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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.