COF­FEE WITH

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

Where Naples Coast & Islands - - Contents -

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

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