Leopardi and the San Martino Vineyard

Vigna di San Martino-Napoli 01

The old San Martino Vineyard extends over more than seven hectares of urban fields at the heart of Naples, and was declared national monument by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage in 2010. For six centuries, it has grown at the foot of the Charterhouse of the same name, an imposing treasure chest of Baroque art, built in 1368 near Castel Sant’Elmo.

The vineyard is a beautiful place of history and nature, a priceless treasure that fortunately Italian institutions have committed to protect and preserve, while also making it available to the public.

The Vineyard’s area is mentioned in a satire in terza rima Giacomo Leopardi wrote after 1835, “The new believers”, in which he notes “those who go / around the steep streets of San Martino on the fly”.

Philosopher and literary critic Benedetto Croce explained these verses in 1930: “They allude to the habit that was still widespread up until forty years ago, that is, before the tramway lines provided easy access to the Vomero district and the San Martino Charterhouse on Hill Sant’Elmo: donkeys were rented to climb up to San Martino; […] a boy working for the donkeys’ owner would run after the ones carrying clients, spurring them by yelling and hitting them, and even pushing them on the fly.”

Nature, memories, art, literature and traditions – all in a unique Neapolitan vineyard.

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January 22, 2018

Leopardi and the San Martino Vineyard

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