"Palasciano Tower" Liliana Lucia Catalano
to hear the story ...
voice that tells by Liliana Lucia Catalano
I was there several times as a girl, with friends who went up to play cards. I don't like cards, I used to watch, and sometimes I would go around and patrol that enchanted place, not the Palace, partly inhabited by the heirs, but the garden of giant oaks, scented oranges, laurel bushes and many flower beds: a park of wonders. Well maintained, of course, but at night I preferred to go to the main avenues. Climbing to the top of the tower was my passion: the narrow and steep inner stairs, with the last wooden ramp. I used to climb the three floors above the small room where my friends played, which were already on the second floor, each floor a small room, then ... the small terrace with high merlons and two steps to look out all around, higher than me only the planes: the most beautiful view of Naples, so they say, but this is said of every belvedere, every view: always a vision, without a doubt.
The tower you see today was rebuilt after the collapse. It is beautiful, inspired by the Palazzo della Signoria in Florence. But the one of the past was really suggestive.
That night the moon was looking behind some clouds and gave the change to the stars.
Naples asleep is a dream from any angle you look at it: from below it is a crib, from above it is... indescribable, and the Palasciano tower is perhaps the highest point of the city. The sea in the distance and the Vesuvius that seems to rise from the sea, or from a cloud, you can not speak without emotion. I was looking out from the merlons in love...
A voice shook me, "Don't be frightened, I just want to look, I feel alive only when I come up here...". Inevitably I made a leap and tried to leave, but the veiled white figure invited me to stay.
"I show you the sepulchre, only he could see it from up here. You will be the only one who will be able to see it, but don't go looking for it" she ended with a bitter smile, "you wouldn't find it, they looked for it so much, nobody ever found it". I trembled and, stammering, "Whose tomb? And... who are you?"
* Translation from Naples slang
"Miss, the prince loved his wife very much, and when she died he had the tower built to see Olga's grave. They say that she is down at the Rione Sanità, but no one ever found her, it is said that only he could see her from the tower."
She seemed absorbed, perhaps she hadn't heard me. "Olga" I heard her whisper, then she turned around, "Look, do you see the San Gennaro Hospital of the Poor? a little farther away, where the church of Sanità is, they found the place, near the “anime pezzentelle“, but they never found it. She stopped panting "There is my body, look" and very easily I saw him. The spirit smiled, so I liked to believe. "Take a good look, because you will never see it again, he could see it, but afterwards... I come to look for it, but I can't find it, because, because...". And after a while the tangle of the neighbourhood erased that vision, I turned to look at her, she was no longer there, while a little white mist seemed to rise to the sky and turn over Naples, before dispersing in the gulf.
I descended slowly and found my friends ready to leave. And the night watchman had to open the door for us. I asked him about the prince and the tower: "Signuri', 'o principe 'a vuleva bene assaje a' mugliera, e quanno essa murette, facette custrui' 'a torre pe' vede' 'a tomba' e Olga soja. Diceno ca sta abbascio a’ Sanità, ma nisciuno ll’ha truvata maje, dice ca sulo isso a puteva vede’ ‘a copp’ a torre".*
I looked everywhere for this story but I never found it, not even the guardian from whom I returned remembered to have told it to me. There is instead the story of the Prince of Palasciano, whose ghost says that he still wanders benevolently on the beautiful climbs of Miradois and Moiariello, where there is the Astronomical Observatory, in Capodimonte.
When the tower collapsed, I went broken hearted one evening to see the ruins. You could not enter, but my dismay softened the heart of the guardian, he opened and while I was caressing one of the fallen merlons, I heard him speak to me excitedly "Signuri’, guardate lloco, 'ngoppo ‘e macerie, vicino ‘a luna, ‘e vvedite?” I nodded, I saw them... “so’ lloro, tutt’e dduje abbracciati”.Then they were gone, divided again, and nothing more, just a soft, sad sound of sobs...
Tricase, May 11, 2020, Liliana Lucia Catalano