Being Neapolitan is In My DNA
I confess; I have an ongoing love affair for decades with the city of Naples. It is said that Naples leaves its mark on those who visit, and my love for Naples is indelibly marked on my very existence. Being “Neapolitan” is literally in my DNA for as far back as I can trace and until we were transplanted to the U.S. when my grandparents emigrated, expecting their first child, my mother, who was born a few months after arriving in the U.S.
What We Lost
I always felt badly that the rest of my mother’s family in Italy was left behind, but I have come to realize we in the U.S. were the ones who were left behind. We lost the history, the language, all that goes along with the Neapolitan culture, and the jaw dropping beauty along the Bay of Naples.
What Italy Endured
Let me be clear, the history of Naples has not been without its problems. Naples has had its share of hardships, especially over the last 150 years beginning with the unification of Italy in 1860. It was then that Naples was lost its position as a European capital. Naples has endured two world wars. It owns the distinction as the city most bombed in Italy in WWII, eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 1944, the camorra (a regional mafia) and abject poverty for decades after WWII.
Neapolitans Will Not Be Colonized
But despite all, what I love about Naples is that the Neapolitan spirit of its people cannot and will not be broken. Neapolitans have a deep pride in their city founded about 3,000 years ago. They have a sense of belonging to each other while simultaneously sharing their contributions of music, art, theater, and food with the rest of the world. Many have heard about pizza, music, and the beauty of Naples but few truly understand it is the people that make the city what it is.
Although Naples has been a city of many civilizations over the centuries, whether occupied by the Greeks, Romans, Spanish or others, it has always maintained its own identity and its own culture. In other words, colonialism does not work in Naples. Naples even has its own Neapolitan language.
Everyone and Everything in Naples Teaches Me Something
Naples is unique in the world beginning with its seemingly chaotic pace but reflects the energy of its inhabitants and their love of life. The chaos energizes me, and I crave it when returning to the states.
Neapolitans are generous to others, welcoming others to their city and always open to human connection. I try to remember the tradition of leaving money for a second cup of coffee for another person when visiting a coffee bar. Spending just 15 minutes in a coffee bar will result in at least 5 new friends and advice on anything you may need. It seems for me that everyone and everything in Naples teaches me something and I fully embrace it.
Sharing Authentic Naples With Others
I am continually thankful for the gift of my heritage. I know I did nothing to deserve this gift, but it is my good fortune to have it. I will continue doing everything possible preserving my part of this beautiful culture.
I treasure being a citizen of Italy and I treasure my beautiful Neapolitan relatives that I am fortunate to have in my life today.
Sharing “Authentic Naples” with others as host and guide on my annual trips is a small but proud contribution as a self-proclaimed ambassador to a city that is often misunderstood.
After taking annual trips to Italy (sometimes as many as three in a year) over the past 20 years, the dream of this Italian Nutritionist is to spend more extended time in Italy. Short vacations simply seem fail to satiate the longing that begins in my very DNA and my love for Naples.
More information on the “Authentic Italy” Travel Itinerary for September 2021 is here.
Standing in the circle of your astrological sign in the Galleria brings luck for returning to Naples once again.