On the 23rd of July, I was in London for a “special evening devoted to Naples” at the Italian Cultural Institute. Penny and I were part of a panel discussion about Naples and we got to talk about the “love affair” we have with Napoli and more importantly, we got to promote the city we both came to love. Our moderator for the evening was the delightful and always insightful Carol King, a journalist and writer who is currently Features Editor at WSJ Custom Studios, the content marketing division within the Wall Street Journal’s advertising department. We were joined by Jordan Lancaster, author of In the Shadow of Vesuvius, a cultural history of Naples.

The evening came about at the kind suggestion of His Excellency Pasquale Terracciano, Italian Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Dr. Federico Bianchi, Head of Press and Cultural Affairs both of whom are from Naples. We received a warm welcome and glowing introduction from Minister Vincenzo Celeste, Deputy Head of Mission, also from Naples and the evening was graciously hosted by the newly appointed Director of the Institute, Marco Delogu, “ the first ever photographer to be appointed Head of an Italian Cultural Institute”. In his closing remarks, the director underscored his desire to promote not only the historic aspects of Italy that so many tourists come here to experience, but also contemporary Italian culture as well during his tenure.

Bonnie, Penny & Carol with Director of the Institute, Marco Delogu

Our talk was met with such great enthusiasm by the SRO crowd that I was flying high by the end of the evening, even though I like public speaking about as much as root canals and every little stutter and stumble I made pulsed through me like ice water running through my veins. I have been on this journey for nearly 10 years now and finally, finally, finally… I felt the tides of change in that room. People were engaged, excited and interested rather than cautious, skeptical or afraid and in the end, I think the crowd came away with a beautiful picture of Napoli and dare I say we might have even nudged a few more visitors this way.

And then…

A week later a completely bizarre article filled with negative stereotypes and out of date information came out of what appears to be a reputable online publication. I was stunned. I was disheartened. I’d not seen anything like this in a few years.

After stewing on it all day and seeing it make its rounds of the social media outlets, I finally posted my response on the NU Facebook Page. I posted my rant mainly as a way to vent and I was completely unprepared for, and overwhelmed by, the comments on my post. My faith was imnediately restored when I saw the outpouring of support and love for this city not only on my post but on twitter, instagram and in the direct comments to the article. Here is just a small sampling of what people said:

Beautifully stated! Made my blood boil. Wonderful city, generous people. That was a shameful piece.

We’ve a house near Naples and when we visit we always find something new to discover, places to eat and plenty to enjoy, never mind the friendliness and warmth of the people. And we’ve not been mugged or pick-pocketed yet!

The people who spout off about how dangerous Naples is and all the rest either haven’t been, not experienced all the lovely places, or just not open minded enough to get involved and enjoy what can be a wonderful experience. I love Naples for so many reasons.

I love Naples. It is my Soul City. I am inspired (by) the place and the people every time I visit.

My favourite city in the world. Experiencing Naples is experiencing the spirit of the place. I don’t trust people who don’t connect with that !

I am tired of the broken record about Naples too–I LOVE this vibrant, fascinating, beautiful city where the Soul of Italy Lives!

What I discovered through this experience is something I’ve really known all along. It isn’t just a matter of what Naples is or isn’t, what it has to offer the visitor or not or what problems it does or does not have. In the end it came down to one simple thing – how many other cities in the world would have evoked such fervent support. Perhaps, there is only one – Napoli, la più bella città del mondo”!!! And that’s why we say: Visit Naples. Discover Napoli!

Naples In the News

Naples on the Blogs

Naples in Video

The Month Ahead

I will repeat what I said last month. August in Naples. What more need to be said. It will be hot, hazy and humid and the only place one should be is at, in or near the water. The Naples coastline boasts a variety of bathing establishments along the Posillipo coast and a handful of bathing beaches along Lungomare. Get the best of both worlds – Discover Naples Coastline By Boat. And of course there is the Sorrento Coast, the Amalfi Coast  and the Islands of  Capri, Ischia & Procida to explore. If you want to stay cool, area museums are open and free on August 2nd for Domenica al Museo as are many of Campania’s archaeological sites, if you dare to face the heat.

August also brings us two celebrations, Ferragosto on August 15th and Vulcanalia on August 23rd and there will be plenty of events going on throughout the summer – concerts, open air cinema, festivals –  Holly will be keeping us up to date on all of those.

For the Napoli Expat – the AIWC and the Naples International Happy Hour are on hiatus until September but the weekly English language services at Christ Church Naples will continue every Sunday throughout the summer. There is also Cinema in Original Language at the Cinema Academy Astra (presented by  CLA – Centro Linguistico di Ateneo) and at Multicinema Modernissimo. Find all of Naples English Speaking events.

And in other news… okay – I don’t really have any other news as I’m going to slow things down a bit this month and enjoy the rest of the summer. However… what I am going to do while I laze by a pool somewhere, is to offer a lovely one month summer sale on the Napoli Unplugged Guide to Naples. Take 20% off all orders at the Partenope Press Store through August 31st (that includes Ann’s Tweeting Da Vinci too!!!). Enter coupon code “naplessummer” at checkout.

Buon Ferragosto a tutti!! Have a great August and stay cool!!!