Professor Antonio Giordano, a Neapolitan pride in the world, is founder and director of the Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO), a non-profit organization committed to financing excellencies in the research against cancer and other chronic illnesses, such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. The scientist was just awarded the prestigious Leonardo Da Vinci Prize, bestowed every year by the cultural organization that has underlined his contributions to the world and humankind.
A loyal Capri habitué who knowns how to enjoy the finer things in life. What is your relationship with the island of Capri?
“I am deeply attached to Capri, here is where I lived some of the happiest moments of my teenage years: the vacations with my parents, the first weekends with friends, the first loves, the long days at the beach. Capri offers endless possibilities: it is a peaceful place but also a place for fun and shopping. It has an incredibly beautiful sea you can enjoy both from land and boat, and you can also take long walks along breath-taking landscapes”.
Is there a vacation on the island you remember in particular, for example during one of your sojourns in Italy for scientific research?
“Capri has been the setting of two scientific conferences I wanted to organize on the island: ‘Gene targets for cancer treatments’ and ‘New dimension in cancer biology and therapy’ where we set up a pioneering discourse on medicine, the first was held at Hotel Luna, the latter at Grand Hotel Quisisana. Both saw the participation of illustrious personalities of the international scientific community, including even Nobel prizes for medicine”.
Do you miss the Italian and Caprese food when you are away? “Actually, I never truly experience this issue, as I return to Naples at least once a month for my scientific collaborations, and I almost always manage to find the time to ‘dive’ into the flavours and aromas of the Campanian tradition. However, I confess that sometimes I deeply miss the Caprese ravioli with tomato and fresh basil”.
Do you have any long-time friends you only meet in Capri?
“There are of course my childhood and youth friends, yet a regular fixture for me was Guido Lembo who, was rightly described by many as the ambassador for the island’s music in the world. I loved going to Anema e Core where I often brought my American colleagues who, just like me, loved his songs, his music, and also his ability to resist globalization, he managed to modernize tradition, while preserving his artistic uniqueness. I also love spending time at St James’ Charterhouse, where I meet with pleasure Antonia Tafuri who, specialized in Art History and Minor Arts, has played a decisive role for the renaissance of this historical building”.
How would introduce, in a few words, Capri to an American tourist who has never been there?
“I would say it is heaven on earth. I personally prefer the off-season island, when nature is overflowing, perhaps because I am enchanted by the shining sea of Capri, the brightness of life, the aromas, the colors of the Mediterranean scrub. In this regard, I believe what Charles Dickens wrote more than a century ago, still remains true: ’In no place on earth are there so many opportunities for delicious peace and quiet as on this small island’; however, we cannot ignore the Capri made of social life, culture and fine, just think about how many times it has been the setting for exhibitions and cultural events, conferences, parties and weddings”.
The above interview was published in Yacht In Capri - The luxury magazine of the Island -