18th century by Vanvitelli, which later passed into the hands of the Berio family, marquises of Salza in Irpinia, where our vineyards are located.
My Lisbon is captured beautifully in a remarkable pictorial work kept in the Museu Nacional de Arte Antigua. A large polyptych of Sào Vicente by Nuno Gonçalves, fortunately rediscovered in 1880 during the restoration of Lisbon cathedral, consisting of six wooden panels. Every time I admire it, this wonderful polyptych offers me something new, a detail, a sensation, an unexpected emotion, and the comparison with Colantonio’s San Francesco, another work of Flemish influence, kept in Capodimonte, is immediate. It is apparent in the artistic heritage, obviously, but also in the architectural and gastronomical heritage too. I find traces of Lisbon in the decadent charm of certain historical buildings in the old part of Naples, to the point where, if I close my eyes while I’m walking around Spaccanapoli, I suddenly find myself among the alleyways of Barrio Alto, where his majesty the baccalà (salted cod fish) is a permanent guest. Or, I see myself aboard the legendary tram 28, climbing up, as far as Alfama, to reach the Miradouro de Graca, like I would in Naples with the Chiaia funicular railway to enjoy the view of San Martino. And of course, we mustn’t forget the cinema. Wim Wenders’ moving film-documentary on the Portuguese capital, “Lisbon Story”, is dedicated to Federico Fellini. Or the musical contaminations.
The royal palace of Ajuda speaks of Naples too. This is the monumental building that is going to host the presentation of the 2018 edition of the calendar, and it is reminiscent of Vanvitelli’s Reggia di Caserta. It was home to a courageous Italian princess, Maria Pia di Savoia, one of the best loved queens of Portugal, who brought together so many artists, many of whom Neapolitan. Stories and accounts which entwine to such an extent as to become a single fil rouge. Or, if we borrow the title of one of Pessoa’s most famous anthologies of poetry, to become what I would call “a single multitude”.

Generoso di Meo

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