Naples

I am delighted to have received my first royalty check for Ciao, Napoli.  Thank you, my friends, for all your support and encouragement.  I am sharing some more photos of Naples in hopes that you will enjoy them.

vesuvius-from-corso-vittorio-emnnuel
Vesuvius seen from Corso Vittorio Emanuele

This was the view from the street where we lived during our latest sojourn. Corso Vittorio Emanuele.  Since the Corso is at the summit of a hill, we unfortunately did not have this vista from our apartment.  Our apartment was six flights down from the street, an arrangement I have found only in Naples.  We actually descended and if we wanted to descend further rather than climb six flights to the street, we could emerge in the heart of the Spanish Quarter on a street where our friend Antonio who was born in the Spanish Quarter had never been to before he visited us.    The Spanish Quarter had in the past a reputation for being unsafe.  We were fine, though.  It’s like living on the Lower East Side.  It’s an interesting and upcoming neighborhood.

 

Via dei Tribunali

Via dei Tribunali is one of the old Roman Roads and is still in use.  For me it is the gateway to the historic center and is the essence of Naples — new built upon but never fully concealing the old.  Cars wriggle in and out of narrow Roman alleyways which lead to high-end trendy shops in buildings that are centuries old.  I love to shop here and usually buy from street vendors.

 

Fountain in Via Forcella 2Fountain in Via Forcella

Via Forcella is the street we usually walked to get to the train station if we were making an excursion outside the city.   This was a scary street full of motorcycles and fruit vendors.  It was interesting to discover who was important on the street by watching who ceded passage to whom, whether on a motorcycle or expensive car.  The first time I was in Naples, I wandered into this street by mistake.  I noticed people staring at me, wondering what I was doing there since I was obviously not from the neighborhood.  I found my way out as soon as I could.  It seemed all right though when Jim and I would walk the the train station.  The fountains seem to have disappeared the last time we visited.  It’s still a rough neighborhood, but we passed through without incident.  I did get the sense of being watched, but because we took this route regularly, we seem to have been regarded as gli americani who pass by from time to time.

IMG_0699 Body of Naples StatueBody of Naples

The name of this statue is the Body of Naples.  It is also a personification of the Nile.  We passed it frequently in the historic center, also on our way to the train station or on our way to one of our favorite restaurants.  It is said to have been there from Roman times and is considered a very important landmark.

Bay of NaplesBay of Naples

The rocky formation is the distance is Capri.  A friend told us that Capri forms the image of a sleeping woman.  Here you can see her bosom and her hair floating on the water.  Naples is replete with alluring images.  City of beauty and risk.

 

 

 

 

Le zitelle e i genitori

Miei nonni provennero dal Vecchio Paese – come lo chiamavano — e per forza tennero ai modi di tempi passati. Dei loro sei figli nati tutti in America, le tre prime erano feminile, arrivate in un tratto di meno di cinque anni. La sorella piú grande, zia Giovanna, fu bellissima, la piú bella della famiglia. La seconda, mia madre Sara, fu molto intelligente, mentre la terze, zia Anna, mostrò un carattere dolce e simpatico. Quest’ultima fu anche sorda, non completamente ma tuttavia in grado di renderla timida. A le piacava stare a casa, vicina alla famiglia.

I genitori si accoresero delle nature diverse di queste loro figlie e quando le ragazze ebbero compiuto circa quindici anni, la mamma ed il babbo scelesero il posto che considerano giusto per ciascuna. Zia Giovanna, a causa della sua bellezza, si sarebbe sposata con un uomo ricco e d’alto bordo. Sara, mia mamma, con la sua mente acuta andrebbe a l’universitá da farsi professoressa. Quanto a Zia Anna, così timerosa e gentile, lei rimanerebbe sempre a casa, la sorella zitella che baderebbe ai vecchiarelli.

Uno propone e i fati ridono. zia Giovanna fu molto religiosa. Voleva entrare un convento e non si sarebbe sposata per niente. Siccome i genitori non la permisero a diventare monaca, Zia Giovanna trovò un lavoro in una fabbrica e poi frequentòuna scuola commerciale, pagandola se stessa. Rimaneva una donna d’affaro per tutta la vita e non si fu mai sposata.

Mia mamma era felice di avere l’opportunitá di studiare, però voleva essere infermiera. Suo padre credeva che le infermiere fossero tutte malafemine e le minacciava di non pagare l’universitá se lei averebbe insistito su quest’idea pazza di farsi infermiera. Sara la rinunciò e diventò insegnante, ma con gran rimpianto.

Sola zia Anna fu contenta di fare la strada decisa dai genitori, benché aveva un compagno che voleva sposarla. Miei nonni si servirono di zia Anna come casalinga. Al suo lato, zia Anna godé di occuparsi del fratello e le due sorelle piú giovani e, alcuni anni dopo, dei nipoti che rimpiazzarono i figli che non ebbe. Lei figura tanto nei miei bei primi ricordi ed anche nei quelli di miei cuggini.