Tuesday, 30 December 2014

d'Araprì spumante, taste of jazz...

This afternoon I went to San Severo, north of Apulia, to visit the Cantina d'Araprì.

San Severo is a renown town for its vineyards and wine production. 

Indeed, lots of vineyards are spread around the countryside of San Severo.

I have to say that today I feel enthusiastic of what I have learned from Girolamo, one of the founders of d'Arapri.

The story of d'Araprì is a story of three friends who actually loved to play jazz together.

Girolamo plays the trumpet, Luigi the piano and Ulrico the double bass.

They used to play music in the Girolamo Mum's wine cellar.

So, 35 years ago, while playing jazz, they had the idea of making spumante.

They started almost for fun, just like three naive teenagers.

According to Girolamo "none in the south of Italy have ever made spumante before us".

"We have spent ten years testing, failing, and then trying again, till achieving what we were looking for" Girolamo says.

"The D'Araprì spumante has begun to be successful in the late '90ies, thanks to magazines such as Gambero Rosso and Cucina & Vini" Girolamo adds.

In other words, the main wine magazines had begun to appreciate more and more the local wine variety, like bombino, from which this spumante is made.

Bombino is a typical wine variety of north of Apulia.

However, these three dreamers have worked hard to realize their dream.

First of all, they moved to Champagne, in France, to pick up the know-how.

After having learned the method, they applied it to their own productions.

In 2014, d'Araprì has been awarded as the best spumante dry in Italy by Sparkle, magazine focused on more than 900 spumanti.

I greatly admire Girolamo, Ulrico and Luigi for what they have done.

Girolamo invites me for a tour down the wine cellar: "we have set up our business in this wine cellar, which actually dates back to the 18th century".

Apparently, San Severo is plenty of very old wine cellars.

"We produce 80.000 bottles per year" Girolamo says. "We sell the 80% in Italy, the remaining 20% between Japan, Australia, Belgium and Czech Republic".

While Girolamo leads me through the dark wine cellar, I hardly hear jazz music.

The more we go on, the more the music turns loud.

Finally, we end up in a huge room where 9 musicians are playing music.

Jazz and spumante, what a magic combination

I recognize Ulrico playing the bass.

The band will hold a concert the day after within the wine cellar.

I am just enchanted by the atmosphere I feel down here.

If you love the wine culture, I strongly recommend you to come to San Severo and visit d'Araprì

You won't be disappointed.

I wish you a 2015 in which your dreams come true.

Please click here, should you wish to view more pics

Friday, 26 December 2014

Andy Warhol in Brindisi

Brindisi is currently hosting an exhibition on one of the most influential artist of XX century: Andy Warhol.

Warhol was polyhedral artist.

He was painter, sculptor, filmmaker, photographer, actor, scriptwriter, editor.

The impact of Andy Warhol on contemporary art has just been impressive.

The day before visiting the Warhol's exhibition, held in Palazzo Granafei-Nervegna, I had watched a documentary on Lou Reed.

Lifes of Andy Warhol and Lou Reed were interlaced.

The scenario in which their union took place was the big apple, New York.

In the early 60ies, Lou Reed and his band, the Velvet Underground, were highly supported by Andy Warhol, who actually produced their debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico.

Andy Warhol had involved the Velvet Underground in its Exploding Plastic Inevitable, a milestone
of multimedia art.

Andy Warhol has been working from 1962 till 1968 in The Factory, in Midtwon Manhattan. The rent costed him just 100 dollars per year. Nowadays, that building does not exist anymore.

In 1968, Valerie Solanas. a radical feminist, shot Warhol in the Factory.

After having been arrested, Valerie had declared that Warhol "had too much control over my life".

Andy survived. However, the shooting had a profound effect on the Warhol's life and art.

The Warhol's studios, have always hosted young New Yorker artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente and Keith Haring.

According to Andy Warhol, art must be produced and consumed as any other product.

Pop art took inspiration from the Dada 

You may like or dislike Pop art.

Nevertheless, Andy Warhol remains one of the greatest artist of the past century.

The exhibition in Brindisi will be held till the 18th of June 2015.

Please click here, should you wish to see more pics.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Pugliesi nel mondo 2014

On Friday 12 of December, the “Pugliesi nel mondo 2014” festival has been held.

The teatro Traetta of Bitonto hosted the prestigious event.

I went there as blogger of In Apulia, my beloved blog.

The teatro Traetta is just so tiny and elegant at the same time.

The first guest to be invited on stage was Sara Susca.

Sara works for NASA on a project on robot.

After Sara, it is the round of Michele Mirabella, actor born in Bitonto.

Michele has always supported his community.

He is a humble and intelligent man.

Michele takes the chance to censure the illegal trade of olive trees, symbol of Apulia.

Then, it is the turn of Nicola Sasanelli, in charge of several trade projects for the Australian organizations.

Like all the guests, Nicola receives a present made by Francesco Sannicandro which represents an Apulian olive tree.

The atmosphere in theater is just so sparkling.

Municipalities such as Molfetta, Bari, Bitonto attended the event as testifed by their banners displayed in the parterre.

Rita Statte is invited on stage.

Mingo, the presenter, asks her to talk about her projects.

She reveals that a new movie is going to be shot in Salento, where actually she is born.

After ten minutes break, it is the turn of Tiziana De Carolis, a great artist, a creative piano composer.

Magic notes come up from her piano.

The next one is Vittorio Capotorto, a great artist who actually lives in the big apple: New York.

He went to NY first in 1979 with Riccardo Cucciolla, and michele Mirabella on tour with the Sciascia’s “L'onorevole”.

I guess, Vittorio fell in love with New York.

Vittorio says: “In 1986, the project La Cittadella dello Spettacolo sul Mare had been financed by CEE with 8 billions of lire. However, after having had pressures from a corrupted system, I have abandoned the project. Soon after, I quit Italy to move to the States."

Vittorio is a nice man. His wife is younger than him. She is Spanish.

At the end of the show, I shook the hand with Vittorio. “I have really liked what you have said”, I tell him.

We exchange each other the business card.

The last one to be awarded is a special man, his name is Fernando Catalano.

Fernando had left Giurdignano (Lecce) during the 80ies. 

He moved to Zurich where he is still working hard, with integrity.

Fernando has written a book, Dalla valigia di cartone all’impresa. It is about the Italian migration. I am reading it. It is a touching book.

“Come with me to my car. I’ll give you a copy of it”.

“Of course, I reply”.

While walking towards his car he starts to narrate his story: “I came to Switzerland with nothing but la valigia di cartone. Now, I run a company of 1200 employees”.

Fernando is president of the association Assoii-Suisse in Zurich which promotes the co-operation between Swiss and Italian companies.

Fernando is a humble man, it is a pleasure to talk with him.

Fernando leaves the stage not before having pointed out how disgraceful are the news about the Italian politicians guilty of bribes and other crimes.

The last one to be invited is Tony Santagata, a great folk singer from Sant'Agata di Puglia, a lovely town located in the north of Apulia. 

When he said that he is 79 years old I could not believe it. 

My night in Bitonto ends up not before having gone to see the cathedral, beautiful example of Romanico-Pugliese style.

I am happy for having attended this event.

By the way, I was a pugliese nel mondo as well, having been living in Dublin (Ireland) for four years.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Bari, capital of Orthodox and Catholic religions

Se Parigi tenesse lu mer, sarebbe una piccola Ber (literally means: “If Paris had got the sea, it would have been like Bari”).

This motto says a lot about the baresita, which is the attitude of people of Bari to life.

I have been in Bari last time almost two years ago.

Yesterday, I have had chance to visit again this vibrating city. 

I have been living near Bari for almost four years.

I have got so many friends from Bari. People is very friendly there.

Bari is the capital of the Apulian region.

Bari is very similar to Naples. 

These are the biggest cities of the south of Italy, islands excluded.

There is a lot to say about Bari.

However, today I desire to write about San Nicola, and the devotion of both Orthodox and Catholics.

Due to the fact that Bari hosts the San Nicola’s relics, Bari is the destination of thousands of Orthodox pilgrims.

The skeleton of San Nicola was stored in Myra, Turkey.

However, when Muslims took over Turkey, 62 fishermen departed from Bari with the precise aim to steal the miraculous relics of the saint.

By the way, this is a typical example of baresita’.

They were quicker than Venetians, who also would have liked to put their hands on it.

It happened in 1087.

I have visited the cathedral, amazing example of Romanico-Pugliese.

After having seen that, I walk 200 metres further in Bari vecchia...

...till I come across the outstanding Basilica di San Nicola, another beautiful example of Romanico-Pugliese.

This stunning church hosts the relics of San Nicola.

I went in, then, I headed to the underground chapel. 

My surprise was very big when I saw the small chapel filled with almost 2 or even 3 hundred Orthodox pilgrims.

I was so enchanted by the spiritual atmosphere.

I was struck by seeing the believers together, almost attached one another.

They seemed to me like one body. One body, one soul.

They were singing a beautiful song, of which I just picked the word “Nicola”.

I even saw some people crying.

I spent there 20 minutes, however, I would have like to spend much more time.

Once again, I was just so fascinated by the touching atmosphere which I have breathed there.

They reminded me the first Christians who used to gather in catacombs. I am pretty sure that the engagement was the same.

Outside the marvellous Basilica di San Nicola, there is a statue of San Nicola donated by the Vladimir Putin in 2003.

Bari can rightly be considered as city of peace and fraternity.

Please click here, should you wish to view more pics

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

art made in Altamura

A couple of days ago, while walking along C.so Federico II di Svevia in Altamura, I came across Stefania Digioia, a young local painter.

Stefania is a talented artist. 

She holds a permanent exhibition in her shop called laboratorio SD.

It seems to me that Stefania has got inspired by the so-called street art.

“You know” I confess “when I first saw the Banksy’s works, I felt shivers down my back”.

Stefania has attended the Liceo artistico “Carlo Levi” in Matera. 

Then, she got the degree in Accademia di Belle Arti of Rome.

“I have won two grants” Stefania says “the first allowed me to visit the Biennale in Venice. The second one  to travel to Berlin, of which I have visited musuems and gallery.”.

She adds: “I am very much interested in people, especially those who have suffered for their sexual orientation, like the LGBT".

Stefania loves her roots. She enjoys to live in the south of Italy: “the quality of life here is high compared to big cities such as Rome or Milan”.

The painted chairs are one of her most successful works.

“From my point of view, the chair is one of the symbol of the south. People still use to sit down on the chair outdoor, either on balcony or just outside the courtyard”. Stefania explains.

Stefania is very much appreciated by foreigner buyers.

As result of this, she will likely move to Matera, a city which is just 10 miles far. 

Actually, Matera is becoming one of the main Italian touristic destination, having recently been designated as European capital of culture 2019.

The leitmotiv of her artistic research is memory.

Stefania reveals: “I went to Auschwitz to make a photo-reportage, even though I have never published or shared those pictures because I felt overwhelmed”.

Stefania believes that there is a lot of to do in our communities, especially dealing with teenagers, who look nowadays completely disoriented.

I ask her what is the secret of happiness. She thinks about it for a while, then, with a smile painted on her face she replies : “Surely, rushing to make money brings to the opposite direction of happiness”.

How true is her statement...

If you wish to find out more about Stefania, please visit her website