Mara at the Gardens of San Giorgio a Cremano

So, I’m on a video roll, what can I say. Well, I had filmed a ‘couple’ of things in my travels and professional events, and I wanted to share with you, my dearest readers.  This one is a little particular in the sense that the beginning…didn’t happen.  By some unfortunate glick fabricated by the mind of my digital camera, even though I introduced the video, meticulously explaining where I was, that fundamental part disappeared!  Pazienza. But I can write about it, no?  In this video I’m in the charming town of San Giorgio a Cremano, next door to Portici (Italy, of course), a lively community at the foothills of the Vesuvius.  On this picture-perfect mid-October afternoon, I visited – thanks to the kindness of a local friend – two stunning aristocratic villas, originally built in the 18th century.  The first one is called Villa Vannucchi, and it was abandoned and partially buried for a couple of centuries.  In the 1980’s, it was restored to its full glory, following the original blueprints found in the ruins.  It was the summer residence of a very wealthy noble family, and, I’m told, the site of quite a few ‘wild’ and opulent parties. The gardens are gorgeous and the setting serene and elegant.  Now it is the home of Italy’s first online university, Università Telematica Pegaso, offering courses in law and humanities.  This brief video starts in the gardens, since, as I explained, the segment taped inside the palace at the beginning, was mysteriously deleted.  From Villa Vannucchi, I walk a few hundred meters to another villa cum park, Villa Bruno, also a stunning place from that era, where you can also find an outdoor theater that, in the summer, offers live performances.  Tucked in the back, we also find an adorable, picturesque bar, calledGoethe Café, in honor of the great German writer who was enamored of all of Southern Italy, especially the Naples area, and spent some time at this villa.  Here local writers gather to this day to read and discuss their pieces.  What an extraordinary coincidence, no?  I suppose I’m home now.

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