A Look at Naples, Struggling and in a Funk


Not really pizza-related, per se, but if you care about the town where pizza as we know it was born—and that would be Naples, Italy—then this story from the New York Times is worth reading.

The story details the city's attempt to revitalize itself, starting in the 1990s, by playing up its cultural institutions, as Turin did—and as Spain's Bilbao did to even greater success with its Frank Gehry–designed Guggenheim branch there.

But recently, all that outsiders think about is the trash and crime problems, even though that only scratches the surface, according to some:

Mr. Velardi, the tourism official, agreed: "The trash crisis was not the problem. It was more a snapshot of what people here have been going through for a long time. The city has become too dependent on public money from outside, too complacent. All the different regimes that dominated Naples for centuries, from the Spanish to the United States Sixth Fleet, reigned here. They left no culture of public administration. Our mayors, like Bassolino, came into office hoping to institute democratic change, realized they are fighting something too difficult to overcome and decided it is easier to reign. We need to learn how to govern ourselves."

Is there any mention of pizza in this story for you sliceheads? Sorta:

Or as Lorenzo Scotto di Luzio, a 36-year-old Neapolitan artist, who moved to Berlin recently, phrased it the other day: "This is a city that doesn't want to deal with reality. We passed through the rhetoric of the right — the Naples of mandolins and pizza and children playing in the square — then the rhetoric of the left, which was that we're a multicultural city, open and hospitable, a cultural city. It's actually a closed city. I feel guilty. I have wondered whether I have done enough for my city. But you can't ask culture to solve all of Naples's problems."

As I said, not really pizza-related, but I know a lot of Slice readers want to visit Naples or have visited, and I figured this was a good snapshot of the mood there right now.