Born in Lugo, Galizia, in 1966, since 2012 she is the director of the Istituto Cervantes in Naples. A writer, journalist and poet, aged just 19, she won the Hiperion poetry prize
An interview with Luisa Castro, director of the Istituto Cervantes in Naples.
What is the mission of the Istituto Cervantes?
To spread the language and culture of Spain throughout the world. There are 77 institutes throughout the world recognized by the Spanish government. Four of them are headquartered in Italy: in Naples, Palermo,
Rome and Milan. Those attending our Spanish courses receive an official certificate recognized worldwide and we also offer the option of taking an exam for official certification. In addition to the language, our mission is to spread the culture of Spain, with meetings, films, debates and concerts. All our activities are free- of- charge.
The institute is named after Miguel de Cervantes. What role did he play in Naples ?
For we Spaniards Cervantes is a universal literary figure, comparable to Shakespeare for the British. Naples held enormous importance for this famous intellectual. It was here that he wrote Don Chisciotte, his masterpiece. This year, we are celebrating 400 years of his work, it’s a truly special one for us.
What common traits do the Neapolitans and the Spanish share?
A natural warmth, which I attribute partly to a common past and partly to the fact that they both come from Southern climes. Also
spontaneity when meeting people.
Conversely, what are the differences between these two peoples?
We Spanish are probably more impatient and, unlike you, more ‘ tragic’. However there are more affinities than differences: we both love food, dancing, music and beautiful objects.
What attracts you most about Naples?
Everything here is exciting. Naples is a place that reinvents itself on a daily basis, each time causing you to rethink everything. And then, its beauty, the light and its landscape. The Cervantes is located in a fabulous position, on the Lungomare. For example, at this very moment, from my office, I can see Mt. Vesuvius reflected in the Gulf… In any case, in my opinion, the beauty of a place depends on its people.
>> Istituto Cervantes. Via Nazario Sauro, 23, Naples. T: 08119563311 naples. cervantes. es