February 29, 2016

Photo of the Week: Statue of Charles V of Habsburg

Statue of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V of Habsburg sculpted by Vincenzo Gemito in a niche on the western facade of the Palazzo Reale di Napoli (Royal Palace of Naples) in the Piazza del Plebiscito (formally Largo del Palazzo Reale), Naples. Photo by New York Scugnizzo

February 27, 2016

Death For Five Voices

The Making of a New Musical Drama About Carlo Gesualdo, Renaissance Musician and Murderer
March 03, 2016 (6:00 PM )

In collaboration with the Bogliasco Foundation.

Composer/lyricist Peter Mills and writer/director Cara Reichel - both Bogliasco Foundation fellows - will discuss and preview their new work, a musical drama inspired by the life of the darkly talented Carlo Gesualdo, a prince, musician – and murderer – in Renaissance Naples.

The evening will feature a performance of several songs from the original score as well as a Q&A session with Mills and Reichel, founding members of the Prospect Theater Company.

Click here to read an article about Gesualdo from The New Yorker (Dec. 2011).

Casa Italiana Members may RESERVE a seat: Click here
Deadline: 24 hours prior to event start.
(For all other inquiries please call 212-998-8739)

Death for Five Voices, as all other events, is open to the general public, but members of Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò may reserve seats. Ten minutes before the event begins, all seats (including those that were reserved) will be available, first-come first-served, to anyone present.

In English

For more info visit Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò

February 26, 2016

Neo-Bourbons Gearing Up to Welcome TRH Prince Carlo and Princess Camilla di Borbone Delle Due Sicilie to New York City

Members and friends of the Committees of the Two Sicilies USA (Comitati Due Sicilie USA) are organizing a group to welcome Their Royal Highnesses Prince Carlo of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and Princess Camilla of Bourbon-Two Sicilies during their upcoming visit to the United Nations in New York City on March 4, 2016. Members and friends interested in participating may contact the Committee on Facebook for further information.

Also see:
Royal Visit to New York City
"UNWFPA's Humanitarian Award" to H.R.H. Princess Camilla of Bourbon Two Sicilies, Duchess of Castro

Announcing the 2016 Feast of Saint Joseph, Paterson, New Jersey

www.stgerardmajella.org

February 25, 2016

Una voce per l'eta!

Enrico Caruso – The King of Tenors
Enrico Caruso
Courtesy of The Enrico Caruso Museum
By Niccolò Graffio
“When you speak of tenors you have to divide them into two groups. Caruso is in the first group and all the others are in the second.” – Rosa Ponselle (legendary soprano)
A frequent criticism of mine in previous articles I have written for this blog is the number of our people (and they are legion) who have made their mark on history but who nevertheless are virtual unknowns in the collective minds of the American public.  This is due for a number of reasons including American attitudes towards Italians (especially Southern Italians) as well as the shabby quality of the American educational system.  On the rare occasion one of our people does manage to become famous here, it is usually a gangster like Al Capone or Carlo “Lucky” Luciano. The American love of criminals and criminality comes into play here.
Despite these hurdles a people as resourceful and creative as ours will rise to the challenge and occasionally produce figures that will nevertheless captivate the imaginations of even Americans.  It has been said you are truly famous (or infamous) when people know you by just one name.  Many of these figures immediately come to mind – Einstein, Newton, Beethoven, Mozart, Shakespeare, etc. I’m sure if you, dear reader, think about it for a minute you can come up with many more names. Continue reading

The Good Italian

Benedetto Croce: The “Soul” of Italy
Benedetto Croce
By Niccolò Graffio
“Unless a capacity for thinking be accompanied by a capacity for action, a superior mind exists in torture.” – Benedetto Croce
Benedetto Croce was born in Pescasseroli in the Abruzzi region in the ruins of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies on February 25, 1866. The disaster which befell his homeland did not have much of an impact on his family, as they were people of considerable wealth. The Croce family had so much wealth, in fact, that from the day of his birth to the day of his death, Benedetto Croce never had to engage in any form of manual labor in order to survive. In that, he differed considerably from most of his countrymen.
Devout Roman Catholics, his parents sent him at an early age to Naples to be schooled in the tenets of their religion. By the time he reached mid-adolescence, however, Croce had decided he had no use for Catholicism, or any religion, for that matter, preferring instead a type of spiritualism of his own making to which he adhered for the remainder of his life. In 1883, while on vacation with his family in the village of Casamicciola, Ischia, a strong earthquake struck the area, destroying the home they were living in and tragically killing his parents and sister. He was buried (severely injured) under the rubble for several hours until rescuers were able to free him. Continue reading

February 24, 2016

Titan of the South: Il Cavaliere Calabrese

Mattia Preti, the Knight from Calabria
Pilate Washing His Hands by Mattia Preti
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
Mattia Preti was born on February 24, 1613 in Taverna, a small town on the slopes of la Sila Piccola in Calabria. In 1630 the young artist followed his older brother Gregorio to Rome (who arrived two years earlier), where they studied painting at the Accademia di San Luca. There, he became familiar with the works of Caravaggio and his followers. His initial paintings are reminiscent of the dramatic chiaroscuro style of the Lombard master. 
The success of Preti's early works opened up many opportunities for him and he soon acquired important commissions in the Duchy of Modena, most notably the frescoes for the apse and dome of San Biagio. In 1641 or '42 Urban VIII admitted him into the Order of St. John of Malta as a Knight of Obedience. This earned him the moniker Il Cavaliere Calabrese, or the Knight from Calabria. According to his often-quoted biographer Bernardo De Dominici, Preti also traveled to Venice, Spain and the Netherlands, broadening his techniques and developing his skills. Many historians, however, doubt the validity of these travels. Continue reading

Announcing the 2016 Feast of Saint Joseph, Traditional Latin Mass, Newark, New Jersey

For more info visit the Feast of St. Joseph on Facebook

February 23, 2016

Giambattista Basile and the Literary Fairy Tale

Giambattista Basile 
Photo courtesy of il portal del Sud
By Giovanni di Napoli
"Whoever reads Basile's tales can't fail to see the direct ties they have with southern Italian folklore. And we should remember with pride the debt that the European imaginary owes to both our culture and Basile. But we should remember above all thatThe Tale of Tales is more, and to this it owes its present and perennial greatness." — Carmelo Lettere (1)
The distinction for composing Europe's first collection of literary fairy tales belongs to Giambattista Basile, a Neapolitan soldier, poet and courtier. His Lo cunto de li cunti, overo Lo trattenemiento de 'peccerille (The Tale of Tales, or Entertainment for Little Ones) contains the West's earliest literary versions of some of the most celebrated fairy tales, including "Cinderella," "Rapunzel," "Sleeping Beauty" and "Hansel and Gretel." Sometimes called Il Pentamerone, the collection was written in the early seventeenth century and published posthumously in 1634-'36. Basile's Tale of Tales predates Germany's renowned Brothers Grimm by nearly two hundred years.
Because he wrote his tales in Neapolitan, Basile's magnum opus remains fairly unknown today. After Italian unification in 1861 Neapolitan was officially replaced with the so-called "Italian language" (i.e. the Florentine vernacular) and undeservedly relegated to the rank of "dialect." The literary works written in the languages of the South have suffered as a consequence and Basile's Tales fell into obscurity. Neapolitan, like the other regional tongues of Italy (e.g. Sicilian), continue to decline in importance due to the cultural leveling taking place in Italy. Continue reading

February 22, 2016

Chair of San Pietro Apostolo

Altar of the Chair of Peter by Bernini
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
February 22nd is the Chair of San Pietro Apostolo (St. Peter the Apostle), first Pope and martyr. Known as the “Prince of Apostles,” St. Peter is the patron saint of fisherman, sailors, bakers, bridge builders, clock makers and, of course, the Papacy. He is also invoked against fever, hysteria and foot ailments. Widely venerated across southern Italy, he is the principal patron of San Pietro al Tanagro (SA), San Pietro Apostolo (CZ), Riposto (CT), San Pietro Vernotico (BR), and San Pietro in Lama (LE), among others. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a prayer to St. Peter. The accompanying photos were taken during my 2007 pilgrimage to St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.


Prayer to St. Peter

Pilgrim touching the foot of St. Peter
O blessed St Peter, head and chief of the Apostles, thou art the guardian of the keys of the heavenly kingdom, and against thee the powers of hell do not prevail; thou art the rock of the Church and the shepherd of Christ’s flock; thou art great in power, wonderful in thy heavenly bliss; thou hast the right of binding and loosing in heaven and on earth. The sea supported thy footsteps, the sick upon whom even thy shadow fell were cured of their ills. By the memory of that right hand which supported thee on the waves of the sea, lift me from the ocean of my sins, and by those tears which thou didst shed for thy Lord, break the bonds of my offenses and free me from the hand of all my adversaries. Help even me, O good shepherd, that I may in this life serve Christ Jesus and thee, that with thy help, after the close of a good life, I may deserve to attain the reward of eternal happiness in heaven, where thou art unto endless ages the guardian of the gates and the shepherd of the flock. Amen.

February 21, 2016

Photo of the Week: Statue of Alfonso V of Aragon

Statue of Alfonso the Magnanimous, King of Naples and Sicily sculpted by Achille D’Orsi in a niche on the western facade of the Palazzo Reale di Napoli (Royal Palace of Naples) in the Piazza del Plebiscito (formally Largo del Palazzo Reale), Naples. Photo by New York Scugnizzo

February 20, 2016

Feast of San Leone di Catania

Icon of San Leone di Catania
By Giovanni di Napoli

February 20th is the Feast Day of San Leone di Catania (Saint Leo, Bishop of Catania), patron saint of Rometta (ME), Longi (ME), Sinagra (ME) and Saracena (CS). Renowned for his compassion and charity, San Leone was also known as "the wonderworker," due to the many healing miracles attributed to his mediation.

Though kind and generous, the beloved Bishop was not one to be trifled with. According to popular legend, a wicked and troublesome magician named Heliodorus (Eliodoro) would regularly harass San Leone and cause disturbances during Mass. Sowing confusion and doubt among the congregants with black magic, the fiend repeatedly refused San Leone’s requests to cease and repent.

San Leone defeating Heliodorus
Chiesa del Santissimo Crocifisso
Santa Maria di Licodia, Catania
Fed up with sorcerer’s impudence (and fearful for the wellbeing of his parishioners) San Leone ordered a bonfire built in the piazza. Dragging Heliodorus by his collar, together they jumped onto the burning pyre. Consumed by the flames the charlatan was immolated, leaving behind a pile of smoldering ash. Dusting off his omophorion (shoulder vestment), San Leone returned to Mass unscathed and triumphant.

Venerated by both Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians, I’m posting a Troparion and Kontakion of St. Leo of Catania (courtesy of the Orthodox Church of America). Evviva San Leone!
Troparion — Tone I
You were shown forth as a resplendent priest, / a teacher of godliness and a wonderworker, blessed hierarch Leo; / by the light of heavenly virtue you were enriched with the power of the Spirit, / and heal the souls and bodies of those who hasten to you. / Glory to Christ who has glorified you! / Glory to Him who has crowned you! / Glory to Him who through you works healing for all!
Kontakion — Tone II
With hymns of praise let us crown Leo, / who was consecrated to the Lord from early childhood; / he received grace while still a babe in swaddling clothes. / He is a brightly shining star in the Church: / its valiant defender and firm support!

February 19, 2016

Sicilian Folk Dance & Frame Drumming Workshop

Tuesday, March 8 (8pm—12am)

Serena's Studios
939 8th Avenue
New York, NY 10019

Learn the unique traditions of Sicily: the tarantella and ballettu identified with Sicily wil be taught by noted performer, singer, percussionist, folklorist and folk dance educator Barabara Crescimanno. Immeditaely after, Michele Piccione, frame drum virtuoso, guitarist, zampognaro and ethnomusicologist will lead a workshop in the Sicilian frame drumming techniques in which are evidenced elements of various techniques of Southern Italy.

Space is limited - Tickets available in advance on Eventbrite

For more info visit Sicilian Folk Dance and Frame Drumming Workshop on Facebook

Compra Sud — Ferdinando's Focacceria

Photo by New York Scugnizzo
Let's support those who keep our traditions and folkways alive

Ferdinando's Focacceria
151 Union Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
(718) 855-1545

Facebook

Also see: A Piece of History at Ferdinando's Focacceria


Visit our Compra Sud Directory for complete listing


* Our recommendations will be unsolicited, and only from our personal experience. No second hand suggestions will be made.

February 17, 2016

Magna GRECE is Renamed Il Regno

Welcome to Il Regno, formally known as Magna GRECE. Why Il Regno? We thought the name change would better reflect our readership and what we stand for: An independent and sovereign Due Sicilie (pre-unification southern Italy) with strong cultural ties to the southern Italian diaspora communities.
The old name served us well over the past seven years, but times and conditions change and we felt this move was necessary. We're still adjusting the links, so there may be some difficulties reaching certain posts. We appreciate your patience during this process and apologize for any inconvenience.

February 16, 2016

Remembering Justice Antonin Scalia, 1936 - 2016

Justice Antonin Scalia, 1936 - 2016
Program moderated by Prof. Santi Buscemi
Thursday, February 18th, 6:30 P.M.
The Italian American Museum will host a program of remembrance for Justice Antonin Scalia on Thursday, February 18 at 6:30 P.M.  Justice Scalia was one of the most important and influential jurists in American history. A strict constructionist and originalist, Justice Scalia held to a judicial philosophy that changed the course and nature of American jurisprudence and legal scholarship.  His intelligence, wit, and especially his commitment to Constitution will influence generations of lawyers, public servants, and ordinary citizens for generations. The son of immigrants from Sicily and Campania, Justice Scalia made us all proud whether you were a Democrat, Republican, Liberal or Conservative, having been the first American of Italian descent to be appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Scalia will be remembered for his eloquent and well thought out opinions.
Italian American Museum
155 Mulberry Street
New York, NY 10013

For reservations, call the Italian American Museum at 212.965.9000

To the Shores of Tripoli

The Story of the Unsung Hero of the First Barbary War
Burning of the frigate USS Philadelphia
in the harbor of Tripoli, February 16, 1804,
by Edward Moran, painted 1897
By Niccolò Graffio
“It would be unjust of me, were I to pass over the important services rendered by Mr. Salvatore Catalano, on whose conduct the success of the enterprise in the greatest degree depended.” – Lt. Stephen Decatur: writing in his official report on the burning of thePhiladelphia; February, 1804.
Piracy is an ancient plague of mariners and coastal-dwelling peoples. For as long as men have taken to the seas in the name of commerce there have been those who have taken it upon themselves to prey upon them. The earliest mentions of pirates in history are found in the chronicles of the ancient Egyptians who spoke of the depredations of the “Sea Peoples” which disrupted the shipping lanes of the Eastern Mediterranean in the 13th century BC. Continue reading

February 15, 2016

Requiescat in pace, Justice Scalia

Antonin Gregory Scalia (March 11, 1936 — February 13, 2016)
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Justice Antonin Scalia. His passing is a great loss for this country, may he rest in peace.

Photo of the Week: Statue of Charles I of Anjou

Statue of Charles I of Anjou, King of Sicily sculpted by Tommaso Solari in a niche on the western facade of the Palazzo Reale di Napoli (Royal Palace of Naples) in the Piazza del Plebiscito (formally Largo del Palazzo Reale), Naples. 
Photo by New York Scugnizzo

February 14, 2016

Super Saturday at Forno Rosso

Juventus vs Napoli
A makeshift shrine to San Gennaro was erected on the bar
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
Spirits and expectations were high Saturday, for the highly anticipated showdown between Napoli and Juventus. We Napoli fans showed up in force at Forno Rosso Pizzeria (327 Gold Street) in Brooklyn, New York, to cheer our beloved Partenopei on, enjoy some camaraderie, and, naturally, eat our fill. 
The atmosphere in the restaurant was electric with excitement, equally as much for Chef Marrone’s special game day menu as for the match between these bitter rivals. Great food and drink (while watching a hard fought contest between two titans of Italian football) made for a very enjoyable evening. Sadly, the only thing missing was a Napoli victory. A late Juventus goal broke the deadlock, knocking the Vesuviani out of first place. 
Far from ruining the festivities, my friends and I relived the game over dessert and coffee while discussing what went wrong and predicting how we will finally overcome the wretched Old Lady. We can console ourselves with the knowledge that there are still thirteen games left (and 39 points up for grabs) in the campaign. We’re down, but not out. Our lads have a lot of character and will continue to fight for the Scudetto until the end. 
Special thanks to Chef Marrone and his hardworking staff for the warm hospitality, excellent service and, of course, delicious meal. You guys are the best!
Forza Napoli sempre!
Our pals Therese and Giuseppe proudly show their colors
(Above & below) Rowdy revelers are ready for an epic clash and fantastic dinner
(Above & below) Brooklyn tifosi show up in force to support their team

Diehard Napoli fans James and Anna are all smiles
(Above & below) Just some of the many different courses we enjoyed:
Fritto Misto (Panzarotti, Frittatina di pasta and Arancini)
Insalata Caprese, Piatti di Salumi and Burratina Pugliese
After a couple of delicious pasta dishes we had an assortment of pizza,
including this incredible Pizza Capricciosa
Also see:
Downtown Brooklyn’s Newest Hotspot

Feast of Sant'Antonino di Sorrento

Evviva Sant'Antonino!
Piazza Sant'Antonino, Sorrento
February 14th is the Feast Day of Sant'Antonino Abate (Saint Antoninus of Sorrento), protector of Campagna (SA) and Sorrento (NA). 
Born circa 550 AD in Campagna, a small town in the Province of Salerno, Sant'Antonino entered a local Benedictine monastery (some sources say it was the Abbey of Monte Cassino). Forced to flee due to pillaging Lombards, he withdrewto Castellammare di Stabia where he lived as a hermit on Monte Aureo (now Monte Faito), the highest peak of the Lattari Mountains. Following a vision, he erected a sanctuary on the mountain top in honor of Saint Michael the Archangel with the help of his friend Saint Catellus (San Catello Vescovo). Popular among the people of Sorrento, Sant'Antonino eventually succeededSaint Catellus as abbot of the Monastery of San Agrippino.
Sant'Antonino by Tommaso Solari
Piazza Tasso, Sorrento
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
Sant'Antonino is reputed to have performed many miracles, including saving Sorrento from Saracen attacks in 1354 and 1358. It is said that, according to his dying wishes, he was buried within the city's ancient walls, thus making them impregnable. During a Lombard attack, the section containing the saint's remains withstood the assault. Legend tells us that Prince Sicard of Benevento was haunted (and beaten!) in his dreams by Sant'Antonino's cudgel wielding apparition until he lifted the siege. 
The Saint, however, is best remembered for rescuing a young child from a giant cetacean. According to the legend, several children were playing along the seashore when a sea creature sprung up and swallowed the boy whole. The child's distraught mother immediately sought help from Antonino. A crowed followed the holy man to the coast, where he called on them to pray for the child's safety. Miraculously, the monster returned and immediately released the frightened, but unharmed, child from his gaping maw.
To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a Prayer to Sant'Antonino Abate. The accompanying photos were taken during my 2007 visit to Sorrento.
Prayer to Sant'Antonino Abate
Glorious San Antonino, beloved patron of Sorrento, you served God in humility and confidence on earth. In common supplication we turn to you, holy Father Antonino, our gentle patron, asking you to protect this city by the aid of your intercession. May its people be ever devoted to Christ and to you, by serving God and by loving and honoring you. Amen

Feast of San Valentino Martire

Evviva San Valentino!
February 14th is the Feast Day of San Valentino (Saint Valentine’s Day), Bishop and Martyr. He is the patron saint of happy marriages, love, courtship and beekeepers, as well as protector of citrus crops and protection against epilepsy and plague. Widely venerated across southern Italy, he is the principal patron of San Valentino Torio (SA), Vico del Gargano (FG), Abriola (PZ), San Valentino in Abruzzo Citeriore (PE) and Mafalda (CB), among others. To commemorate the occasion I’m posting a Prayer to Saint Valentine. The accompanying photo comes courtesy of Oratorio San Valentino Torio, Salerno.
Prayer to Saint Valentine
Dear Saint and glorious martyr, teach us to love unselfishly and to find great joy in giving. Enable all true lovers to bring out the best in each other. Let them love each other in God and in God in each other. Amen.

Happy Valentine's Day (Lupercalia)

Cupid with fish
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
In the spirit of Valentine's Day I'm posting New Moon (Luna nova)(1) by the great Neapolitan poet, Salvatore Di Giacomo (b.1860 — d.1934). The accompanying photo of the fountain of Cupid with a fish was taken at Dr. Axel Munthe’s Villa San Michele in Anacapri, Capri. Some believe Saint Valentine's Day sprung from the Roman Lupercalia (February 15th), an ancient festival of purification and fertility.
New Moon
A new moon rises on a fabled bay,
orbing a fishing boat in chased      silver;
a gathered net across bare      browned knees,
a young fisherman nods on      pillowed swells.

Ahoy! fisherman lad, stay awake!
Cast your net overboard, man the stout oars!

In this siren sea he sighs and dozes,
dreaming of his sweetheart who pines ashore;
a casual wake of the grey boat glows
phosphorescent, matching a lunar sky.

O jeweled moon, let him dream of love,
kiss him on the forehead with a beam.

As this fisherman lad sighs, so do you,
O Naples, blessed you are amid this beauty!
Some say you cry bitter tears in your sleep;
I have heard you cry, Naples! Wake up! Na…!

Alas, you dream among languorous isles,
Tiller unmanned, O Naples! Wake up! Na…!


(1) Reprinted from Salvatore Di Giacomo: Love Poems (A Selection), translated by Frank Palescandolo, Guernica, 1999, p.13

February 13, 2016

A Matter of Honor

In Days Of Old When Knights Were Bold….
Actors recreating the legendary ‘Challenge of Barletta’
Photo courtesy of www.DisfidadiBarletta.net
By Niccoló Graffio
“Whoever would not die to preserve his honor would be infamous.” – Blaise Pascal: Pensées, III, 1670.
History and Geography were always my two favorite subjects in school. No doubt the fact I was so good in them was a factor (I never received less than an “A” in either of them). The overriding factor, though, was my lifelong fascination with peoples and places from the past. I must confess to having a special attachment to Greco-Roman history, but given the enormous contributions of ancient Greeks and Romans to the history of Western Civilization, it should be understandable.
In my salad days I was introduced to those periods in history known as the Middle Ages and the Renaissance by attending a Renaissance Faire in upstate New York (Sterling Forest, to be exact). This is not to say I did not learn about these periods while in school. I did, but they were such quick and dry reading (thanks in large part to the politically correct curricula of the New York City Dept. of Education), they really didn’t pique my interest. Standing there in Sterling Forest, however, surrounded by medieval trappings (melded with the crass commercialism of modern-day America), opened up a whole new world for me. Continue reading

February 10, 2016

Shadows Across My Screen

Elvira Notari and the Suppression of Southern Italian Cinematic Culture
Elvira and Nicola Notari
By Niccoló Graffio
“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell (As quoted in My Few Wise Words of Wisdom by Charles Walker, 2000)
If one seeks to create a new nation out of pre-existing peoples, mythology becomes important.  Mythology, whether of a religious, philosophical or historical nature, can serve as a glue to bind together otherwise disparate elements in a society. It is not enough to simply create this mythology; one must also propagate and inculcate it into the masses to the point where it is accepted unquestionably by the majority. In times past this fell to the priests of whatever religion served the rulers of the polity. Nowadays, it is the responsibility of those who walk the halls of Academia and the mass media. Continue reading

Brother Rosary

Bartolo Longo
Bartolo Longo of Brindisi
By Niccolò Graffio
“He that repents is angry with himself; I need not be angry with him.” – Benjamin Whichcote:Moral and Religious Aphorisms, 1753
Bartolo Longo was born on February 10th, 1841 to Dr. Bartolomeo Longo and Antonina (nee) Luparelli in the town of Latiano, in the province of Brindisi, Apulia at the time that region was part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. He had the good fortune of being born into a prosperous family which guaranteed for him a better lifestyle than most of those living around him.
His parents were devout Roman Catholics, especially his mother, who taught young Bartolo to pray the Rosary on a daily basis. At an early age he demonstrated a marked intelligence. That, plus his parents’ prosperity, insured for him a good education. In addition to academics he also studied the piano and the flute. Records show he did well in all his endeavors. Continue reading

Ferdinando Carulli: A True Guitar Hero

Ferdinando Carulli
By Giovanni di Napoli
Ferdinando Carulli (b. Naples 1770 - d. Paris 1841) was perhaps the most significant composer and instructor for the guitar in the Nineteenth Century. Highly prolific, many of the virtuoso's works, including his "Harmony Applied to the Guitar," continue to be used today to train students the classical guitar.
According to most sources he was born on February 9th, others claim the 10th. His father, Michele Carulli, was originally from Bari and a distinguished statesman in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies; his mother, Patrizia Federici, is believed to be Neapolitan, but more information about her is lost. He was raised on the Via Nardones near the Palazzo Reale in Naples.
Carulli learned the basics of music from a priest, which was not unusual at that time. The Cello was his first instrument, but at twenty he discovered the guitar and made it his life's passion. Because no suitable instructors were available at the time, the Neapolitan was principally self-taught and formulated his own guitar technique. Continue reading

February 9, 2016

Feast of San Corrado di Baviera

San Corrado by Nicolò Scardigno
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
February 9th is the Feast Day of San Corrado di Baviera (St. Conrad of Bavaria), patron of Molfetta, Puglia. To commemorate the occasion I'm posting a prayer to San Corrado. The photo on the right was taken at Holy Face Monastery in Clifton, New Jersey. Unveiled on July 14, 2013, the statue was sculpted by Lyndhurst, New Jersey native Nicolò Scardigno in honor of his parents, Salvatore and Anna, who hail from Molfetta. The picture below was taken at the The Madonna Dei Martiri Social Club in Hoboken, New Jersey, where large numbers of immigrants from Molfetta settled and founded The Madonna Dei Martiri Society.
Preghiera a San Corrado Patrono di Molfetta
San Corrado, Madonna Dei Martiri
Social Club, Hoboken, New Jersey
Penitentissimo mio S. Corrado la divina provvidenza che vi chiamò da Francia in Palestina, e poi da terra Santa vi guidò fino a Bari, a singolarizzare con tanti lunghi pellegrinaggi, e con romitaggi sempre più aspri la vostra penitenza. Per quell'amore ardentissimo col quale visitaste quei Sacri luoghi, santificate colle pedate, coi sudori, e col sangue del Redentore, per quelle penitenze colle quali voleste divenire tutto somiglianti al Redentore Crocifisso; Per quell'affetto col quale emulaste le virtu, ed onoraste il sepolcro di S. Nicolò, impetratemi; vi supplico gratitudine di corrispondenza operative alle piaghe di Gesù Cristo vera contrizione dei miel peccati, e tempo e modo da farne dovuta penitenza.

Feast of San Sabino of Avellino

Viva San Sabino!
February 9th is the Feast of San Sabino di Avellino, Bishop of Abellinum and patron of Atripalda. To commemorate the occasion, I'm posting a Prayer to San Sabino.(1) The accompanying photo of the Saint was taken at Saint Lucy's Church, National Shrine of Saint Gerard in Newark, New Jersey.
Prayer to Saint Sabino
Lean down from Heaven our great protector St. Sabino, who from amongst all cities chose Atripalda as your last abode and final resting place. Here your holy bones still exude precious manna that assures us of your presence with us for all time. You have given your people copious graces and all who invoke your powerful name. We beg you, keep far from us all the divine punishments, render our fields fertile, keep the contagion of disease far from us, save us from earthquake and protect us from every evil, especially the evil of sin. Abundantly rain down your blessings upon us and our brothers who are far from us in America. Amen. 
(1) The Prayer to Saint Sabino was reprinted from the placard at the base of the statue.

Paolo de Matteis

Andromeda and Perseus (ca. 1710) by Paolo de Matteis
Photo by New York Scugnizzo
By Giovanni di Napoli
Paolo de Matteis was born in Piano del Cilento, near Salerno, on February 9, 1662 in the Kingdom of Naples. According to the Neapolitan biographer Bernardo De Dominici (1683-1759) the young Paolo showed great promise as a painter. His parents encouraged him, providing him with art instruction, though his father wanted him to pursue a more distinguished career in liberal arts. Brought to Naples he studied philosophy and mathematics under the guidance of some of the Kingdom's leading intellectuals, including Lionardo di Capoa and Tommaso di Cornelio. Paolo's natural talent, however, was painting and he was allowed to return to it. Continue reading

Remembering a Titan — Frank Frazetta

Self Portrait
By Giovanni di Napoli
For as long as I can remember, I've been drawing. One of my earliest memories was a water color painting I did of the Red Baron's triplane soaring through the sky. It was nothing special, but my parents made so much of a fuss over it that I never forgot. I was fascinated with soldiers and war and as I grew older, my pictures grew more graphic and detailed.
An early influence in my life was Frank Frazetta. I'll never forget the first time I saw his work. A friend showed me the cover of his uncle's Molly Hatchet album featuring Frazetta's "Death Dealer", a fierce warrior mounted on a nightmarish black steed. It was like an epiphany. I sought out other works by the artist, which led me to the jacket covers of several science fiction and fantasy novels, sparking my interest in the stories of Robert E. Howard (Conan) and Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan).
Imitating Frazetta, my own renderings became more fantastic, yet more realistic because I began to focus on anatomy. I also started to include scantily clad damsels in distress to my drawings which, predictably, got me in trouble on several occasions in Catholic elementary school. Continue reading