Sister Orsola Benincasa

Orsola Benincasa was born in Naples (where his parents had moved) on 21 October 1550 to Girolamo Benincasa and Vincenza Genuino, both from Cetara. When she was still a child the whole family returned to live in Cetara from which then Orsola had to separate for the Muslim danger returning to Naples. Her life was totally dedicated to God; she had visions and ecstasy and was subjected to the examination of an inquisitorial commission chaired by Saint Philip Neri overcoming the very hard test. In 1583 in Naples it was authorized to establish a congregation of oblates (nuns not bound by vows) and in 1617 dictated the Rules of the Congregation. On October 20, 1618 she died in Sant’Elmo (Naples) and in 1633 the Theatine Fathers accepted the government and spiritual direction of what has since been called the “Teatine Sisters of the Immaculate Conception”. In 1793 Pius VI proclaimed the heroic virtues of Mother Ursula in the Basilica of Sant’Andrea della Valle in Rome.

Grandinetto D’Aulisio

Born in Cetara, he lived at the time of the Aragonese rule. It was he who, together with a group of compatriots, saved Frederick, the second son of King Ferdinand who was held prisoner at the Salerno Naval Tower by the rebel barons with whom he had gone to that city to negotiate peace. The episode, passed to history as “The conspiracy of the Barons”, is remembered on a plaque in the parish church of St. Peter Apostle in Cetara. It seems that Grandinetto also owned slaves, so much so that in November 1495 he sold a “black named Phago of about 20 years” to the Archbishop of Amalfi, Andrea Cunto. It is also thought that by the way he contributed to the liberation of Frederick he also owned various boats used for fishing and traffic. When Cardinal John of Aragon, Ferdinand’s son, died, on October 17, 1485 and since the seat of the secular seat of the Abbey of St. Mary of Erchie was vacant, the King took the opportunity to give Grandinetto a first sign of gratitude for his services by interceding with the Pontiff, to commend the abbey to Anton Francesco D’Aulisio, his son. While the tomb was destroyed, the walled tombstone about 3 meters from the floor is located in the church of St. Peter the Apostle.

Don Giulio Genoino

Don Giulio Genoino was born in Cetara in 1567, lawyer and priest, he was the eminence gray of the viceroy, the second duke of Ossuna under whom he held important public offices. In 1619, the Duke of Ossuna, fearing that he would replace the king, was suspended from office and created great tensions to oppose the arrival of his replacement. Eventually the duke and Genoino had to flee to Spain, but were later imprisoned. Only in 1638 he could return to Naples where the discontent was at its maximum. Don Giulio Genoino, the old agitator of the time of Ossuna, then eighty, was the prophet and the ideologue of the revolution. On July 9, 1647, he wrote a text with the requests of the insurgents, including a request for forgiveness for “Tomas’ Aniello d’Amalfi and his companions for acts committed during the insurrection. The viceroy, in order to divide Genoino from Masaniello, appoints the first president of the “Regia Camera della Sommaria”. Don Giulio replied that he was ready to abandon Masaniello on condition of the prompt confirmation of the concordat. Later he had to embark for Sardinia and was ordered to move to Malaga but during navigation he died at the Balearics in 1648.

Francesco Federici

Francesco Federici was born in Cetara in 1739, Marquis of Pietrastormina, was marshal under the king and general of the republic. In 1755 he joined the cavalry regiment “Naples” and soon was placed in command of a cavalry division at Gaeta. In 1760 he was chosen to travel with other officers to Berlin by Frederick II to update himself on the renewed techniques of war. In 1796 he took part in the battles of Fombio, Valleggio and Lodi, in which Napoleon Bonaparte defeated the Austrian general Beaulieu. On 6 November 1798 Federici who commanded the regiments “Bourbon”, “Princess” and “Prince Albert” was called to Teano. The Bourbon arms were broken up, the French entered Naples and began the ordering of the army of the republic and was entrusted with the composition of the cavalry. But in early April the French troops were ordered to go back to Genoa, abandoning Naples to its fate. On 23 June the capitulation was signed: the republicans were guaranteed life and freedom in Naples or permission to embark for Toulon. But the Queen had already decided their fate. General Federici was imprisoned in Castel Nuovo and tried by a council of war. On 23 October he went up to the gallows and wanted one of his relatives to cover his neck to avoid being touched by the hand of the executioner. Before he died, he addressed some noble words to the soldiers who were crying in pain.

Serafina Apicella

Serafina Apicella was born in Cetara on May 3, 1783. In 1825 she married Antonio Galotti, a carbonaro who participated in the riots of 1820. Their young daughter married Pasquale Apicella, also from Cetara, who on 27 September 1828 was sentenced to 19 years of irons for his belonging to the sect of the “Filadelfi” to which he had been introduced by his father-in-law who had spread it in Cetara. During the trial Apicella tried to defend himself claiming to have always been a realist and enemy of Galotti, whose maneuvers against the government had repeatedly informed the police of Salerno and Naples. In fact, he had denounced him together with his wife Serafina as the instigator of the attempted murder in which he had been wounded with a shot. In the same trial Serafina Apicella was sentenced to twenty-five years of irons and locked up in the prison of Salerno Sant’Antonio. The woman was terribly tortured and following the fierce torture made some revelations that did not serve to get her acquitted. The ruling stated that the woman  so “shrewd and enterprising and also invested with the spirit of novelty and revolution, was not indifferent spectator of the conspiracies, or rather, facilitated them”. In 1831 Serafina Apicella was sent to the island of Ponza and in February 1833, through the intercession of Queen Maria Amalia of Orléans, she was exiled to France. After other 4 years she was freed but was never allowed to return home. There is no news of the last years of her life in France and her death.

Francesco Prudente

Francesco Prudente was born in Cetara on 15 September 1804. At the age of 14 he entered the seminary of Amalfi and shortly afterwards was taken by his brother to Naples where he devoted himself to medical studies. From 1835 to 1847 he taught medicine and practiced at the S. Maria Hospital in Loreto; he cultivated comparative anatomy and experimental physiology with passion, profitably using the microscope when this instrument was still almost unknown. He studied the digestive system of eleven species of fish and the cardiovascular system of mammals. Since 1838 he used chemistry and physics to establish on biological fluids analyses that led to valuable observations on respiration and kidney function. He did not hold public office under the government of the Bourbons; instead the new regime, in 1860, appointed him director and professor of the “First Medical Clinic of the University of Naples”. The following January Francis Prudente was elevated to the dignity of Senator of the Kingdom of Italy. On 19 May 1862 he was appointed “Officer of the Mauritian Order”; in 64 he was promoted “Commander” and in 66 “Grand Officer” of the same order. He was president of the Neapolitan Medical Association from the establishment of this until the end of his life. When in 1865 cholera inflamed on Naples he was elected president of the Commission of Vigilance. At that time he was a primary at the Hospital of the Knights of Malta in Naples, as well as a corresponding member of numerous Italian and foreign Academies. He died in Naples on May 11, 1867.

Manfredi Nicoletti

Born in Maiori on January 16, 1891, he completed his first self-taught studies, then enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples. He is first a student of Dalbono and then of Cammarano: in these years he knows Antonio Mancini with whom he will establish a true friendship that will last over time. In 1914 he graduated; in the same year he participated in the XXVl at Promotrice with two paintings, Chierichetto in sacristy and Portrait of the painter Pasini; in 1915 he was present at the National Art Exhibition, organized in Naples and inaugurated by a conference of Umberto Boccioni. This exhibition, in which Nicoletti exposes the canvas The Rosary , represents an important moment for the Neapolitan artistic culture: It is an attempt to break the patterns and logics of groups related to traditional painting, proposing artists such as Edgardo Curcio, Eugenio Viti, Saverio Gatto, Achille D’Orsi. In 1921 he participated with the pastel Testa di bimba at the National Biennale of Art of the City of Naples, presided over by Benedetto Croce. The works of these years highlight a dark palette, where careful study of the figure, calibrated by a meticulous drawing, is accompanied by an attempt to strain the image: an example is offered by the canvas Heads of ox of 1925. Between 1915 and 1917 he formed a friendship with Luigi Crisconio, who, together with Francesco Cangiullo and Ugo Fruscione, became one of the main references of the future exhibition activity. In 1928 is the first solo show, set up on the first floor of the Western School Building of Salerno, the same venue that, a year before, had hosted the Art Exhibition among the Artists of Salerno: fifty-six works exhibited, among oils and pastels, most of which were made in the Twenties, the views of Ravello, the figures in the interiors and then the many corners of the Amalfi Coast, summarized in the glimpses of magical nativity scenes, moved by a fluid color. The latter herald the movement of masses that are confused in the commas of an exasperated sign, rhythms of glows of the illuminations present in the long and rich cycle of popular festivals realized since the thirties. In 1930 he participated in the group show “Pro Cultura Fascista” organized in Naples and presented by Edoardo Pansini: here he exhibited the Evening Concert ,  the Procession, the Kindergarten. In 1931 he was in London as a guest of the Alington family who organized an exhibition at the Picture Gallery of Eton College. The English stay did not last long; family reasons, as well as climate, brought him to Italy in his study in Ravello. In 1931 he was invited to the Quadriennale d’Arte Nazionale, where he exhibited Festa Notturna dated 1930; The II 1933 Salerno Art Exhibition, while in May 1939 the Circolo Artistico of Naples organized a solo exhibition at the Villa Comunale. This period ends with the exhibition organized at the “Bragaglia fuori commercio” (House of Art Bragaglia) in Rome in 1940, presented by Alfredo Schettini. The significance of this exhibition is remarkable and precise that adherence to trend, even if veiled by native motifs, that Cangiullo had already noted by presenting the exhibition of 1928. It exhibits above all the feasts, built on the dynamic force of the lights, the bands of music, in short, that movement of lights that are reflected on the brass, waving shapely hands, between faces and heads reduced to spots of pure color. This was followed by personal exhibitions held in Salerno, in the new headquarters of the Socialist Party of 1944 and the one organized in the Salone della Casa del Combattente of 1949; in Cava de’ Tirreni in 1953. In the same year he took part in the Rassegna delle Arti Figurative nel Mezzogiorno in Naples. In 1955 he exhibited at the First Exhibition of Painters Salernitani, promoted by the Center of Culture; in 1957 he took part in the lll Salerno Artists Exhibition, organized by the Italian Pro-Cultura Salerno, introduced to the catalogue by Fortunato Bellonzi. In these years Nicoletti’s painting is oriented to the study of Mediterranean architecture, to the structure of the rocks that draw the Coast: the crystalline light that refracts in the clear air is the dominant element of these paintings. It is a light that enhances the transparency of the colors thus defining the volumes: the artist arrives at a space-light built by a vibrant color, modulated by closed areas, taking up that highly rational chromatic composition, typical of Cézanne. He thus broke the perspective and scenographic schematism of landscape painting, alive in the Neapolitan tradition. He died in Cetara on 8 August 1978.

Ugo Marano

Ugo Marano was born in Capriglia di Pellezzano (Sa) in 1943 and has always lived in Cetara. He attended the Academy of Drawing at the Reverend Fabbrica di San Pietro in Vatican City in Rome and the Accademia del Mosaico in Ravenna. Since his formative years his research has tended to radically distort language in order to try to develop a new code of reading the real and the terracotta dish becomes a means for collective communication and social osmosis. Following his radical-conceptual idea, in 1971 he created the “Museo Vivo” project, creating, in a small park hidden among the trees, a ceramic factory based on “existential” architecture, a place that must be rich in “positive radicalism”. As part of this project, the partnership with Stockhausen, that is  a collaboration producing some remarkable works, was born. In 1975 he was invited to exhibit at the Quadriennale Exhibition in Rome and at the Biennale Ehibition in Venice (1976). In 1977 he was called to design and personally perform the restoration of the mosaics of the Amalfi Cathedral, the Roman crypt of the Cathedral of Potenza and the Cathedral of Salerno. In 1979 he exhibited at the Milano Triennale Exhibition, where in 1980 he also gave a lecture. In 1980 he was again at the Biennale Exhibition in Venice (“Il tempo del museo”). In these years he realized the project “Fabbrica Felice”, in which he studied the space of existence of the new man, the man of nature. Man finds in the interaction with the art object a deep and unconscious relationship that motivates and sustains him in everyday life. In 1982 he exhibited at the Centre Pompidou in Paris his “Manifeste du livre d’Artiste” and in the same year he made the first “antimonument” in Italy, in Salerno, for the martyrs of terrorism. In 1990 he exhibited at the Triennale Milano Exhibition and at the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, where he was given a personal room. In 1991 he was at the XVIII Triennale Milano Exhibition. In the same year he created an association of potters that he called “Vasai of Cetara” with the aim of carrying out creative work free from academic preclusions or dogmatic schemes. In 1995 he exhibited in Paris at the Carrousel du Louvre.  In 1996 he designed and produced two utopias: the Fontana Felice in Salerno and the Museo Città Creativa in Rufoli.  In 1997 he elaborated with the economist Pasquale Persico several projects for the resettlement of places of human life and realized some of them in the Cilento National Park and the Vallo di Diano, places that have been declared world heritage sites, composed of one hundred countries on a territory of about 300,000 hectares. In 1997 he was invited to exhibit a solo exhibition in Naples, in the Carlo X room, in the Maschio Angioino. The Museo Fabbrica Creativa was founded. In 2001, following the lines of his artistic project, he created, in Cetara, the Napoleon’s Fountain and created a contemporary art gallery, the “Piazza della Ceramica”: it is a “think tank” that extends over three streets of the city, a “free area of meditation” in the city centre. In 2002 he exhibited at the international exhibition “I Capolavori”, in Turin and was called by the architect Mendini to create two great works for the Naples metro, at the Salvator Rosa station.
In 2003, at the age of 60, following his research into new expressive languages, he was awarded a doctorate and an honorary degree by the Faculty of Communication Sciences of the University of Salerno. In 2004, in collaboration with the group STS (Latz, with Pession and Cappato) won the international competition for the realization of the Dora Spina Park 3 in Turin and exhibited in France, in the exhibition “Mosaïque de design”. In 2005 he participated in the exhibition “Mundus Vivendi”, together with Sottsass, Branzi, Coppola and Hosoe, creating an entire painted floor. His artistic research is expressed through large ceramic works, vases up to 3 meters high and only 6 millimeters thick, naturally musical. The “vases of the third millennium” required the special construction of an oven by Enzo Santoriello, an expert cooking technician who collaborated to create “impossible” works with Miquel Barcelò and Enzo Cucchi. This work is chosen by MIAAO, the first museum dedicated in Italy to contemporary applied arts, for its official opening in 2006, coinciding with the first day of competitions of the XX Winter Olympic Games, for a personal exhibition of the artist that is entitled Seven vases for the sacred house.
In 2006 he participated in the Triennale Milano Exhibition with the “bestiary”, a floor in monoliths of 60×120 cm. In 2007 he participated in the meeting with the poets Lawrence Ferlighetti, Jack Hirschman, Agneta Falk and the photographer and filmmaker Chris Felver. In 2011 he was invited to the exhibition “Lo stato dell’arte – Campania” as part of the Italian Pavilion of the 54th Venice Biennale. He died in October 2011 leaving a large number of works and projects and ideas still to be realized.