Tuesday, 9 October 2007

a postcard from the Mezzogiorno 2

We flew out of Naples instead of Palermo. And lucky we did because the city was fantastic. It was like a hideous, gaping wound making you squirm, and you just couldn’t help looking at it anyway.

Most cars looked like these. The streets are so narrow that nobody pays any attention to what and who they are hitting. I saw a small pick up truck drive into an alley way brushing against the knee of a dude sitting on a stool reading the paper. The paper was whipped out of his hands by the truck. The dude just looked at the driver and raised his eyebrows, slowly picking up the Le Republica and re-commenced his reading.

Loved the general respect for public monuments in Naples. This statute was my favourite. I was so mesmerised by the graffiti that I took no notice of who the actual historical figure was standing guarding over the piazza at the dirty end of Toledo. Some pope or bishop no doubt.

I saw these anti anorexia billboards strewn around the city. Looks like the image obsessed Italy is having some problems with its younger female population (and possibly male). Italians are the second slimmest European country (France is at No. 1 and Poland at No. 3). I thought these harrowing images were really strong and made me wonder whether they achieved the same effect as the Australian anti-smoking campaign did, with the dead lung in surgery ad and the hook in the cigarette.

We stumbled into this pizzeria by chance. Getting lost we wandered the tiny street getting hungry. Scoring a table at 7pm with ease, we were lucky. The locals start eating pizza at around 8pm. The two storey pizzeria with a special inbuilt lift to take the pizzas up to the second floor, soon became packed. When we left there was a huge line outside the place stretching for miles with people yelling wanting to know if any tables had freed up. This was the best pizza I have ever had in my life.


mischa said...

i reckon i might have been to that pizzeria. do you remember what it was called? (i don't, but it might ring a bell.)

i've only visited naples twice and for less than a whole day each time, but i love it too, mostly because everyone hangs out on the street - even a casual observer feels like s/he gets quite an intimate insight into people's daily lives.

both times i was there on my own and both times i was approached by a well-intentioned stranger after dark who told me it was too dangerous for me to wander around by myself. is it really so unsafe?or are the neapolitans simply trying to maintain naples' reputation as dark, dirty , dangerous city?

Justyna said...

The pizzeria was called Di Mateo. It was on a street that came off Toledo at the dirty end, past that monument on the photo.

Who knows about the safety level of the place. According to a European Commission survey, Neapolitans are the least content people in all of Europe, hating their city with a passion. It has the highest level of robberies in all of Italy and the junkie problem is pretty bad. But shootings have decreased considerably since the mid 1990s.

mischa said...

yes! i have indeed eaten there. twice. the pizza was a little disappointing the second time though. too gooey.

Anonymous said...

I too think ive eaten there. And it was an amazing experience. Locals eating with knives and forks. Delicious pizza with just 2 toppings. And only 3 guys making all of the pizzas - 1 rolling dough, 1 topping dough, 1 flinging the pizza into the fire. it was mesmerizing, i almost cried.


Justyna said...

Man. And here I thought we found a tucked-away gem. Crap. Admittedly I did have my suspicions that it wasn't a total score when I saw a Korean couple with a Lonely Planet opened whilst they were trying various fried doughey things.