Naples. Why Doesn't Italy Love Italy?

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Italy remains one of the world’s most loved tourist destinations. And I have to ask myself every time I’m forced to go there...why? If you haven’t read my posts on Florence and Venice, do that and come back. If you’re still interested in what I have to say, read on. I used to love Italy.

That was before I started wondering why ITALY doesn’t love Italy.

I visited Naples 13 years ago. Back then it took us five hours to find our hotel (after we were already in Naples). It seemed like every street was named via Don Giovanni. It was pouring with rain and wild, violent traffic. Finally we saw our hotel down a one-way street, which my partner didn’t want to turn into, although everyone else was doing it. My ranting and screaming persuaded him to break the law. I think I might have hit him. We almost broke up that night.

On our recent trip, my partner (the same one) and I were determined not to fight. We got turned around on the motorway at least six times, but we laughed about it. We’ve come a long way.

I wish Naples would take our lead. Have you read about their trash problems? Something about organized crime? Landfill problems? The MONEY to be made from rubbish collection? We thought this was a news story from the past, but when we arrived at our hotel—the Holiday Inn in the middle of the commercial district—we couldn’t overlook the heaps and heaps of trash everywhere. I felt sorry for the prostitutes having to work in such a trashy environment. It’s no wonder Berlusconi calls his own country shit.

My point. Italy is really wonderful when you get out of the big cities. I love Cinque Terre. I love South Tyrol (though I was thrown out of restaurant once in Dorf Tirol. Funny story.). Why doesn’t Italy invest more in their cities? Florence is falling apart. Venice is sinking in sewage and Naples is choking in garbage. Rome? An enormous tourist trap with lots of statues and ruins that smell like cat urine. Why do tourists continually need to see these places?

If you walk or drive around Naples (and I have no idea why you’d want to), you won’t be able to overlook the litter. It’s everywhere. I saw the woman in the car in front of us throw a paper bag out her window. Her hand looked so careless. It was saying, “Screw this city.”

I must be off,


Christopher Allen is the author of the absurdist satire Conversations with S. Teri O'Type


  1. I think the title of this post is brilliant and such an excellent question. While Kent and I have not been to Italy together, we have visited several places that make us ask the same question.

    Glad to hear you and your partner made a pact not to fight – it can be very difficult when traveling to not let the stress overcome you. We rarely fight, but some of our worst arguments have occurred on "transition days." We now give one another a lot of latitude during these particularly stressful periods.

  2. I was in Naples many moons ago, and I remember that there was a lot of trash back then too. It seemed the rats were the only ones trying to keep the city clean... :)

  3. Naples was one of the first cities my partner and I visited together when we went backpacking abroad, and it was certainly intimidating. While there were some awesome aspects, it's true that Naples is dirty, noisy, and sort of obnoxious. BUT we had the best pizza of our life there, so not everything was lost! :)

  4. It is so upsetting to see people littering. I have seen it all through Latin America. Buenos Aires has so much trash that I have started taking photos because I don't think people will believe me.

  5. I've never heard a good thing about Naples (except for Christy having the best pizza of her life there). But I've still been dreaming about finally getting to visit the rest of Italy. Disappointing to hear about Florence and Venice. Congratulations on avoiding a fight with your partner -- not always an easy thing to do.

  6. The first time we were in Napels we ate at the pizzeria where pizza was supposed to have been invented (right). The owner of the restaurant didn't like what we ordered, so she told us what we were going to eat. I ordered a risotto with a pizza. She brought me spaghetti and a calzone and said it was better than what I'd ordered. :)

  7. Eww, I had no idea. What a pity.

  8. A very eye-opening post. Are we talking about the Naples in the Campania region, though? Can you spell it either Naples or Napels?

  9. Ha ha. Goodness. I guess I've been so used to using the German (Neapel) that I let it slip into my English. Thank you!

    Yes, we are talking about Naples, Italy--not Naples, Florida. :)


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