Diana Marrone

Play the odds in Naples

Naples is the perfect city to play. Typically you could wander this city searching countless churches and underground treasures, while digging through the outskirts with its thermal springs and Roman ruins or explore the crowded poor districts in the old city centre. But if you have been-there-done-that, Naples is the place to loose yourself by tapping into the city’s inspirational power. Your playing will take place in discovering experimental cinemas, artistic laboratories, pirate broadcasting and urban transformations. Keep in mind you are in the city of Lotto where even the coolest people and the most intellectual inhabitants take seriously playing the numbers and puzzle over their hidden meanings.


Diana Marrone - Image by Danilo Capasso Danilo Capasso

Your Naples passepartout could be me, Diana, a Neapolitan 36 years old journalist, a discrete lover of clubbing and nightlife, a mad addict of contemporary art, design, architecture and true imageries, but also perfect connoisseur of the soul and living needs of a modern family.

So, are you planning to visit Naples soon?
Feel free to ask me to be your driving angel throughout Naples, its belly and its narcissus ego, equally suggesting to you sparkle days on the narrow streets looking for the immense, richer, cultural vertigos!

As food is so important into the city life, to visit the city is a matter of preparation of a tailor made recipe. You deserve the best ingredients plus some hints of the enchanting neighbours, depending on your tastes, your time and the way you like to spend your vacation.

Travelling with a perfect synchronization on what happens on the daily and business life of your destination is “not for all”.

For sure, you will not find it in a travel guide or by reading the smartest trip advisors if you are digging the underground scenes of Naples: the most enchanting, populated and controversial, porous city of the world.

Travelling is a mental state: you need to dedicate yourself by knowing exactly what to look for or its exact contrary – all you do not need!

You may have to be on spot even if you do not have so much time in advance to design your visit in Naples. It is not only a matter to discard the common places, to avoid the beaten tracks, to do not see a fake and dusty postcard of the city. It is expertise!

Naples is offering many diverse options to get easily in love with her. Much more than other cities, it is depending very much from the seasonal bouquet: it is worth to get advice on when and why going in some special week-ends or months and not in others. Unfortunately the web resources are quite often only in Italian and the international advertising is still not effective. It is a pity, with all the treasures we have!

Spring, especially March, is still a bit rainy but sun can spin gorgeously on your bones letting you forget completely the foggy days you’ve encountered since then.

April, the Easter month, is full of incredible religious and pagan-wise appointments that are the Mecca of the international anthropologist from all over the world, as the Holy Thursday procession in Procida Island and hundreds of less famous ones.

On summer time the city is spreading out its borders, toward north and toward the famous islands of Capri, Procida and Ischia. Festivals and any kind of indie music are often taking place on the sandy beach sides, 30 km out of the centre (Baia, Bacoli, Pozzuoli and other cities).

City centre still offers something, indeed. On May there is Maggio dei Monumenti tourist facility: extra openings of churches and other historical buildings normally closed ‘cause the lacking of guards. In this and other months of the year, it is worth to buy ARTECARD, a multiple entrances ticket to museums and temporary show, including also transport tickets and many discounts on side events.
On June, since three years, there is an International theatre festival (Napoli Teatro Festival Italia) taking place either in modern and ancient theatres and in unconventional places as roofs, catacombs, Greek water basins, plus many off-circuit exhibitions and performances. You have to be patient while booking a place because organization is not as fair as the quality of the spectacles! But if you succeed, believe me, you will never forget the venues and the dramas.

On July and August, the weather can also pass 40° with 65% humidity, but the months are full of concerts and are ideal for sea and sun baths hiring a gozzo-boat in the inner city marinas (as Santa Lucia, Molosiglio, Mergellina, Marechiaro, Posillipo) or in the islands. With gozzo-boat you can enjoy the fish-food tasting in very hidden coast restaurants avoiding traffic!

September is the month of traditional public feasts in the little villages around the city or in the islands, as in Anacapri (Settembrata) or in Procida (for San Michele date), where Enrico Ghezzi, the most famous Italian TV critic and author of cult program BLOB, organizes a gorgeous underground cinema festival (Il Vento del Cinema). Procida is my favourite of the Naples islands, all over the year and is just half an hour of ferryboat from the city centre.

Yes, in the Naples sea-side homonymous former fishermen district, there is also Piedigrotta: the present, horrible remake of a beautiful, charming, ancient popular carnival parade and firework party of the ‘700 Century (happening each September).
I will suggest you to do not visit Piedigrotta district during Piedigrotta parade: you will be stuck in a messy, mass-market and kitschy program. Not underground at all!

Naples is an hilly city. The bottom, the flat part (i.e, the old city centre into the perimeter of the Greek and Roman city), guests one of the largest and most significant open-air museums of the globe. Then, a wide range of modern and contemporary art museums (the largest in Italy) offers – in the same area – a really strong diversification of visits. To be really keen of what means the very long history of Naples, do not forget that a week-end is really a tight schedule!

If you are crazy about archaeology, Naples and its surroundings are your paradise: not only the inner city two access points plus Pompei and Ercolano, but also Baia, Cuma, Capri, Torre Annunziata, Castellammare di Stabia are all exceptional!

If you like also cocooning and you have finished to visit the big Baia archaeological city, do not miss, few steps aside the ruins, to jump at the Terme Stufe di Nerone, a very old thermal spring used since the Roman Empire.
You may find a local to enter, because there is a basic subscription including 10 entrances to be purchased in advance: too many if you do not plan a 10 days vacation with one thermal bath per day!

Winter time in Naples means visual arts in full bloom, because the network of galleries, foundations and museums offer an heavy calendar of events, performance and exhibitions (indeed, from September to June).

Take a look at the photographic research of Alessandro Cimmino, architect and photographer who is often exhibited with unusual views of the city fabric. Or look for the events lead by N.EST www.napoliest.it, a think-thank and database founded by Danilo Capasso and dedicated to urban regeneration of East and former industrial part of the city. If you are an artist and want to join N.EST and be the 61st to exhibit on its database, there is a call for entries on the website and you can book a visit with its director Danilo, who is fully English speaking, for a photo reportage on the old, abandoned factories of the area.

While visiting East Naples, do not miss the urban collages by the talented Neapolitan painter Marco Zezza at Via Galileo Ferraris, on the doors of the old Pirelli warehouse!
If you are a flaneur art lover, check the events at Museo Fondazione Nitsch, founded by Peppe Morra and Raffaella Morra.
Beside to be the first world (private) museum dedicated to the Vienna-Action artist Hermann Nitsch, it offers a big variety of side events, as the International Expanded Cinema Festival “Independent Film Show”, usually happening on mid October or mid November. If you visit the Nitsch Museum you will often encounter the performances of Roberto Paci Dalò, one of the most prominent Italian visual artist and directors who, among other hundreds of artists, has chosen Naples as his elective city. Yes, Naples, definitely is the place for arts and creativity of any taste.

Still thirsty of contemporary art? Take a look at the stunning old building hosting Fondazione Morra Greco, lead by Maurizio, a dentist who is one of the most important collectors of the city and the country. It is few step from MADRE Museum, in the old centre.
Do you like to discover an entire district where usually galleries open the same day as Berlin? Visit Chiaia, one of the most crowded of galleries: check what is going at Galleria Fonti, where Piero Golia, one of the cutest Neapolitan artists actually living in LA, is often showing his last, crazy movies or sculptures.