Founded in 1732 by Matteo Ripa, an Italian priest that has been sent as a missionary to China, the University of Naples “L’Orientale” it is the oldest school of Sinology and Oriental studies in Europe. Also, it represents one of the main institutes of research about non-European languages and culture. Due to its fields of interest, the institute has developed numerous agreements with universities not only in Europe but all over the world. Today, more than 50 languages are taught at the University.
The educational offer is articulated in four different faculties: Foreign Languages and Literature, Arabic-Islamic and Mediterranean Studies, Letters and Philosophy and Political Sciences. In particular, these faculties cover some “micro-areas” which can be identified as: Asian Studies, Classic world and Ancient Mediterranean, African and Arabic countries, Oriental Europe, Social Sciences, Philosophy and Politics, Comparative Studies, American cultural and linguistic studies and European literature and linguistic studies. The complex and very interesting educational offer is provided by expert teachers with the help of laboratories and libraries. The University has, in fact, three different libraries. Each library is dedicated to a field of study and all of the catalogs are easily accessible online. The libraries belong to the three main building of the University placed in the city center.
In 1932, in fact, the institute’s headquarter became Palazzo Giusso, a renaissance building placed in Naples’ historical center. The University does not have a single campus but it has different venues, most of them in the city’s ancient part. This particular location allows students to live and study in the beating heart of Naples. Going from one building to another, in fact, it is possible to breathe the real essence of this unique city being surrounded by typical food vendors, antiquarians and plenty of bars and restaurants ready to welcome students offering cheap daily menus and, of course, pizzas.
The University of Naples “L’Orientale” represents the perfect mix between past and present. Tradition merges into progress and finds expression in the new fields of research of the University, such as gender history, new media, migrations and public opinion. In addition, also the historical buildings that belong to the University are equipped with laboratories, computer and projectors.
The city of Naples
The city of Naples has an old history and tradition as well, it is located in the Gulf of Naples and it is surrounded by iconic places such as the Vesuvius volcano and the famous islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida. It stands right in the center of the Mediterranean and that’s why it has always played a fundamental role in the connection of ancient and modern cultures. The city, in fact, had different dominations, from the roman to the Spanish-French one and this is reflected also in the dialect of the city, the Napoletano, in the architecture and in the attitudes and traditions of the Neapolitans. Capital of the Campania Region and “capital” of Southern Italy, Naples today covers an area of 117 square kilometers, with a population of over one million inhabitants.
Of course Naples is a unique city, different from all the others. Neapolitans’ way of life, their superstition, the musicality of the Neapolitan dialect, known all over the world thanks to the opera music that spread especially in the first half of 20th century but also thanks to the cinema stars such as Sofia Loren, Antonio De Curtis (Totò) and Massimo Troisi. Naples has also a long tradition of literature, drama, poetry and music: from Giambattista Basile, the father of Neapolitan literature, to the poet Salvatore di Giacomo; from the drama author Eduardo De Filippo, who created a new canon, to literature masters such as Anna Maria Ortese and Raffaele La Capria; also musicians such as Pino Daniele and Tullio De Piscopo have contributed significantly to the modern identity of the city with a mixture of folklore, blues and jazz.
The heart of the city is characterized by small streets and houses and it is rises up vertically: from the sea level to the hills you can find amazing districts such as Posillipo, Chiaia, Vomero and in the city center (Spaccanapoli, Via San Biagio Dei Librai, Via Toledo) you can breathe the typical Neapolitan atmosphere also during the winter months when in Via San Gregorio Armeno you can find crowds visiting the nativity scenes makers. Among the Neapolitan arts here you can taste the authentic delicious pizza at very cheap costs but it’s not the only food you will try. Neaples is one of the most important city in the world for the street food, from the sfogliatella to frittatina, from the babà to the tarallo.
Another thing one should know before moving to Naples is that here there are two religions: Chistianity and football. Neapolitans have an incredible passion for the local football team SSC Napoli and you can find references and light blue colors everywhere on the streets. There are also two divinities, the sacred San Gennaro and the pagan Diego Armando Maradona, considered the best football player of all times that played for SSC Napoli from 1984 to 1991, winning the only 2 national championships that the city has ever seen. Naples is a meeting of folklore and modernity, dark and light, sacred and profane. The dualism and the passion are the blood of the city and anyone should plunge into its uniqueness. As the German poet Goethe once said: “See Naples and die”.
Diana Garofalo, Antonio Di Vilio
Autorzy artykułu to studenci, którzy odbywali praktyki na Uniwersytecie w Białymstoku w ramach programu Erasmus+, w roku akademickim 2020/2021.