Friday, March 26, 2010

Thoughts of an Italian Writer: Article # 1

Dr. Antonio Castaldo, Sociologist and Journalist, Brusciano, Italy

"A Slow Walk between Art, History and Memory" (1)

Introduction by Miriam Medina
It is said that New York is a city that never sleeps, where the past and the present collide. The Big Apple is known for its prestigious walking tours where Historians and experienced lecturers lead visitors and local residents alike on exciting and unforgettable strolls through New York City's ethnic neighborhoods, places of history, tradition and craftmanship, creating indelible memories of an astonishing past.

The dual-benefits of Walking Tours, far outweigh, the riding around in a crowded sight-seeing bus for days, because it not only helps you to appreciate the architecture, history and cultural development of the neighborhoods and towns, but it is the least expensive exercise that can be done just about anywhere, anytime, and by anybody. For humans, walking is the most common mode of transportation and is highly recommended for a healthy lifestyle.. Jill Garrigan, fitness activities coordinator at Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics states: "Walking, is the most popular exercise in the country, and its popularity is growing by leaps and bounds.Its health benefits have been proven in numerous studies. A regular fitness walking program can help reduce blood cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, increases cardiovascular endurance, boosts bone strength, burns calories and keeps your weight down." Amazing, and all you would need is a pair of comfortable walking shoes, a brilliant and passionate historian with a sense of humor as your guide, and you're all set for an interesting Walking Tour through New York City-- or perhaps Italy if you prefer.

Dr. Antonio Castaldo, sociologist and Journalist of Brusciano, Italy is a firm believer in walking as his exercise of choice. In his article "A Slow Step Between Art, History and Memory," he invites you and your comfortable shoes to take a leisurely historical stroll with him through five little towns located on the National Street. The "Nazionale delle Puglie" winds through Marigliano, Mariaglianella, Brusciano, Castello di Cisterna and Pomigliano D'Arco, 15 Km from Naples, where a total of 100,000 inhabitants live. Italy, a land of ancient ruins, paintings, sculptures, churches, and museums --not to mention the food-- has for centuries drawn spectators from all over the world. But even seasoned travellers often fail to stroll the National Street. For them, for all of us, Dr. Antonio Castaldo has written the magnificent description of its rich history. Read his" A Slow Walk between Art, History and Memory" and you'll be resoling your walking shoes first thing tomorrow morning.

"A Slow Walk between Art, History and Memory "
What we indicate today as Nazionale delle Puglie, specified with varying topography of the municipalities it crosses, is the ancient "Via Adrianea" which notes since the second century D.C. It links the Greek colony of Cuma with the Ager Nolanus of which the name was derived from the Emperor Publio Elio Adriano, who died at Baia in 138 D.C., while spending the last years of his life on the Campania coast. This important historical fact is noted, finally, through the reading of the anthological work of Francesco Aliperti, “L’Opicia pre-romana e romana”, published by LER whose presentation we followed with pleasure, in the council room of the City of Marigliano, on November 12, 2005.

The reference that is made to ancient peoples, like that of native Osci, refers us to a time of life where natural rhythms were scanned by the absence of cars and motors. We, who are the inhabitants of frenetic times and diminishing space of the third Millennium, in addition to memory remains the possibility of rediscovering the simple indulgement of a slow pedestrian excursion, in an accessible stretch, not too tiring for those who by now, are imprisoned in a sedentary lifestyle.

The data informs us of our increasing immobilization, as reported, in the international magazine "Nature Medicine," by Francis Bottaccioli on the weekly "Salute-La Repubblica," (January 2006), the increasing tendency not to walk in the last twenty years" a decrease of over 20% of the amount of miles a year of walking to each of us, the most serious fact is that they are predominantly children who are no longer exercising: a decrease in the age group between 5 and 10 years was 27% and 30% even in the range of adolescents ages 11 to 15 years."

Well then, we do not have to give up! Let's awaken with a walk, a walking as the Anglo-Saxons call it, a micro walkabout to quote, albeit improperly, the ancient culture of the Aborigines in Australia, an urban hike, or simply a tribute to the ancient nomadic human. So here we are about to depart, step by step through history and everyday life, spanning a stretch of the National Nazionale delle Puglie departing from Marigliano to reach Pomigliano D'Arco, finally without a car, in a slow movement of human bipeds.

Translation from Italian to English by Miriam Medina
To be continued: "A Slow Walk between Art, History and Memory" (2)

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