Capaccio, Salerno, Italia and her Grecian Marble of Paestum, a Greek colony of temples predating the Roman Empire

Capaccio, Salerno, Italia and her Grecian Marble of Paestum, a Greek colony of temples predating the Roman Empire
CLICK THIS LINK ABOVE FOR MANY MORE IMAGES AND VIDEOS OF PAESTUM.

ROMEPIX.COM/BLOG

I have selected several images from the original post on my other site, romepix.com.

The hamlet of Capaccio, found in the region of Salerno, located far down the boot in Campania, (about two hours or so from Sorrento), is a charming little town near the Greek ruins of Paestum.

There are silent stone churches with slants of light pouring into the shadows through stained glass and open windows shaped as doves and olive branches, each path of gold against black an evocation for peace in an undiscoverable darkness. Silence except for birds and echoing footsteps accompany you a foreigner in a foreign place. The solitude is universal in its unspoken language. You are welcome to sit and contemplate, or walk softly in cold corners under towering stretchs of wood and stone, somehow cradling us in its distance. A transitory connection to prayers whispered in the heart, undecipherable to human ears. How many gods have been called in how many temples on these grounds? Hera, Ceres, Athena, Poisedon, Christ, the Lord Himself, or the Madonna? Outside, a rush of sunshine, warmth on the skin, a grumbling in the stomach, a need to affirm we are still among the living. Fruit and pizza and coffee beckon across the way, and in a little shop in Capaccio we find local juicy figs floating in local honey, and figs woven together stuffed with regional almonds, in beautiful little packages we later brought home with us.

Just recently I gave Rian’s brother that last bundle we had been saving for the holidays… Rian would have wanted him to savor the taste of Italia, a place he’s never been, a place he never fell in love with as Rian and I had twenty years ago, and kept returning to. I gave it to him with Barolo and dark chocolate and champagne, I wanted him to taste a small glimpse into this magical world we had so long found ourselves enchanted with. He loved them. I thought of Rian smiling somewhere as if he could watch us somehow.

Bringing what we loved about this country is something we both so long felt driven to do. He would bring endless bags of chocolates and special Sicilian cookies for his friends at his office, and for family and close friends, after each trip back. Sometimes I would bring wines difficult to find in the states, or handmade liquers, and serve them at the holidays we hosted together for so long.

To share with others even a spark or a glimpse of the reason for our longing and our love for an otherworldy place, combined with tales of what we experienced and learned, kept us going until the next return. One day I suppose I shall return too, without him beside me as I wish, but with his ashes, with his memory, and with his energy still felt in the world, and set the remains afloat in the seas and lands he loved so deeply he broke through the mystery of Italia better than I ever could. And he took that mystery with him beyond. And here I am, as ever, in love with beauty I cannot dissect or take into me, I can only love from afar… as if in a dream. Perhaps life is the dream, and death a waking up? A return to the fold of everything seen and felt here through a veil.

There is that charming church write about above in the heart of the town of Salerno, and also a large cloistered monastery and cathedral, long with a fascinating museum of Clasiccal Antiquity, mostly containing the remnants (some vey much intact) of Paestum, a Greek colony in Italia pre-dating the founding of Rome. It is located on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea in Magna Graecia (southern Italy). The ruins of Paestum are famous for their three ancient Greek temples in the Doric order, dating from about 600 to 450 BC. It was named Poseidonia (Ancient Greek: Ποσειδωνία) but was was eventually conquered by the local Lucanians and later the Romans. The Lucanians renamed it to Paistos and the Romans gave the city its current name.

The Paestum, or “Pesto” temples are some of the most intact ruins on the mainland of Italia, and their being Greek in nature only lends to their charm and mystery. The pastoral setting of Paestum leads one to get a feeling for the atmosphere of another era, millennia ago. Everything is beautiful in the town and most especially in the large park where the Grecian marble stands against all odds of weather, war, and time. One can find shade under tall olive trees and smell hints of lemon trees in the air as they walk among the dead and the stone of a culture and a people who no longer exist, and yet we feel some mysterious connection to, even to this day.

TO VISIT PAESTUM (with stops along the way in the city centers)

click here: http://www.museopaestum.beniculturali.it/i-templi/?lang=en

PAESTUM IS LOCATED AT Via Magna Graecia, 918, 84047 Paestum SA, Italy

Opened: 1952

Hours: Opens 8:30AM (VARIES) to sunset, with special evening extended openings to view the ruins at night.

ProvinceProvince of Salerno

Phone+39 0828 811023

Below is the Aerial view of Paestum, looking northwest; two Hera Temples in foreground, Athena Temple in background, and a Classical Antiquity museum on right. The first Temple of Hera, built around 550 BC by the Greek colonists, is the oldest surviving temple in Paestum. The second Temple of Hera was built around 460–450 BC, is found just north of the first Hera Temple. At a short distance and height from the the Hera Temples, and north of the center, is the Temple of Athena, built around 500 BC. In the center of the complex is a Roman Forum, perhaps built on the site of a preceding Greek agora. North of the forum is a small Roman temple, dated to 200 BC, and dedicated to the Capitoline TriadJunoJupiter, and Minerva.

To the far north-east of the forum one sees an amphitheater, recently many parts of Paestum have been reopened so vistors can wander through these structures and lands, even walking withing the open aired temples. It’s a wonderful experience.

Source: Wikipedia & me.

VISIT THE PAESTUM MUSEUM SITE FOR ALL THE ARCHEOLOGICAL INFORMATION AND IMAGES.

http://www.paestum.org.uk/museum/

Additional Cultural and Architectural and Art History and Archeological sources:

CLICK HERE:

https://www.romeartlover.it/Paestum5.html

(The Museum of Paestum with images of the artifacts and art.)

CLICK HERE:

https://www.romeartlover.it/Paestum.html

(Paestum – The Temples)

CLICK HERE:

https://www.romeartlover.it/Paestum2.html

(The Walls of Paestum)

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Rome laid out before you from far far above the rooftops

Take an elevator ride on the “wedding cake” and see the Roman gods’ view of the Eternal City. 

The ruins are laid out before you betwixt cupolas and Renaissance rooftops of villas and apartments like dollhouses.

Hints of the past stir some ancient feeling in you you never knew you possessed until you saw Rome from a mount.

The sign of greatness and the sign of a fall and all around you the beautiful noise of life that will not stop long enough to extinguish itself into the remains of dust it lives among.Rome lives among the shadows and the bones and the blood and the ghosts and the stone and the picked away marble because it is the heart and the remnants of the past are the nervous system which still courses with life from that heart center of a slowly dying immortal, entombed in the blessing and the curse of a memory which feels like a dream.

Church bells ring and ring through the city when the golden hour colors everything and there’s time for one last sun-glow walk and one last smile exchanged like kisses on the mouth, not the cheeks.

I will remember you even if the imprint of my self is swallowed up in the city of too many stories and too many lights and too many songs to find a memento mori for me in some nook or cranny when I’m gone.

And so I have Rome written on my soul should I be able to take it with me.

Bury me not in the earth of the place I love but burn my ashes to the sky so I may float like some augur of another time, a shadow to pass over a new face with her own love flashing on her face as she falls in love with the Roman sky at sunset, as she dreams to be remembered somewhere somehow in the eternal city, to leave her mark somewhere and to be known and felt by some future stranger intoxicated by the same love for the same city and the same ringing of bells and the orange becoming purple and the golden lamps flickering on and the smiles becoming kisses, not on the cheeks, but on the mouth. 

My “Fall of Rome” professor last summer asked me, “Are we Rome?”

Are we, the west in 2017, are we “Rome”?

Yes! Yes and no. It depends on how you view Ancient Rome and how you view the west now. There is no easy answer.

Here, I believe, in the church, and in certain rituals, and beliefs… are where the living tradition of ancient Rome is carried on today… 

After this course I can understand more and more why a pagan would adapt this religion to aid his war success, and to be a unifier of an already somewhat fractured people. 

Tom Holland recently wrote about returning to the church after realizing in writing about the ancient Roman era for years, and about the Medieval, and the Renaissance periods, he saw more and more how Christian thought shaped much of our ‘modern’ form of humanism.

Discovering remnants and fragments and sometimes entire pieces or histories of dug up Greco Roman art and philosophy in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance was an intellectual and spiritual goldmine for learned men, often monks, and eventually for wealthy woman patroness like Isabella d’Este or Lucrezia Borgia or Caterina Sforza or female artists like Sofonisba Anguissola, Lavinia Fontana or Artemisia Gentileschi. 

A great patron and nearly empirical statesman of Firenze, the infamous Cosimo de’Medici, installed the first “open” humanist library in a monastery for Florentine scholars and students, commissioning prints of works from classical antiquity, contemporary Humanist Catholic writers, and artworks with religious and classical themes. It was the first library not exclusively for ascetics or royalty in Europe in 1,000 years. 

When open minded scholars and artists (who were artisans as much as they were artists)… when they married classical thought with the higher moral teachings found in the broadening church interpretations, the commissioned theological (and later classical and allegorical works;) mostly paintings and sculptures, were ordered by the wealthy citizen patrons; first by the church, then the aristocrats, and finally by the growing mercantile class…

The Ancient Romans in the late western empire and in the eastern empire, had to adapt to a new increasingly popular religion to survive, to become yet another new “old” Rome in an eternal city which had always extended itself to the farthest reaches of the earth, with a distinctive calling card, and yet was nevertheless as mutable as the water coursing through the aqueducts… Ancient Rome had to keep something from the past alive, and also they had to grow along with it and the times in order to still thrive in this rapidly flowing world. 

As far as why Rome “fell”, it also appears to me to be for a variety of reasons, and yet Christianity, I don’t think, is one of its downfalls. 

In darker moments I think we are the new Rome, then I remember Rome didn’t necessarily fall the way I thought before this class, that I can still walk among the ruins in the eternal city today, I can see the rituals, and even hear pieces of the language in an old church, and I can even see faces which remind me of a 2000 year old fresco… in the cafes.

For every doom and gloom scenario for Europe or the US, and other parts of the west, there is a twist and turn, an adaptation or rejection, a battle or a war, and I think we are a long way off from either a surrender or a fall.

Rome in October


I caught a ridiculously photogenic couple in Rome taking a selfie together on the pincian hill at sunset, with cupolas and Saint Peter’s behind them. Oh, to be young and beautiful and in love in Roma, what many in this world wouldn’t give for it. If only, I think to myself…
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Persimmon trees bearing fruit with a view.

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A little ruin and a little Renaissance (and rococo).

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Dance of the tourists on the Villa Borghese’s Pincio overlooking the Piazza del Popolo.

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A kissing dove and pigeon. White doves always strike me as a symbol of Ancient Rome, much like olive trees.

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I like watching the beauty of Rome unfold before other people.

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Down the Pincio, on the way to the Spanish Steps, there are views everywhere of cupolas up close and far away.

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The endless flow of Roman water over stone and newly fallen leaves.

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There’s always a sense of play and humor in the Villa Borghese park, especially in the Pincian hill section.

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Walking along the Appian Way one is reminded why Rome will always be the eternal city, winter, spring, summer or autumn.

standing at the ruins on a quiet roman night

Rome is pieced together by fragments old and new; a broken clay pile of people who have lived and died, and are forgotten, rivaling the Monte Testaccio in size and obscurity.

Rome is the heaviness of time. It is the marks left on humanity. It is a walkable history book, forever unfolding its pages.

Rome is monuments of the big whigs leaving you breathless with their grand scale and an overwhelming rush of beauty.

‘Everyone is dead here’, the city whispers, in a voice softened against the bone-white marble of ruins.

The palatine lies silent under the stars. This is your one moment to catch your breath and savor Rome.

Try to stop time by breathing it in slowly. Hold it in, and take a sensory snapshot. Stand there, holding your breath, recording, feeling as immovable as a statue; a Henry James’ American willing a sacrifice to the pagan gods.

‘Just let me remember this. Let this enter me. The endlessness of it. The cobwebs. The broken stone. The bones. The dust. The pulse remaining somehow. Let me carry Rome where ever I go. Let it become a part of me. No, let me become a part of Rome. Another story never writ, another name unknown.’

     

   


Italy and England 

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There’s old Winston Churchill watching Big Ben, in Westminster, London, in March 2014.

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An anglophile’s dream: the omnipresent iconic red telephone box.

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Wandering around Portobello Road, in the Notting Hill neighborhood.

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The street art / grafitti is like The Sex Pistols and the Bbc all rolled into one.

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Tea at Sherlock Holmes and Watson’s house was quite amusing.

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Enjoyed searching for british china tea cups and white darjeeling on a half deserted faire.

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After wandering the many lovely garden parks of london wound up at  Buckingham’s Gate.tumblr_n2din7vCpZ1qznevxo4_1280

Making the pilgrimage to John Keats house at Hampstead Heath, London, after years of visiting the flat he died in, and laying flowers at his grave, in Rome.

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A room with a view…over the Thames, I was always excited to wake up to (and to raise my glass to) Big Ben.

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Saw the beautiful La Boheme set in 1940s Paris at the Royal Albert Hall.

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From the window of “221 b Baker Street, London

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From the beautiful garden of John Keats home, where he fell in love with Fanny Brawne and wrote some of his greatest poems.

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From the cloisters of Westminster Abbey. I do love a cloister.

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You have no idea how deep my anglophilia goes because I am always going on about Italy but these signs gave me a profound joy.

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This sign is so British it hurts.

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One of those moments in London an American or most foreigners savor.

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Always, a pilgrimage, a  beauty, a joy. John Keats forever. English Romanticism forever. B3-yzpZIAAIuVOk.jpg-large

Down the cloistered hall… like a dream of English classics, literary characters dancing in my head, London, a city looming in my brain of larger than life characters and eccentric, wonderful stories and frightful tales.

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The heartbreakingly beautiful dream of Italy view from my dreamy Sorrento hotel room terrazzo.

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Walking along the Appian Way on a quiet, car-free Sunday in Rome or along the Renaissance Via Guilia, I am forever excited and in awe over the small beauties and signs of the ancient world in this magical, mysterious city open-armed to the world.

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The architecture and cafes are familiar but I feel and live Rome anew each visit. There’s always something new to discover or a passion to stumble onto. Life is in the moment. It is heavy with the past, it is so alive it smacks of the future, but it is so wildly, lightly felt in the now, in the moment, Rome is like dreaming awake, feeling everything. Everything!

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Finding new off the beaten path cafes was a big favorite of mine in Italy this year. Always in search of the quiet moments and the hidden corners of Rome. This cafe was in Trastevere where you can sit and sip espresso and gaze at a Baroque Madonna painted onto a church exterior wall.

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I love the Eternal City because it has so many layers of history and love and unknown stories and marks of time and beauty in decay and new life bursting forth in a macabre, colored, brilliant celebration in Roman life today.

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Took a boat around my favorite island and swam in the Tyrrhenian sea on Capri, a place which invokes everything beautiful, lush and ancient about Southern Italy. There’s nothing quite like it.

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Returned to a lot of the same pleasures of the past, freshly squeezed oranges and lemons, under the Italian sun, by a Neapolitan woman who sings all day as she flitters around her Kiosk on the gorgeous Via Tragara.

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A return to Pompeii, the fascinating buried city with Vesuvius watchful in the distance.

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Meeting new friends abroad 🙂

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Long walks soaking in the sun and the past.

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Architectural details in half-obscured gardens of small villa art museums (full of amazing Renaissance, ancient and baroque Italian art)!

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Being the foreigner in a city you fall into like a comfortable affair.

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The moments you can’t anticipate but happen upon in the most beautiful of happenstances.

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My favorite spot on earth for the golden hour, on the Pincian Hill in Rome. This is before the view of the Popolo.

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A typical Roman street, wrapped into the mystery of fragments and pieces of history.

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The beauty of being overwhelmed in Rome.

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Cafe life in Italy, a class of wine or a coffee, a little treat, there is nothing like it. Another layered moment captured, to be savored and remembered palpably.

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On every wall there is a reminder of death and a reminder of love, the eternal kind, of love that lasts, and of life in the hand too.

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Rome, a city to return to, one that keeps its shutters open to the world, long enough for an unforgettable peek.

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Since that first moment I arrived there, now, and always, for Roma.

For traveling, for seeing the world, for meeting new people, and for being at home in the world.

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Here’s to 2014… and here is a cheers to 2015 and a new year of adventure and experience and chasing beauty!

Dante, Virgil and Augustus and the clouds of Naples

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Augustus, in Naples, looks out at Vesuvius, the volcano that covered Pompeii and Herculaneum in lava and ash thousands of years ago. Clouds puff out around Vesuvio like plumes of smoke. Virgil, a great Roman poet of the Augustan era, is entombed not far away. His Aeneid, inspired by Homer‘s Odyssey and Iliad. Tuscan poet Dante Alighieri, in 14th century Italy, wrote Virgil into his Divine Comedy as a sage pagan guide through hell and purgatory.

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Dante Alighieri commands the clouds, overlooking the passersby in the Piazza Dante off Via Toledo. The day before it had stormed on nearby Capri and the clouds were thick and dramatic against the bright blue sky of central Napoli.

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I wept not, so to stone within I grew. – Dante

slide4Dante is host to one of Naple’s most popular “outdoor living rooms” where Neapolitans meet in the evenings for conversation, snacks, flirting and delicious coffee.

“With the color that paints the morning and evening clouds that face the sun I saw then the whole heaven suffused.” – Dante

All photographs shot on velvia film slides by Rebecca Price Butler, alovelettertorome.com