Let us tell you the story of Daniele Esposito’s passion for the Torre di Clavel, an enchanting, mythic private home perched on a rocky outcropping along Positano’s shore. It is the story of this local Positanese boy whose dedication and loyalty was rewarded in part with a collection of important Italian Futurist drawings. Some of those works are now included in a Guggenheim Museum exhibition ‘Italian Futurism, 1909–1944: Reconstructing the Universe (21 February – 1 September 2014). Sometimes you can span the distance between New York and Positano with passion and dedication.
We begin with Daniele pledging allegiance to the aristocratic owner of Torre di Clavel as a young boy of 13. As he relayed the story to me; ‘I went to the Principessa and told her I wanted to take care of the house for her, that I would make it my life’s work.’ And so he has. For 33 years and counting.
Daniele is a true Positanese. This is his community, his family is among the 3,000 people who make this sea-focused town their year-round home. And here he has built a distinctive life, living at the Torre with his family and taking exceptionally good care of our guests during their vacations at Torre di Clavel.
Daniele is truly the heart and soul of the house. His hands have touched nearly every surface, excavating bare rock from a store room to build a new bathroom, collecting oversized seashells and bits of sea coral to create sconces for the hallways, hanging over the sea — with rope and harness — to repair a wall after the ocean’s winter ravages give way to spring.
In his free time Daniele pursues his interest in all things Clavel– continuing to expand his exceptional private collection of historic postcards, artifacts and tools and communicating with scholars around the world about the Torre di Clavel and it’s enigmatic creator, Gilbert Clavel.
In and among the tangle of possessions bequeathed to Daniele by the Principessa at her passing in 1997 was a group of paintings/drawings by a now well-regarded member of the Futurist movement Fortunato Depero, a protegee of Clavel and guest at the Torre.
For the rest of us, we can take a trip to the Guggenheim for an introduction to the Depero’s work, including pieces from the so-called ‘Esposito Collection’. Bravo Daniele!
Photo of Daniele and the Torre di Clavel courtesy of Vito Fusco.