Real Bosco di Capodimonte, Acanthus

Real Bosco di Capodimonte
Naturalistic area, Real Bosco di Capodimonte. Courtesy Giancarlo Izzo

A maiden fell ill and died while dreaming of love. On her grave, someone placed a basket with her toys, then covered it with a tile to protect it from the elements. Perhaps it was Apollo, who had already been spurned and wounded by her. From underneath, a bud penetrated the basket in the secret of the shadow. One after the other, the leaves of the plant sprouted upwards towards the light, between the spaces of the woven wicker. That metamorphosis of natural and sacred moved everyone and no one dared touch it. The sculptor Callimachus thought to translate the plant into marble, forever fixing this emotion in the invention of the Corinthian capital. The wild acanthus leaf thus became the precious frieze motif of Greek and Roman buildings everywhere in the Mediterranean.

Real Bosco di Capodimonte
Access hemicycle to Viali del Bosco, Real Bosco di Capodimonte. Courtesy Giancarlo Izzo

After years of neglect, the Real Bosco di Capodimonte, once a royal hunting reserve and today the Park of the Museum, appears regenerated by the invisible thread of rationality and cared for with the rhythm of work, presiding the management of resources and the development of the form of the city in the future.

There I crossed vast vistas and landscapes free from brambles, avenues that invite strollers to take walks, lawns for sport and recreation, suggestive hedges of monitored shrubbery and buildings rethought as digital archives and exhibition spaces, feeling the weft of the past and the warp of the future in a single vision that gives me hope and makes me proud. Finally, as I passed from the forest to the garden, I saw the flourishing bush and the tall flower of the acanthus and then, thinking of Vitruvius, I wrote this.

Acanthus, Sylvain Bellenger, Director of the Museum and Real Bosco di Capodimonte, with the gardeners at Porta di Mezzo. Courtesy Giancarlo Izzo

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