Naples’ Pharmacy of the Incurables: merging science, magic, and art

Naples’ Ospedale degli Incurabili is an old and still-functioning hospital in the centre of the southern Italian city that is linked to a wealth of interesting stories of early medicine, magic and alchemy, religious people and those recognised as saints for dedicating their lives to helping the poor and sick here. Founded around 1520, it … More Naples’ Pharmacy of the Incurables: merging science, magic, and art

Exploring the depths of Procida’s Abbey of Saint Michael

I visited Procida in the bay of Naples earlier this year and after a delicious fish meal by the shore, I prepared to explore the most intriguing corner of the island: the Abbey of Saint Michael the Archangel. It’s perched on the highest point of Procida, in the “Terra Murata” surrounded by fortified walls built in the … More Exploring the depths of Procida’s Abbey of Saint Michael

Salerno’s Minerva Garden: a hidden trove of therapeutic treasures

While many people have heard of the botanical gardens built during the Italian Renaissance period in northern towns such as Padua and Pisa, a small and less well-known medicinal garden in Salerno actually predates them. The Minerva Garden in this southern Italian town traces its roots back to the 14th century, when the medical writer and … More Salerno’s Minerva Garden: a hidden trove of therapeutic treasures

Salerno’s Christmas lights, brightening up the dark nights

One of my new English language students is from Salerno. During our first lesson we chatted about where we were from, and I asked him what was interesting about his city. He told me about the stunning light displays held there every year around Christmas time. I was intrigued by his enthusiastic description, and was … More Salerno’s Christmas lights, brightening up the dark nights

Pause to ponder: three fountains in Caserta’s Royal Palace

After visiting the gardens of the Royal Palace of Caserta I was fascinated by the ornate fountains and interested to discover more about the stories behind them. I particularly liked the top three, and so I embarked on some research. The first of these three that you get to when you walk up through the gardens … More Pause to ponder: three fountains in Caserta’s Royal Palace