Articoli con tag: folk tales of Naples

The miraculous rescue of Constantine

a tale by  folk tradition.


King Constantine was returning to Rome with her daughter  Constance and niece Patrizia, when his ship was hit by a violent storm.

Then the king  promised to God that, if they would have been saved from the drowing, he would build a church in Naples to St. John the Baptist.

The two women instead, prayed St. Lucia to be rescued from the danger and to let  the ship return  into  the harbour  without accidents.

With the prayers the young Constance made a solemn vow to the saint, whom she was devoted to: if they were returned without danger, she would  give an amount of moeny for the construction of the church wanted by her father.

God heard their prayers and made them land in Naples safely.

King Constantine and his daughter Constance immediately started  works to keep the promise and vow. The church was later enriched with paintings and precious objects and became the center of  cult for St. John and St. Lucia in June  and  December.

The church of San Giovanni Maggiore is located in the historic center of Naples, among the four largest parishes in the city. It was  built in the  place of a pagan temple dedicated to Antinous  by  Emperor Hadrian.

It underwent many modifications and restorations, and in 1685 it assumed the final form.

Categorie: English, Folk stories and tales | Tag: , , , , | Lascia un commento

Sister Solfatara

By Nicolò Lombardo, La Ciucceide, 1724


Know then, that in this mountain,

where we will enter, there is an Ogre.

He never comes down to  this country,

but remains closed there, like a pig.

And what does he eat there? What is he eating?

He eats stones, trash. How dirty!

He eats gold, lead, silver!


It’s called Vesuvius and has a sister,

she too an Ogre  and is called Solfatara,

which is not far away, and they went out

both from a belly; and rare,

as they are both from the same love.

If she  is cheerful, clears up

the face of this one; but if this one

rages, she begins to stir.


If this one smokes, the other smokes;

if that one is hungry, he has same desire.

Does this one drink? That other takes water.

She is walking, he raises a leg.

That shows an  unfaithful face?

And this one  explodes and makes you call mom.

In short, if she laughs, he too  does;

If this one is crying,   you see her crying.


He has one thing only, she does not have;

and you see that he is stout

and that one next to him  is just an anchovy.

He makes certain things dirtier,

because he usually  suffers trots;

and sometimes vomits everything for nothing;

and when he wants to, in front of the mouth

he climbs this mountain, and you are beaten.

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The tailor hating King Alfonse

A   story by popular tradition


A tailor named Francis lived in Naples, in the first half of  1400.

In the struggle between Aragon and Anjou   he chose  the Anjous  and sided with the defeated King René.

Master  Francis (that was his name) was considered a popular leader and never missed an opportunity to speak ill of the Spaniards and he kept defending the French.  He hated so much Alfonse that  he did not bother to show it publicly.

All this was reported to the king who, for his knowledge and for his own fun, wanted to  personally hear the tailor’s insults.  He decided to go out riding among the people, turning through the streets of the city, where he happened to get near Master Francis, who never tired of insulting him.

Alfonse, knowing it was the tailor,  listened to him carefully and  he heard what the  man was saying as he passed by: “And how good you are on horseback,” he said by a little high voice. “How much pride and arrogance  you have. You’ll see,  that will not last long, because King René is going to come  and he  will chase you.”

After this episode, the King  sent for Master Francesco.  The tailor, who perhaps was better in talking  than in  acting, began to tremble with fear.

He foresaw hanging from a rope in the public square, so he thought of making a will and he entrusted to his wife, his children and all his belongings.

He went to the palace where he was received with courtesy, with   bows and kindness  by dignitaries and officials. Then, when he came before the king, he was even more surprised by the welcome and kindness the King showed him .

“I will use your art,” Alfonse said, “and your services, because I know how much you are bound to me  and how you speak well of me.”

Francis at  these words was frightened,  even more believing that the King wanted to make fun of him before sentencing him to death.

Alfonse continued by  that tone  and before letting him go away, he gave him a bag of gold crowns for his family and its needs.  Still stunned Francis went home, told everything to his wife,  praising the Spanish King and  totally modifying  his previous  opinion about the King.

This is just one of the episodes passed on Alfonse of Aragon.

It seems that he was a benevolent Sovereing  with the Neapolitans: a strategy designed especially with the purpose  of not  increasing the love they felt for the French.

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The birth of Capri

by Pompeo Sarnelli, Posilicheata


You will see, below, the mountain  Somma, which was formerly called Vesuvius.

He was a gentleman from Naples, who fell in love, unfortunately, with  a lady from the house Capri  which, at that time,  was a noble House.

And, as the relatives did not agree to their love, the more they loved each other, the more they saw their intentions disappointed.  Indeed the  relatives sent the lady to stay  away,  at Cape Minerva.

Where, being unable to see her lover, one day when the lady went for a trip in a boat, she jumped into the sea, and she became an island, which  is still called Capri.

Vesuvius, having received the news, began to throw sighs of fire, which gradually became a mountain, which is called Somma, and as he always sees his lover, even if it is a mountain, he’s  burning with love and throws fire: and when he goes into a rage, he  shakes the city of Naples which repents,  but uselessly, as the city didn’t give him  what he wanted.

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Lovers Liars – by  E. Cossovich


How many adventures and of how many different kinds   often happen on Vesuvius!

It is said,  as two Englishmen, a gentleman and a young lady, together agreed to eternalize their love on the top of our mountain.

In front of  the steaming crater they renewed their oaths of constancy and fidelity, and calling witnesses  the elements, they  promised each other, that if any of them had been betrayed, the one would have thrown himself into the roaring crater.


But one year was not over,  that the fair lady gave her hand to a rich Neapolitan gentleman and the betrayed lover in despair rushed … into the  chasms of business and went to marry  a banker’s daughter, who swore less, but had more value

Vesuvius willingly gave up his victim, from which we can argue that  man (taken in its broadest sense) in England or elsewhere is always the same.

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