(More photos of Napoli coming this week as well!)
Day 2 in Napoli brought some… dryer weather. For at least a few hours! We made around way around the city and through the Spanish Quarter – an area considering off limits for tourists. The area is known for the crime that deters tourists from visiting the city at all. Since we were a relatively large group, with a knowledgeable Neapolitan, I was not worried at all. Our professor has lived in Napoli his whole life and would not put us in a dangerous position. He even joked that we were there early enough in the morning that you the bad guys would still be sleeping. No one was pick pocketed or anything – so he must have been right! I was unfortunately a little too nervous to be walking around with my big Canon DSLR, so I don’t have any photos.
For lunch, we were brought to ARTS – Association for the Revival of Street Theatre. One of the small groups of Neapolitans attempting to retain the culture of Napoli that many have lost. We were greeted with a few men in tradition costume and song prior to entering their (small) apartment. All twenty something students piled in. We began by breaking our ziti into small bits. The traditional Neapolitan ziti is about the length of a spaghetti, so they break it up into a few pieces prior to the meal. The first course was our pasta in a ragu sauce – a real ragu sauce. The meat had been stewing all day! It was definitely delicious. The meat from the stew was the second course… but it wasn’t necessarily meat. It was pig skin/fat that gives the sauce the best flavor. I personally couldn’t deal with the gelatinous texture, so I enjoyed some of the fresh salad with squeezed lemon. After some more song and dance, we were given some caffe and were on our way.
Our next stop was the Tunnel Borbonico. The tunnel itself was initially created as an aqueduct, then a tunnel for the king and queen to flee incase of a rebellion, then as a bomb shelter for World War II. In between these periods, it was also used as a junkyard for confiscated vehicles. We got to see how the old aqueduct worked, some old items left from the bomb shelter, and how the workers used to try and clean the wells by carefully climbing down walls. Pretty awesome, as the whole thing was chiseled out by hand through the volcanic stone!
After exiting the tunnel by the Mediterranean, we were greeted by a fresh sea breeze/extremely strong gusts. The best part was that Mount Vesuvius showed itself! It was short lived, as it started to rain sideways again till we got on a tram back to the train station.
Napoli was definitely an experience. A city filled with rich heritage, but also the apparent issue of an economic and social collapse. It was easy to see our professor’s frustration with how much he loved and cared for his city. There are definitely things the government could easily work on, but it’s easy to say that things are more or less in a downward spiral of political injustice. With Italy’s current political vote going on, it’s unfortunate that while there are many citizens and politicians who love their country and want to make a difference, there are also more citizens whom either don’t care, or politicians whom are in office purely on greed.Tags: Arcadia University, Castel, Day 30, Italy, Mediterranean, Naples, Napoli, Roma Tre, Saturday, Vesuvius, Waterfront