At first, all I could see were buildings.
And a stemma or two.
And, lots of running sweaty people.
Who didn’t look all that happy.
Then more buildings, with lovely decorative touches.
“In vitium ducit” Latin scholars, do your stuff.
And, the tail end of those sweaty running, now shuffling, people.
Aha! Then, I saw some old stuff.
And more, that looked rather familiar.
Today marked the running of the Roma marathon. There were several thousand sweaty participants (it was warm), and a cheer squad of at least one hundred for each runner. It was crowded in Rome, and the public transport was a tad dislocated. I have never walked so much since I was a youngster (10 years ago).
Tomorrow, the heavy rain is forecast. My feet said “Thank goodness.”
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.
If you’ve read any tourist information about Naples, chances are you’ve seen images and/or information about this Chapel.
The main attraction, and rightly so, is the sculpture il Cristo Velato (the Veiled Christ). Since taking photographs is strictly forbidden, any images I show you have been sourced online.
Read more about this statue here: museosansevero.it/en/the-veiled-christ/the-statue
However, the sculpture that took my attention, and caused me to return today, for an even closer look, is Disinganno (Disillusion).
When you look closely at the net on this figure, you wonder how human hands could possibly create the mesh out of marble.
Do yourself a favour. If you read nothing else today, have a look at this short explanation of the meaning behind the sculpture, and the painstaking work it took its artist to complete. Disillusion
One of the things that helped to convert the negativity surrounding this district, was an active pursuit and use of street art.
This huge work is on a building in the Piazza Sanità. It represents the faces of children as the hope of the future.
On the side of a church is “RESIS-TI-AMO” (a mix of “resistance” and “I love you”). The work was inspired by a true story and describes a Neapolitan couple who overcame a terrible illness with care and love.
And here, with yet another automotive victim of Napoli’s traffic, is a cheery example of what you can do with some brightly coloured paint.
These were lined up at a bus stop, and had been in use until the bus in the background arrived. Later in the day, I’d have given a lot to have one of those chairs to rest on.
Articles I had read about this district in Naples were divided in their opinions. One camp said “Don’t go there, it’s dangerous, it’s dirty, it’s the home of the Camorra”. The other side said “Things have changed in this district, the residents have used their pride to reclaim their territory.”
I wanted to see it for myself, and the morning was warm and sunny, so after a fair bit of my eccentric navigation, I found the Rione Sanità.
It was throbbing with people on a sunny morning, looking for the best of the fresh produce on offer.
There were folks gathered just for a chiacchierare (chat). At least one took it all lying down!
There was plenty of fresh washing hung out to dry in the spring sunshine.
And, evidence of another failure at Giovanni’s School of Driving and Hair Removal.
I’ll bring you more about this particular district in Naples. I’ve fallen quite in love with it, to be honest.
Jane I keep forgetting to post a stemma, to feed your obsession. Here you go, one from Sanità.