May of the Monuments

Published in Focus
29 April 2015

Make way for the 21st annual May of the Monuments extravaganza, the most eagerly-awaited event on the Neapolitan spring calendar. An enthusiastic Nino Daniele, Councillor for Tourism and Culture of the City of Naples, talks to us about it: “This year’s edition will be the richest and most diverse event ever presented. More than 300 events will be on offer in the city, featuring an extravaganza based on a by now well-established format in perfect keeping with our mission, namely to restore monuments to the city by making them vibrant places where visitors can enjoy unique experiences”. The title of this year’s May event in Naples is “‘O core ‘e Napule. Cori, cuori e colori di Napoli”, i.e. the choirs and colours described in the song “Napul è” by the late lamented Pino Daniele, a Neapolitan musician and singer-songwriter of international fame who died at the beginning of this year and to whom the city will pay tribute, elevating him to the status of a symbol of the city’s culture. In short, a month dedicated to music and, in particular, to the choirs and historical places of Neapolitan music, including ancient conservatories, theatres, streets housing the workshops of artisans who furnish the settings and costumes for Neapolitan productions and the colours that distinguish the natural environment and artistic heritage of the city. The event acts as a huge tourist draw for those who often attend the event annually: “Although Easter marked a boom in tourism in Naples, even more visitors are expected to flock to the city in May”, commented the councillor. The Maggio dei Monumenti event, combined with the rich calendar of cultural event scheduled to run until December, would probably have sufficed, but with the opening of Expo in May, the city is already fully booked, thus serving as confirmation that Naples is a key tourist destination for those choosing to holiday in Italy”. This year, Maggio dei Monumenti started earlier than usual, during the last weekend of April, with a prologue dedicated to Leopardi who spent the last years of his life in Naples where he died on 14 June 1837: recently restored, the tomb of the poet is located in Parco Vergiliano, in Piedigrotta. To mark the event, the city has organized conferences, guided tours to the places frequented by Leopardi in Naples and public readings of his works, to both commemorate and arouse awareness about Leopardi’s ties with the city. Running from 1 May to the weekend of 2 June, every weekend will be packed with events and associated with a colour. The first weekend will be dedicated to red, the colour of blood and passion. The second weekend, featuring an itinerary in discovery of the legends, places and streets of traditional Neapolitan music, will see the city decked out in black and white like the keys of a piano. The third weekend will be bathed in blue like the colour of the sky and the sea on beautiful spring days, with visits to places associated with the sea, the symbol of the city. Yellow, reminiscent of tufa rock and stones from which the houses and palaces in Naples are built and the gold of its treasures, is the dominant theme of the fourth weekend whose highlights will include visits to underground cities and the remains of the Greek walls and the golden treasures of Naples preserved in its museums and churches. Lastly, green, the colour of nature, has been chosen to symbolize the fifth weekend, with itineraries in discovery of the luminous beauty of the city’s parks and cloisters - often shrouded in an aura of mystery - as well as the ancient gardens of the city, hidden between houses. But that’s not all. after Maggio dei Monumenti, the summer events calendar will continue until September with Pizza Village. Marking the end of the summer season in Naples, within the context of the happenings associated with food, it is a sort of Italian version of the Oktober Fest. Additionally, Naples will offer a slew of Expo-related events boasting a number of dates associated with tradition, including the religious feasts of Piedigrotta and San Gennaro, known throughout the world. “Although tourism rewards Naples, I feel confident in saying the Naples never stops rewarding tourists “, say Daniele, “A city rich in appeal, history and life with a strong international calling. Naples still surprises and attracts those who despite being diffident and having reservations about it because of its issues with waste and crime, nevertheless continue to visit it. The upper part of the metro station of piazza Municipio was recently renovated to become a one-of-a-kind attraction: based on state-of-the art technology, one of the largest archaeological parks in the world , located in Europe’s biggest square, has now been completely revamped and returned to the city. A blend of modernity and history in a place that has no equal. Next year, the actual station will also be inaugurated”.

From 1 May to 2 June