The ancient Italian city of Naples has mostly been associated with three different images in recent years: the first is of glorious pizza dripping with fresh olive oil and spotted with real buffalo mozzarella, the second of the famous three-coloured ice cream and the third of burning rubbish in the streets. Unfortunately, the third image seems to be the most prominent in the city’s recent history.
The problems of rubbish being tipped out onto the streets, untreated, being neglected and then being burnt by the locals in anger of the disgusting situation are all too recent in memory. This is something which the Naples tourist board and the people of Italy are trying to change. They wish to turn the attention away from rubbish bins and firmly onto what Naples has been offering for centuries: cuisine reflecting a cluster of cultures, stunning weather, matching architecture and one of the world’s strangest castles.
Indeed, the ‘egg’ castle has been described as one of the musts on everybody’s list of things to see if they are interested in the extraordinary. The castle owes its name to its peculiar shape and its location is also rather odd. It is actually stuck in the sea, appearing to purposely jut out to invoke attention. Staying with architecture, the Basilica di Santa Chiara has been described as one of Europe’s most stunning churches, despite it having been damaged during World War Two.
Neapolitan eating habits reflect its history, in a word: diverse. The Greeks settled in Naples, hence the name coming from the Greek meaning ‘new city’, then the city was subject to rule by, amongst others, the Romans and the Spanish. Today’s gastronomy of Naples reflects the history. Almost anything is available, yet special mention must go to the pizza. The making of this sacrilegious dish is regulated and the pizza is said to have started in Naples under Greek rule. Italy’s third largest city should never be described in the same sentence as rubbish.