The Capo d’Orlando Prize
The name of the Capo d’Orlando Prize comes from the coastal location in the town of Vico Equense on the east side of the territory in the area which borders on Castellammare di Stabia.
The idea for the prize goes back to 1998 when Dr. Umberto Celentano, director of the Mineralogical Museum of Campania, read an article in the journal Nature about the Scipionyx Samniticus, the small dinosaur fossil, popularly known as “Ciro”, which was discovered at Pietraroia (BN). In this location in the Sannio region, from the 18th century onwards, a number of fish fossils of the Cretacean period have been found which are similar to those at Capo d’Orlando. Thus, there was a mention of the location at Vico and its paleontological remains in the prestigious journal.
After having received the support of the celebrated paleontologist, Philip J Currie, for a conference on winged dinosaurs found in China, which was held in March 1999 on the occasion of the first edition of the award giving, Dr Umberto Celentano suggested to the Discepolo Foundation that a prize should be instituted, whose symbol would be one of the fish fossils of Capo d’Orlando, on a silver badge.
The Award represents a public recognition for those who produce important results within the world of multi-disciplinary research, those involved in the diffusion of science and scientific journalism, in the running of museums, in the promotion of science through the internet.
The winners receive a silver badge with the emblem of a fossil fish found at Capo d’Orlando in Vico Equense.
This symbol of our geological past serves as a witness to the fact that through science and its promotion in various media one can reach positive goals for the future of mankind.
The Giusso Castle has hosted the Capo d’Orlando Award since 2001. The residential group of buildings includes a Renaissance building, where the prize giving takes place and a mediaeval building. The mediaeval part was built by feudal lord Sparano of Bari between 1284 an 1289. Durino the tenure of the Carafa family, at the end of the 15th century, the castle had three towers; the central one, known as “Mastra Tower”, was the most imposing. The manor house was reconfigured by Ferrante Carafa, who ordered the demolition of two of the towers, and again by Filippo Ravaschieri around 1640. Its present configuration is a result of the interventions carried out by don Luigi Giusto in the 19th century.
The Renaissance part of the Giusso Castle was probably built by Federico Carafa around 1535-40. At the time the palace was limited to the present central body and part of the wing which faces the sea. Under the feudal lord Matteo di Capua, Prince of Conca, it was embellished with water games, libraries and an exceptional art gallery with paintings by Renaissance masters. The property then passed to the Ravaschieris, Princes of Satriano. In 1788 they welcomed the great jurist and philosopher Gaetano Filangieri, who died there on July 21. In 1822 the property was bought by don Luigi Giusso who restructured it, adding the present entrance (Via 11 Febbraio). From 1935 to 1973 it was the seat of the Jesuit Company. Since then it has been a private apartment block which can only be visited during conventions held in its halls. In the courtyard visitors can admire the Roman and medieval marble remains
The scientific Committee
Since 2007 till 2018, the Honorary President of the Prize has been the 2002 Nobel Physics Prizewinner, Prof. Riccardo Giacconi, who received the Capo d'Orlando Award in 2005.
The scientific committee is co-ordinated by Dr. Umberto Celentano and comprises university professors of many scientific disciplines and prizewinners of previous Capo d'Orlando award.
Thank you for the honour which you wish to bestow upon me with the offer of the Honorary Presidency of the Capo d'Orlando Award. As I have already told you I am happy to accept.
With my best wishes for the success of this initiative.Warmest regards."
Capo d'Orlando's Fishes
By Cristina Caterina Amitrano
The paleontological site of Capo d’Orlando records the occurrence of 9 species of fossil fishes belonging to the class Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes):
- Stemmatodus rhombus Agassiz
- Coelodus costai Heckel
- Notagogus pentlandi Agassiz
- Lepidotus minor Agassiz
- Aethalion robustus Traquair
- Elopopsis fenzli Heckel
- Propterus scacchii Costa
- Leptolepis brodiei Agassiz
- Leptolepis aff. voithi Agassiz.
The Stemmatodus rhombus and the Coelodus costai can be compared to typical durophagous fishes, like the white bream (fig.1) because of their rhomboidal body and their rounded teeth with thick enamel, a clear adaptation to crush the prey (molluscs and crustaceans).
The Lepidotus minor was a durophagous fish too, whose diet consisted of hard-shelled prey, but it shows a fusiform body, so that it is somehow comparable to the red bream (fig. 2) or sea bream.
The Aethalion robustus is similar to the herring (fig. 3) because of its morphology and possibly habit: it moved in shoal environment and lived on plankton.
Finally the Elopopsis fenzli can be compared to one of the species of the genus Elops (fig. 4) known as ladyfish or ten pounder.
These fishes lived in a coastal shallow lagoon about 124 million of years ago (Lower Cretaceous). When the fishes died, they laid on the carbonate platform’s bottom where they were seemingly, quickly buried in anoxic condition (absence of oxygen). These circumstances permitted optimal conditions for a very good fossilization.
Il Premio è stato concepito come un evento di spessore internazionale capace di contribuire sia a far conoscere il nome e l'ospitalità di Vico Equense in ambienti scientifici [...]Continua
Tra i primi scienziati che hanno descritto i pesci fossili di Capo d'Orlando c'è il naturalista Filippo Caulino, napoletano di origine vicana. A lui si devono interessanti [...]Continua
La successione stratigrafica di età cretacica in facies di piattaforma carbonatica del Carosiello di Montaro, al versante sud-occidentale del Capo d'Orlando [...]Continua