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See Napoli, then die

I'm Italian: more than Italian, I'm Neapolitan. I belong to a culture made by the flavour of espresso coffee coming from the kitchen of my parents' house at 7 a.m and the sea storming on the rocks right in front of my balcony. My mom shouting from the living room when Sunday's lunch is ready: a ragù sauce that has been cooked for seven hours, my dad reading a newspaper on his armchair while sipping limoncello after dinner.

Topless children with bruised knees, on summer afternoons, playing soccer in the street, the sound of music heard from every apartment downtown, Renato Carosone still lives in the lanes of Napoli, and his immortal notes are part of the soul of the city.

Pizza margherita for lunch, after school. Never have pizza outside Naples, because that's where Pizza was born and the Pizza makers, in the historical district, know secrets that have been passed from father to son, and use magical water that has washed a million different faces from all over the world. Because Italians have the blood of greeks, arabians, germans, of french and spanish and the languages of those populations have become our local dialects in a mixture of words that make only sense to the ones who speak them. 

Clothes hanging from the balconies give the narrow streets all the colors of the rainbow and women talking to each other from one window to the other in those dialects make sure that silence never happens.

Life is slow, down here:  walking in Mergellina, with the sea on your right and the Vesuvius rising up from it, in its majesty and splendor, collecting memories of myths and legends of the people that have been here along the centuries, you can sit on the rocks, by the beach, and drink iced beer while eating hot salty tarallo cookies. The sun is warm all year round in Napoli. Postcards can be admired from here: the bay with its wonderful islands depicted in blue, white, green, orange.

See Napoli, then you can die, because you know you'll have enjoyed one of the most beautiful pieces of land, in the world. Come here with your heart and mind open, because you will see the darkness of the night walking hand in hand with the brightest sunshines, from Forcella neighborhood to Piazza del Plebiscito, you'll have the luck to observe every possible contradiction, therefore keep your eyes wide and get carried away.

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Grazie!

That was a lovely, evocative piece! - Thank you, Ombretta! I lived in Italy, but further north (Florence and Modena) about 20 years ago, but only spent one day in Napoli - would love to go back, and your writing has made me want to, even more.

P.S. Does your name means: 'Little Shadow of God'? - If so, what a beautiful name!

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Thank you very much, I've

Thank you very much, I've lived 1 year in Modena myself, but then HAD to go back to my South :) My name means Little Shadow of God indeed!

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Rainbows

Dear Ombretta,

"Clothes hanging from the balconies give the narrow streets all the colors of the rainbow and women talking to each other from one window to the other in those dialects make sure that silence never happens."

What a beautiful image, among the many you evoke!

Warm Regards,

Mariette

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Thank you Mariette

Thank you Mariette