Before visiting Italy to teach again in Florence this past summer, my wife and I watched John Tuturro’s Passione (2010), a semi-documentary/music video homage to the music of Naples. Tuturro shot performances in locations around the city, from the Centro Storico to the Angevin fortress on the Bay of Naples. Opera, jazz, folk songs, rock, and unclassifiable pop music seemed part of the architecture itself. The film is colorful and compelling, and we decided that we had to visit Napoli if only for a short time.
With only two days scheduled and a desire to see the ruins of Campania and also sightsee Capri and the Amalfi coast, we decided to take the plunge and stay in Centro Storico, the oldest, most lived-in part of the city, where the layers of history create an unusually colorful visual experience. The latest layer in this palimpsest-surround is graffiti, which sits incongruously against Baroque counterreformation architecture in streets full of life. Shops shut down around 7 and no one goes home—the Neapolitans head for the streets to socialize. We also ventured to the top of the city, the Castel Sant’Elmo, and down to the waterfront. Both nights we had to have the real deal: Neapolitan pizza (we especially liked the tuna and mozzarella at Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo). I’m not going to suggest the following photographs are anything but a tourist’s-eye view of the city, but walking the streets of Naples is an unforgettable experience (and possibly safer than riding in a taxi there). All photographs by me.