Naples’ reputation precedes it. When most foreigners hear it’s name uttered, the images that come to mind can only be interpreted as negative: heaping piles of trash, organized crime and devastating volcanic eruptions. At least, that’s what I thought about the misunderstood city until I began dating a Napolitano.
Granted, the dialect is a sloppy, loud and a patience-trying bastardized variety of classic Italian, the streets are congested and raucous and around every corner there is a gypsy eyeing your wallet or a local thief eyeing your watch. However, beyond the grit and chaos- Napoli is, in my opinion, one of the most fascinating and beautiful cities of Italy.
Earlier this month- my aunt decided to bring my uncle to Italy (and to me) for his 74th birthday celebration. I thought and thought about where to take them- being that we had already spent abundant amounts of time together in Rome. Then, it came to me…Bella Napoli! What better than to show them around one of the oldest, most romantic and startlingly beautiful cities in Italy. (Not forgetting to mention that the food is so good that my poor uncle actually got sick from over-eating.) Sorry Pookie, I wont go into the details!
Anyway- when I first told la zia about my excursion idea- I could hear her cringe on the other end of the phone. But I actually believe that the low expectations led to an even better all-around experience. I can’t speak for anyone else but what I do know is that I had an incredible time- from standing on our sea-view balconies gazing out towards Mt. Vesuvius on our left and Capri to our rights, to singing an unofficial Napolitano anthem, Malafemmina, along with the guitar-clad “cantante” while dining at “Dora” down a hidden alley in the center of the city. What I do know is that I have managed to convert two more Midwesterners into Naples aficionados.
So my thinking is, if I actually make it to 74 in the incredible shape that my uncle is in- I plan on spending it in Napoli as well. Photos and accompanying music below.