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John Palcewski's Journal

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Cafe of the Luminaries

Nearly 100 years ago Ibsen spent some time in Ischia, and got inspiration for his famous poem “Brand” from a nervous hike up nearby Punta Imperatore. Other literary, artistic and philosophical luminaries were drawn here as well, including Nietzsche.

“This island had grabbed all my senses,” he later wrote. “When you have finished reading Zarathustras, it will be clear, where I looked for my blessed island. Only in Ischia you can immediately understand Eupido that dances with young girls…As soon as I have finished writing, the island collapses in on itself.”

To my village of Forio have come Truman Capote, Baachmann, Sebastian Matta, Bargheer, and also Sir William Walton and his regal wife, Lady Susana, who by the way received me one rainy winter evening in the stone mansion on the grounds of her exotic garden.

Lately I have been taking my morning coffee at Bar Maria, where a table used to be reserved for W. H. Auden, his lover Chester Kallman, and their friends. Back then its official name was “Caffé Internazionale,” but it was better known for the name of its owner, Maria, who Sylvia tells me was a friend to everyone in the village.

This photograph is affixed to the door facing the little piazza where all the tables are arranged.

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this both phenomenal and entirely moving...

My Forio is awash with history, both ancient and modern, and I love it!

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