Beneath the volcano - March 2014
Maurizio, Mario, Ada, Massimo, Steve, Jo and Rosalba
The Oracle's tunnel
Jo and I have just spent a fabulous four days with friends in Italy to celebrate the release of Mario Giammetti's latest Genesis book and to spend time with Mario and other friends.
The buzz at the event was exciting. I recommend Mario's book to anyone who can read Italian... and even if you can't you can get a feel of the early Genesis tours and music along with some great photos.
We spent much of the rest of the time underground... Digging into the past in another way. There is a whole labyrinth of ancient tunnels under the city, dug into rock created by thick volcanic ash, which made you realise just how far Vesuvius reached. Ancient Greek waterworks turned into Second World War air raid shelters were an intriguing sight, and in a nearby church crypt, bones of the cherished dead lay out on display. Most disturbing beneath a bride's veil was a skull of a girl Lucia who had apparently died of a broken heart. It feels weird to look at ornately decorated dead displayed on what might pass for Welsh dressers in a kind of Ideal Bone exhibition. A similar vibe to Mexico's Day of the Dead...
We glanced into the tunnel of the oracle of Apollo at Cumae in the region of the Phlegraean Fields... the Fiery Field sister volcano to Vesuvius. We were told not to enter as it was potentially dangerous. The following morning local papers reported that part of the tunnel had fallen in... just after our visit!
It was a fascinating trip and the hospitality of our wonderful Italian friends was second to none. The melted cheese on the pizzas flowed like lava into the night along with the wine and conversation. Special thanks to Massimo Fargnoli and Mario, along with all who organised the event and made it such a special visit. As always we long to return to that extraordinary place.
The event discussion
Steve and Jo touch the ancient stone
Photo © www.iconphoto.ch
Children's toys from WWII - a poignant sight in subterranean Napoli
Celebrating Mario's birthday...