Visit Naples, But Don’t Let it Marry Your Daughter
Oh Naples. I wanted to love you. I wanted my daughter to love you. I thought you would have a similar attraction for me as your siblings Venice and Rome, yet I knew you wouldn’t be puffed up with their pomp or riddled with their cliches. I expected you to be real. I expected you to be unpredictable. Like your fellow foodie Emilia Romagna, I expected you to blow me away with your cooking. You invented wood fired pizza or goodness sake! What mother wouldn’t want her daughter to eat the best pizza in the world? But I regret you are not husband material. We met for 48 hours and I found you edgy, like a teen rebellion or a riot about to happen. I’m happy to visit, Naples, Italy, but I don’t want you marrying my daughter. Here’s why…
Naples, Italy; a Great Cook but not Marriage Material
Naples – you have too many tattoos
I get it Naples, I do. Body art. It’s cool. But you’ve gone too far. There isn’t an inch of you that hasn’t been inscribed by Staf and Vrin and Slav and Pab. They’re not even good at art. Your skin is scarred by their careless scrawl. Even your private and sensitive places are ruined by too much ink. We are all aware Antonio was ‘ere. It is not necessary to scream it from every part of your body.
Naples – you smell terrible
You need a bath. You smell of rubbish and dogs and your passages whiff like toilets. I know you try. Every morning vans and sweepers and gently sighing street cleaners attempt to make you tidy. Even the pigeons try to clean you up, pecking at the cigarette butts and leftover bread jammed into your pocked skin. But your filth is ingrained and habitual. It is not your fault. You were a neglected child. Your parents have not been good guardians or set an example. Or maybe it was the influence of your Godfather. You need quit the partying and get in the shower.
Naples – you are corrupt
We are in a constant state of alert around you and I know you would sell the family silver if I left you alone with it for a moment. Even the nun in the street clutches her Virgin Mary statue as if it could be stolen and the Jehovah’s witnesses are out counting their leaflets every morning. Every time we get close to you, you try to rip us off. 80 euros to store our bikes?? Your insistence on the 15 euro mozzarella when all we want is a 2 euro bruschetta? Your trainers and belt are fake. And no thanks, I wouldn’t like to buy a Galenciaga handbag.
Naples – you have a darkness at your heart
You are tall and edgy. Even the sun cannot penetrate but waits restlessly at your extremities. You are set in the bay of Naples in Southern Italy but it fails to splash you with colour. I know there is light and goodness in you. I see fragile frescoes behind those huge, bolted gates. I hang out in the pristine coffee shops with the proud owners singing to themselves as they line up baby blue Bialettis and puffed croissants. I see the street you have dedicated to Christmas all year round. But you pull the shutters down. You lead me into your dark centre. You try to take me underground into your network of catacombs and tunnels. You do not want me to see your soft side.
Naples – people want to escape from you
On the surface you are the dream date. You are literally a national treasure; packed with frescoes, sculptures and mosaics saved from Pompeii. You are cultured, with a passion for classical art. You have hidden depths with your catacombs and aqueducts. You really come alive at night, where it’s like being on a rollercoaster journey through the dark. So why do a lot of people take one look at you and want to go somewhere else? Even the octopus makes a run from the shallow barrel in the fish market as the seller reaches for a handful of fleshy prawns. I watch as people rush from their graffiti strewn B & B’s early morning and head for the station or the port. Many only tolerate you because you are close to your cousin Pompeii. (Frankly I met him and he’s dead inside.) You are probably more interesting than your perfect relatives Rome and Florence. You know who you are and do not try to fit in to what people would like you to be. But still, I wouldn’t go out alone in the dark with you. Police cars and army vehicles wait nervously on standby for you to finish your night time activities. You are not a Ferrari or Pagani kind of personality; your careless addiction to scooters will undoubtedly end in tears.
But Naples – your pizza and pasta really are very good..
But on the plus side you really do make a fantastic pizza. Oh the flavours! And that delicate yet weighty base. And your tomatoes are as sweet as an Italian summer.
I don’t want my daughter to marry you but you do know how to treat her right when it comes to mealtimes. Maybe you’d just like to invite us round for dinner? It wouldn’t harm to check you out again would it?