The sad side of Rione Sanità

While I was in Rione Sanità a few days ago, I took this photo, which was on a wall beside a shop that sold offal, including tripe (trippa). The fellow pictured is Totò, a famous actor and poet who was born in this district of Naples. I didn’t think I’d be using the image, it just took my fancy.


Then, when I was reading some stuff online about this area, I came across this article (translated by Google) and photo from a newspaper, dated only a couple of years ago.

“Six gunshots exploded during the night in the Sanità district of Naples against two commercial businesses. One of the two owners adheres to an anti-racket association. The report of the incident was presented this morning to the police. Three bullets are stuck in the wall next to the gate of a butcher’s shop in Via Sanità. Three more in the gate of an underwear shop.The “spread” takes place just a few days after the first cameras have started up in the Sanità district, which has long been the scene of a fight between Camorra clans.”

The marks in the wall show where the gun slugs were embedded. I made a point of going back to see if they were still visible, but the wall has been re-plastered.

The same day that I had taken the photo of Totò, I saw this little statue, and went over for a closer look. It turned out to be another fairly recent reminder that there is a dark side to life in some parts of Italy. On 15 September 2015, 17 year old Genny Cesarano was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and was killed by a stray bullet  in cross fire between 2 rival gangs vying for territorial control, the “stretch” mentioned in the newspaper article. Four men were found guilty of his murder and all received life imprisonment sentences.



I haven’t been back to this district again.


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40 responses to “The sad side of Rione Sanità

  1. gc

    A very informative article. Crime these days is insidious. There no longer small towns free from its clutches. When I was a reporter the idea of small town immunity from such violence was shattered every weekend when black cadillacs from Michigan crossed the border into Canada and brought their drugs to town. Everyone , including the local cops knew this but turned a bkind eye.

    I think that capital punishment ( aka the death sentence) should be imposed in countries thar are being harassed and terrorized by this kind of violence. Life imprisonment usually means out in a number of years for good behavior.

    How bad can prison life be when your fellow inmates are there for the same reason. There might be poetic justice in the fact that getting “shanked” by one of your fellow inmates is a rudimentary form of population control.


  2. Cripes! I bet that story doesn’t appear in travel brochures!

    Most of Sydney’s drive by shootings happen in the south western suburbs, far far away from the harbour icons.

    There are two notorious crime families who routinely shoot and kill each other’s drug kingpins. Sadly, another innocent young bystander was killed this week. He happened to drive the same colour and make of car as the target.

    The police seemed pretty laissez-faire about a civilian casualty. “Wrong place, wrong time” said the fat detective.


  3. Che peccato! Unfortunately stray bullets can happen anywhere. Napoli is actually a very safe city compared to most large US cities. I do like the Toto’ image! Ciao, Cristina

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, Yvonne, all that is sad to read about. You have to be careful when you are traveling, this I know. I always try to be positive and look at the bright side, but it’s hard, especially in certain places. The mafia has long been in such incredible places such as Naples…you can only imagine what it would be like if that wasn’t true. I so admire people who try to change things. We have cities like that here in the US as I am sure most countries do. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We are beginning to know about this in London more than ever before

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a beautiful and poignant statue of that boy. What do the letters say. It doesn’t look as though there are enough to say ‘assassinato’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Let’s see how I go, there are reflexive verbs in there … and I don’t know what ludere means

      … keep training without stopping, because only those who play can win (Genny was an avid soccer player)

      It’s dedicated to all the young people of Naples, the hope for the future.

      You’re right, no mention of assassination, just ” victim of absurd violence”.

      It ends with Genny now plays with the angels.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Sad stories today, Yvonne and an unpleasant reminder of reality.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. This is sad. Those bullet holes with letters next to them!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Well that’s Italy for you.
    Must admit I like and prefer Italian cooking, but that’s all

    Liked by 1 person

  10. When in Sicily a few years back there was evidence of the Mafia at work. So distressing that this violence continues.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And, it’s still seething away here in Naples. The residents and shop owners in another area I like going to, for fresh produce and a very excellent trattoria, just had a meeting to demonstrate solidarity against organised crime last week.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow! Sounds like a Hollywood movie.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. gang violence, with its innocent bystanders, is sadly a global epidemic…
    do be careful Yvonne…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. maristravels

    Yes, it’s such a shame when things like this put you off an area, a town or a city. One must be very careful in Naples, and Palermo (my favourite city) but having said that, even being careful you can still fall foul of the ‘stray bullet’ or taking a wrong turning into a disreputable area.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s absolutely so, Mari. There is a lot of poverty in this city, but the spirit of the people is so alive. I have had help from so many of them, they were all just nice human beings. I hope I can be like them, if the need arises.


  14. My area is fairly peaceful also but go a few blocks in the wrong direction and we have gangs also and poor children getting caught in the crossfire…or in the most recent case a woman in her sixties sleeping in her bedroom.
    Yes, Yvonne you live in a very quiet area but then if you watch Dr. Blake you know that even the quietest, sleepiest towns (I guess Balarat has changed since the 50’s) has it’s crime.
    I think those articles would keep me away from that area too. You might want to join our friends on their island.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. South Italia is a poor area and Mafia makes law . This a sad stoy that you relate but this is the reality .
    Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Susie L

    That is a very sad story. I hope that Genny is indeed playing with the Angels.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. sounds like some neighborhoods in Chicago…

    Liked by 1 person

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