Saturday, 7 June 2014


Day 4 in Napoli is recounted by Mia Gallagher

Saturday 7th June - Naples

Caffe Gambrinus coffee break in Napoli - Sean Hardie on the far right
Today is our last day in the Mezzogiorno. So what better way to spend it than in the glorious sprawl of Napoli, a place I love. Plenty awaited us in the New City (from Neapolis, the original Greek name). Afric got photos of a demonstration that might have been about workers’ rights – though it was hard to tell. Nuala spotted shedloads of police, drummers and bluegrass musicians in the shopping district. I came across some teenage kickboxers and a strange soprano singing on the seafront.

Buskers on Via Chiaia
En route it was great to find out about the layered history of Naples, its development and reconstruction under a who’s who list of famous European rulers. We split up and I got lost somewhere on one of the hills, appropriately enough for a literary exchange exploring the theme of displacement. I felt like a character from a Richard Scarry illustrated book.

Mia's gattolina
Up one winding street, down another. I followed a zigzag of terraces up to the ramparts where I made friends with a gattolina (Italian cat) who followed me onto a desolate hilltop, bounded by wire fences, crumbling buildings, Keep Out signs and graffiti promising murder by gunshot if you parked there. I looked back: the gattolina had disappeared. Not a soul around, not even a mugger – though it would have been the perfect place to play Rob the Silly Tourist. And in that spark of dangerous solitude I had one of those odd, everlasting moments of feeling utterly at home. Grazie, Napoli.

Now it’s 5.20pm. Open Mic in half an hour. I’m going to try out my Italian & read a translation – bit nervous but why not?
The Bay of Naples

Paola Mustilli, our host, enjoying the open mic

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