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Rua Catalana Borough - Naples


A perfect synthesis between history, art and architecture

There is always a side of Naples that you least expect, that surprises and fascinates.
It is that part of Naples that is often unknown, but so full of history, anecdotes to tell and other interesting cues, that it is worth a visit in any case.
This is the case of the Borough of Rua Catalana.
Despite the fact that it suffers from serious problems of social and urban degradation, in recent years the are has seen a re-evaluation of its workshops of poor materials, in the wake of larger development plans which were explosive in the past and were consecrated when the historical centre was declared to be of World Heritage.
The National Confederation of Handicrafts has promoted the birth of this workshop quarter, which sees a meeting between the techniques of tin-workers and more modern design trends, facilitating a process of visibility of the borough, and therefore to greater attention on the part of Institution and public opinion.
In fact, since 1997, Rua Catalana has been animated by a set up of lights and sculptures an idea of Riccardo Dalisi, artist, architect, designer and university teacher of planning at the faculty of Architecture of the Federico II University and made by the artisans of the area.
It is a singular idea that blends urban spaces with architecture and aesthetic expression.
Rua Catalana presents the new use of complex lighting supports which are configured as autonomous structures.
Dalisi demonstrates how it is possible to operate in a totally new way on old buildings that have no architectonic relief, assigning to the lamps the quality of décor, given that they are so typical in their genre.
The lamp called Napolino, was created with this in mind.
Its articulated supports are animated by signs that characterise the activity that goes on in the workshops in a sculptural form.
Copper, bronze and brass are conceived of and worked as a meeting point between architecture, handicrafts and design, placing art and the process of working with the metals at a point of confluence and diffusion communicative techniques and languages.
Among the open air workshops, one notices the splendid works of Artistic Sud created by Ciro Pepe, Tiziana santarcangelo and Renato Reita.
The name Rua Catalana, in any case, is not only linked to the fervour of its workshops, but is connected to the events relating to the Patron Saint of the city
In 1799, in fact, at the height of the Neapolitan Revolution, the Neapolitans repudiated the Saint, who they considered guilty of nor having done the miracle of liquefying his blood in front of the French troops, and what was worse, not having done it on the usual dates.
And so, for a few months, the Patron became Saint Anthony, and it seems that in the Rua Catalana images were displayed showing the Paduan saint taking a whipping from the revoluationaty Saint Gennaro.
But it would take more than that to put at risk the visceral relationship that links the city to Saint Gennaro, who did not take long to reclaim his position of command... (Gianmaria Romano)


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