napoli, inside: panorama, east, historic centre, west, on the hillside, a hundred and fifty iconic images captured by the lens of luciano romano, with the masters of landscape painting and early photography, and a 'contemporary dialogue' by giuseppe montesano. the living body of a 'classic location' of eternity.
Life is here, now, every instant, for eternity. From the ancient judgements of western and eastern civilisation, to the genetic mutation currently taking place in our technologically dependent global society, there is a sensation that existence is an infinitesimal fraction of eternity which is worth experiencing moment by moment. We are well aware that there are few situations that we can share and influence, and an endless universe which we must learn to investigate with humility. The intuition of this primordial human dimension therefore remains, over the passing millennia, less controversial than might at first be imagined.
However, life doesn’t come to a halt merely for this. Where so-called consciousness, knowledge, and science cannot arrive, there are urges controlled by one hundred billion neurons (and an infinite number of networks of neural connections), the order and chaos of changing social structures, and the inscrutable magic of cosmic dynamics that guide us inside and around as people, fluid nature and communities.
What distinguishes each piece, each cell, of this immense mosaic?
Is there a special DNA in this fragment of the planet occupied by Naples that marks each environmental, social and civic trait?
To paraphrase Braudel, does there exist a “longue durée” in Naples, steeped in nature, the environment and fragments of people’s lives, a third dimension that takes in and goes beyond our lives, the news and contingent problems?
This is the profound raw material, much abused and reborn a thousand times from the ashes of history and cataclysms, that we have sought to focus on for an ‘autobiographical’ publication, napoli dentro (inside Naples): the “heart and soul” of a city with thousands of years of history, the tuff, the tides, the underground bowels of the city, the splendid palaces and mansions, churches, narrow streets and alleyways, monasteries and cloisters, ancient trees, panoramas, moods, lights, visions...
Luciano Romano demonstrates the healthy distance that the camera can still impart between real life and the picturesque: a majestic visual display – alternating with, and firmly rooted to, the peerless icons of great landscape painting and the timeless portraits of the masters of nineteenth century photography – among wonders and ‘monuments’ that that have always made up for bouts of melancholy, the stereotypes of local patriotism and peremptory judgements passed by armchair prophets of doom.
It proceeds straightforwardly, divided into easily perceptible sequences, panorama, the east, historic centre, the west, on the hillside, a few essential notes for understanding places, creators and periods of reference. It is counterpointed by a story by Giuseppe Montesano in the form of a restless interior dialogue about an ultra-contemporary context which is struggling to perceive the possible directions of the future.
It lays no claims to being an exhaustive guide.
The pages of this volume express the collective thanks, strictly anonymous, of a group of willing people who, over thirty years of service spent working for the different yet complementary firms of Prismi, Electa Napoli and arte’m, have never ceased to be grateful for the fortune of being able to live and work in this corner of the natural and human world.
It is designed to change Naples once again through fair weather and foul.
It is designed to provide up-to-date information, but above all a fully illustrated timeless visiting card.
It can help ordinary citizens, firms struggling to survive, and new generations in search of values and sustainable prospects, to recognise and radically renew their pride, passion and dignity as well as their responsibility for a microcosm which still has a crucial mission to undertake in the warm bosom of Mother Earth.
[from volume's preface]