Fact Check

Does This Braille Railing Describe Scenic Views in Naples?

This is an art installation at Castel Sant'Elmo titled "Follow the Shape."

Published Aug. 9, 2021

Image courtesy of Wikipedia
A photograph shows a railing featuring an inscription in braille that describes the scenery in Naples, Italy.

This photograph shows an art installation called "Follow the Shape" that features passages from Italian poets and authors in Braille about the Naples scenery. This is not a literal description of the scenery that a visitor might see from any specific spot.

A photograph supposedly showing a railing in Naples, Italy, featuring a Braille inscription that describes the surrounding area is frequently circulated on social media:

This is a genuine photograph of a braille rail in Naples, Italy, and this inscription truly does describe the surrounding area.

It is an art installation created by Paolo Puddu called "Follow the Shape" that was installed at Castel Sant'Elmo — the latter built in the 1300s — after winning the fifth edition of the “A Work For the Castle."

Puddu's railing features the words of various Italian poets and writers, but mainly passages from Giuseppe De Lorenzo’s book "La Terra e L’uomo," or "The Land and the Man."

Leisure Italy writes:

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.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.