Creating landscapes: Braille language to reveal the unseen

Naples View from St. Elmo Castle panoramic terrace

On January 2017 the Museum of St. Elmo Castle inaugurated the art installation Follow the Shape by the artist Paolo Puddu. This young Neapolitan artist created a tactile experience different from the visual one by using the braille writing system to “describe” Naples landscape and reveal the unseen to blind people.

The star-shaped medieval fortification of St. Elmo Castle, built in 1349 by Robert of Anjou with its breath-taking view of Naples from above, has become a place for a unique sensory experience through the installation of a metal handrail all around the panoramic terrace to turn the raised dots of braille language into landscape. The art installation has been enriched with quotations from Giuseppe De Lorenzo’s book “La terra e l’uomo” and from other well-known Italian writers to enhance the image-making power of the mind to create images from simple words and allow blind people to ‘see’ and experience the 360° panoramic views of Naples and its amazing Bay.

Follow the Shape won the Fifth edition of the contest “A work for the Castle”, developed by Angela Tecce and Claudia Borrelli, to promote St. Elmo Castle and its surrounding areas. The young artist succeeded in creating a multisensory bond between the castle and Naples itself. Paolo Puddu has been awarded for having overturned the traditional idea of visual perception towards a cross modal connection and interaction between vision and touch. His works are based on a process of metabolized experiences to “translate” different kind of perceptions and intuitions into images. As the artist affirmed itself in an interview for Made in Mind Magazine, “the artist continues to play the role of sentinel, promoter and educator…He can locate the alternative to methodical behaviour…he makes you understand that there is no absolute truth, but different possible ways you can purse”.

A simple and plain art installation to help blind people to reveal the unseen  treasures of the town of Naples and make them accessible to a wider public. A project of inclusion to open a window on the world and its wonders.


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