Published by: MCR
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One of my three favorite cities in the world. Truly, a gem of rare quality. Prague, Barcelona and Budapest are picturesquely beautiful cities. There are so many postcard worthy locations in these places. I consider Napoli beautiful as well, but outside of the posh areas with the high-end shopping that every city possesses and the Gulf of Napoli which does offer magnificently breathtaking views, the physical make-up of the city does not equate to that of Europe’s more popular tourist havens. HOWEVER, for this Storyteller, Napoli’s beauty runs beneath the surface. Its charm and allure lie in its grit and earthiness, its lack of sophistication.
As I walk the streets I see common folk (my personal preference), blue collar, down-to-Earth people. Napoli, is not a fashion capital like Milan or Rome, yet I find the women as eye-catching as any on the planet. To demonstrate this is not merely a case of wanderlust, I get zero interest from women here. BUT, I still find this city one of the most special in the world and I have the purest sense of affection for its people.
There is a fierce sense of family here. A few days ago, I had lunch at the home of the woman who rented me my apartment on my first visit to the city. She cooked a pot of pasta which I devoured, and after, served an assortment of meats and cheeses. Gelato was placed in front of me for dessert but I was stuffed! Beyond the fact she offered me the use of her car for the month, my host told me a special story. She sold half of her condo so her newly-wed daughter could purchase a home in Rome. I was greatly moved by this selfless act of generosity.
Many people outside of Napoli will tell you it’s a dodgy city. Walking down Via Toledo and seeing policemen in camouflage holding M16s can be intimidating. I’ve spent three months in Napoli and regularly walk the streets late at night, normally having consumed more wine than many. I’ve never had an issue. I would say be mindful as any traveler should.
What truly draws me to this city more than anything is its passion. I can feel it as I walk the streets, my senses like a catcher’s mitt taking it all in, the conversations, daily scenes and interactions. And of course the football team here, Napoli FC, a team Diego Armando Maradona led to an Italian Serie A title during the 1986 – 87 season, making the Neapolitan club the first from southern Italy to win the championship. The fans are deeply passionate. I’m going to the Napoli v. Bologna game this Sunday. Passion is an ambrosia that feeds my existence. I can no more function without it than a bird could fly without wings. I am thankful I was able to make time to return here and draw energy from this special place