Monday, October 1, 2012


Yesterday I visited Lisa Norall at home. She and her husband, a recently retired fireman, live with their son (the handsome Francesco of the scooter) in a neighborhood called Posillipo, which is about four miles north of central Naples. To get there, you take the 140 bus, which climbs up a ridge overlooking the Mediterranean, and then walk up a staircase alley.

The approach to their neighborhood, like everything I've seen so far in Naples, is both beautiful and seedy. I will lapse into poetical language if I try to explain. You just have to come here if you like it seedy and beautiful. There is nothing, nothing, nothing precious about this place. Over a fireman's lunch, we talked about the challenges of living in Naples--scooter accidents, home invasions after which all your jewelry is returned because your mechanic knows the guy who jimmied open your patio door, the bracing experience of stumbling upon a man with his gun in another man's mouth. I got the feeling none of them would trade it for anything.

There's a park up top, with unreproducible views of the Amalfi Coast and Capri and Ischia. This is a juvenile prison, where the inmates rehabilitate injured sea turtles:

And over the other side of the ridge, the ruins of a giant steelworks, which Lisa says they are thinking of making into an industrial heritage site--maybe something like what's going on in Bethlehem, PA.

 My bus got a flat tire on the way down the hill, but the driver kept going. Here's my attempt at capturing the twinkling lights of greater Naples as we juddered along the cobblestones. Even in the washed-out blur, Vesuvius looms.


  1. Posillipo "may well also have been the residence of Virgil, the Roman poet of, most famously, the 'Aeneid.'"

  2. all prisons should also rehabilitate turtles