I was born here. Luckily.
Just over thirty years ago I started the relationship odi et amo with this land.
I was told by my grandparents and my parents and I got it by telling everyone who had something to tell me.
The war, the bombings, the races in the shelters, the earthquake of 1980, walks to Piazza Plebiscito, at the time when it was still possible to park, the recipe for the ‘ragu’ the ‘sfogliatella’ the’ pastiera’. Yes, because the cousin of my great-grandmother was the cook in the Royal Palace, cooked for the King. The Naples of Maradona and the city united in one faith, the Scudetto…entire streets – the whole town completely blue. Entire buildings brightly painted in blue, from building to building, blue sheets and hanging banners, cars repainted and faces coloured blue, expressing nothing but happiness.
Everything was matching: the sky and the sea and the passion of this one million plus population. They always tell me that the day after “Napoli v. Fiorentina” whose draw marked the victory of our first championship, they found an inscription outside the doors of the cemetery ” you missed it“. The next morning dawned a mysterious response “who told you?” I think it’s brilliant.
The sea and Vesuvius… pizza and babbà…the window Marechiaro; sometimes a man comes out holding his mandolin overlooking the sea and begins to sing…this is a poem unwritten.
The Piedigrotta festival… or fucarazz e Sant’Antonio… spaghetti with clams at 4am; oh yes, famously in Piazza Sannazzaro. At all hours of the night you decide to go, he is there ready to prepare your spaghetti. Even this is a poem for the palate!!
Naples is a lifestyle, a way of dealing with things atypical. Several characters, among them Sophia Loren, identified themselves as Neapolitans and not Italians… It is clearly not for lack of belonging to Italy, not absolutely, is to be fully aware that being Neapolitan is different, it is another thing.
We are the flip side of ourselves. We are in one way and then we are also the exact opposite.
This is the land of prejudices and stereotypes… of labels that have buckled on us and that is so hard to wash away. Come to Naples with an idea and you go full of wonders. I sometimes would like to embrace it, and sometimes I’d give it a slap. Naples is like a son. You can not love him, even though the sleepless nights are felt, but throws everything to the air, even though sometimes you look at him with an air of desperation because it combines one after the other; while doing all this, you still smile and look at him and you realize how much you love him. Naples is so, for me and for those who did not know it, lived it as a Neapolitan.
Whoever comes to Naples takes off his gold necklace, because in Naples they steal;
Who lives Napoli let them steal the soul.
Who comes to Naples has the anxiety and the fear that the first Neapolitan is going to steal his wallet;
Who lives in Naples lives with the anxiety that those days are not enough to fill the heart and eyes with wonder.
Who comes to Naples thinks he knows what will happen…
Who lives Napoli learns to understand that it is all a continuous discovery.
You live Naples with your five senses. From the morning.
The sun warms the skin, the smell of coffee, the sound of a city that wakes up or that never went to bed, the taste of ‘sfugliatella’.
All the senses are interwoven. In those streets, so beautiful, overlap the smell of sauce and that of bleach… because, whatever people may say, we wash ourselves, aside individual cases and we do not even have cholera! The lady that keeps the door open of his “vascio” and smells impregnate the alley. The clothes are cleverly laid out on the drying rack and the music complete throughout. It ‘s all so beautiful. It ‘s all so unique.
Naples has always been denigrated by the ignorant with blinkers and perhaps a bit jealous, those who think that in Naples all drive without a seatbelt and drive a scooter with two or three passengers and, of course, without a helmet. Those who believe that in Naples you can not walk down the street because everyone steals. Those who think that we have the smog, the air is polluted and that we live in groups of ten in a tiny flat. I’m tempted to curse loudly but then I stop and laugh … with a little regret. I can not “convert” all at once. History teaches us that we were a city full of belongings and culture, and that everything is rooted in us, but sometimes we have found it hard to get it out.
The beauty of this place is something to envy.
The history of this place was sunk to give space to stories that pleased someone else. But that’s another story.
I’ll tell you a story of people like you who started with preconceptions and anxieties. The history of Ciro, my cousin. Neapolitan in heart but American by language. At the age of three he went away from here, with his parents and he has lost some roots, or better so I thought. It was enough: a scooter and… oh well you’ll find out for yourself, I can not reveal everything now.
Do not be afraid to fall in love with this city with all five senses.
Let’s accompany… you do not come to Naples – experience Naples.
It’s really worth it.