Naples, Italy: on its way to the New Year

Image from a t-shirt design by 'Officina Flegrea'

Image from a t-shirt design by ‘Officina Flegrea’ – off.flegrea@gmail.com

In the summer of 2014 we arrived in our new home on the outskirts of Naples.  We left this autumn.  Two years in total, two years in which we were privileged to see places many Neapolitans themselves never get the chance to visit.  Some of the sights we saw were outside the city but many were squeezed into its narrow streets.

This post, mainly of photographs, is a glance at the context, at some of the neighbourhoods and corners, that frame a few of those places that were in Naples itself.

One side of the vast city of Naples

One side of the vast city of Naples

Seen from above Naples is a jigsaw held between volcanic lands and blue sea.  It’s a mix of the ancient and the new, and its life is neither easy nor still.

Naples, Italy

Naples, Italy

Views of the Bay of Naples and its city are held in a cup, guarded along its rim by Vesuvio, Capri, Ischia, Capo Miseno and the Campi Flegrei.  On clear days the sun bounces in silver off its Tyrhennian Sea.

Tambourine in the Via San Gregorio Armeno

Tambourine in the Via San Gregorio Armeno

In the centro storico – the old core of dark, narrow, high-sided streets – the city sits unshifted, guardian of its artists and its artisans …

Saints processing through Naples, Italy

Saints processing through Naples, Italy

… of its saints and traditions …

A fashion shoot outside the main post office in Naples, Italy

A fashion shoot outside the main post office in Naples, Italy

On every corner, whatever its era, it lives …

Naples, Italy - always watchful

Naples, Italy – always watchful

… and it watches.

A side street in Naples, Italy

A side street in Naples, Italy

There is colour …

Naples, Italy

Naples, Italy

… there is the every day.

The shoe cleaner on Via Toledo

The shoe cleaner on Via Toledo

When employment fails entrepreneurs step in – some are professional and experienced …

Pulcinella by the Castel dell'Ovo in Naples, Italy

Pulcinella by the Castel dell’Ovo in Naples, Italy

… others are seasonal and hopeful.

One of the angry lions in the Piazza dei Martiri - they remember Neapolitans killed in clashes with the Bourbons between 1799 and 1860

One of the angry lions in the Piazza dei Martiri – the four lions remember Neapolitans killed in clashes with the Bourbons between 1799 and 1860

Statues mark the stories.

Statue of Armando Vittorio Diaz, the Italian General born close to Naples who signed the Armistice for Italy at the end of the First World War. His statue has the best seat in the house.

Statue of Armando Vittorio Diaz, the Italian General born close to Naples who signed the Armistice for Italy at the end of the First World War.

Some take the best seats in the city.

Character and personality fill every inch of Naples, each connected to the next, merged but separate.

Chiaia - Naples, Italy

Chiaia – Naples, Italy

There is wealthy Chiaia.

Naples, Italy

Naples, Italy

There are the close-packed streets of the Quatieri Spagnoli.

The marina in front of the Borgo Marinaro in Naples, Italy

The marina in front of the Borgo Marinaro in Naples, Italy

There are marinas built over waters that swept in Parthenope herself.

Naples, Italy

Naples, Italy

Apartments cram along ridges.

View from Camaldoli, Naples, Italy

View from Camaldoli, Naples, Italy

Old monasteries treasure the views.

Posillipo, Naples, Italy

Posillipo, Naples, Italy

And Posillipo sits lush above its shore.

Piazza Garibaldi Naples, Italy

Piazza Garibaldi Naples, Italy

It is a city where time has passed but never left.  There is the new and shiny …

Rione Sanità - Naples, Italy

Rione Sanità – Naples, Italy

.. there is the old and worn.

The extreme story

The political story – Naples, Italy

Walls and doors tell their stories.

The violent story - Naples, Italy

The violent story – Naples, Italy

They sketch aggression and consequence.

The student story

The student story – Naples, Italy

They mark the university and where students have been.

The Church's story

The Church’s story – San Gennaro, patron saint of Naples, Italy

They put a face on religion.

The bad guys, the good guys, the badder guys - Naples, Italy

The bad, the good and the even badder  – Naples, Italy

They tell of the struggle between state, corruption and crime.

Forza Napoli Sempre

Forza Napoli … Sempre

There is football …

Football in the San Paolo Stadium, Naples, Italy

Football in the San Paolo Stadium, Naples, Italy

… and the passion that comes with it.

Pulcinella - Naples, Italy

Pulcinella – Naples, Italy

Naples is a city with complex roots, too elusive to capture fully as a visitor, but intriguing to step into.

The flag of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies

The flag of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies

It’s been loved, abandoned, decorated, bombed, and threatened … it’s a city that survives.

An old view - Naples, Italy

An old view – Naples, Italy

If you have the chance to visit don’t hesitate. There are not many cities in Europe that combine so much treasure with such character – that bear the fingerprints of the Greeks and the Romans; the mythical and the sacred; of so many kingdoms and peoples.  It’s alive and it’s captivating.

Two tips to make the most of your time – visit when the temperatures will suit you most, and, if it’s your first visit, take a guide.

Naples, Italy

Naples, Italy

Napoli … a city to remind us of what other cities have lost.

Fireworks around the Bay of Naples seen from Posillipo

Fireworks around the Bay of Naples seen from Posillipo

Auguri per un felice 2017!

Two short YouTube clips to end the year with.  One stars the voice of Pino Daniele and the other Tom and Jerry.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2016

6 thoughts on “Naples, Italy: on its way to the New Year

  1. Georgie, I adored reading this post. It rings so true to me. I am into my last 2 months of my 4 year stay and these complex layered qualities of Napoli you speak of so vividly are becoming so much more vivid to me with every passing day. I feel they are burning brighter before I have to leave them behind, so they are making their presence known lest I forget ……. Impossible of course! . So reading your wonderfully insightful, observational post always hits the nail on the head and encapsulates this beautifully complex city so succinctly- I thank you for these images and words. I do hope people have the fortune to experience the qualities that this bold city has offered us. She is indeed a city that is difficult to forget once she has laid her hand on your heart. Anyone who has had the fortune to spend time here will understand this completely and those who have encountered her for a more brief affair will be yearning for a second date!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Glynis! I’m so pleased to hear that the piece rang true with your experience of Naples. It is an extraordinary city. I hope, as 2017 arrives, that life will become easier for the many who do not have much in Naples, and I hope also that the best of the city will never lose its character, its resilience, its creativity, its insistence on courtesies and traditions. Naples has shown me how important these qualities are and reminded me how careless of them we can become if life gets too easy. I wish you a wonderful final two months and thank you again for all your interest.

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  2. Pingback: Naples Monthly Roundup

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