When asked a few weeks ago about how long the ZTL and Pedestrian Zone would remain in effect on Naples Lungomare I said, “as far as I know until April 25th.”  Then I added almost jokingly, “but wouldn’t it be something if it became permanent.”

Imagine Villa Comunale, the people’s park, the park that once sat right at the water’s edge reclaiming its relationship with the sea.

Imagine being able to stroll, jog, walk your dog, push a stroller, bike, or roller blade on Naples Lungomare, CAR FREE.

What a breath of fresh air that would be. Literally.

How many cities in the world I thought, are blessed with this kind of waterfront property? What kind of money would a city pay to build something like this, something Naples already has.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if they never opened Lungomare back up to traffic.

I didn’t realize at the time, but that’s exactly what Naples Mayor Luigi de Magistris had in mind and the America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) Naples 2012 was just the event he needed to do it.

The arrival of the America’s Cup catamarans in Naples made us take the important step of closing Via Caracciolo, the world’s most beautiful seafront road, to traffic. I don’t want to offend anyone, but you don’t find five kilometres of seafront right in the centre of the city in many places around the world.

We have it and we have to exploit it. Our efforts are aimed at putting us among a foursome of great tourism cities along with New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona.

The AC World Series has enabled people to ‘reclaim’ the city’s seafront and over the Easter break over half a million Neapolitans and visitors walked around this area, where the event’s hospitality village has been set up. ANSA, April 14, 2012

Unprecedented crowds showed up on Pasquetta, Easter Monday, two days before the races even started. Lines formed to get into and out of Villa Comunale and Via Caracciolo was jam packed with people. Come lunch time, every restaurant along Via Partenope was overflowing and those of us without reservations were turned away.

And by the time the event was over, ACWS had drawn some 1.5 million visitors to Naples seafront.

As the races got underway on Wednesday, the crowds thinned a bit as people returned to work. But whether timing the races to start between 1:30 and 2:00 was by chance or design, lunchtime spectators spilled onto the streets, out onto the rocks and stood 3 and 4 deep to get a glimpse of the action.

Most of the race days were wet, wild and windy and inclement weather grounded the ACWS boats on Saturday. Of course a little rain didn’t dampen the Neapolitan spirit and the spectators still turned out.

A photographers dream however, the stars aligned on Thursday and Naples beauty really shone through.

From the inauguration of the Public Events Village last Saturday to the closing ceremonies last night, the images that were captured by the spectators and the local, national and international press have been nothing short of spectacular.

I wanted these regattas very much because I felt that they have extraordinary potential as a means to show to the world the image of the Neapolitan Renaissance we are building, via television, the press, the Internet and social networks. ANSA, April 14, 2012

Painting a portrait of Naples in exactly the light the Mayor hoped they would, they are helping to change the public face of the city.

(The image of) Naples in the world is no longer garbage. If you click on Internet and search in the search engines, the images are no longer of trash, but of America’s Cup and “Lungomare Liberato,” the liberated waterfront.

And the Mayor plans to keep that momentum going by inviting everyone to send their photos via Twitter for publication on the new LungomareLiberato website.

  • Use hash tag #LungoMareLiberato for images around the theme of a liberated Via Caracciolo
  • Use hash tag #QuiDoveIlMareLuccica for images around the theme of sailing and the sea

Starting today, April 16th, all photos sent via twitter will be publicized on the new website.

A springboard for the Mayor’s revitalization plans, from this straniera’s perspective ACWS has served Naples well. An opportunity to reclaim one of Naples most valuable assets, its seafront promenade Lungomare, stimulate economic growth and to repaint the city in the eyes of the public.

Congratulations to Mayor Luigi de Magistris and all those involved on job very well done.

Let the countdown to Americas Cup Naples 2013 begin!

The Mayor’s Website
Follow Mayor Luigi de Magistris on Facebook
Follow Mayor Luigi de Magistris on Twitter or @demagistris

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