Tis Returns to Italy! Day 84: Random Moments in Naples
Day 84 was full of random moments in Naples!
Today was my last full day in Naples. Not wanting to plan anything, I headed out to just see where the day took me. During the day I had some of my favorite random moments in a city that now rivaled my beloved Genoa for my affections.
1–Conducting the Orchestra at Pignasecca Market
While I was wandering around the lively Pignasecca Market, I stopped in a caffè for a cappuccino. I sat facing the street at a table on the crowded sidewalk outside amidst all the colorful chaos. The shoppers were haggling with vendors in the stalls that spilled into the street. This crowded the Vespas which whizzed by, inches from my knees. People rushed past on the little bit of the sidewalk that was left behind me, running their errands.
As I sat in the middle of all the activity swirling around me, I felt like the conductor of an orchestra. While this part of the city is densely packed and always busy it somehow works seamlessly. I imagined picking up my baton and setting the pace for all the elements of this Naples Symphony. I regretted not finding this spot earlier in my trip. I would have come here every morning to enjoy this unique part of the city!
2–Local Deliveries, Neapolitan Style
While walking around Naples this week, I noticed buckets hanging from balconies. Today as I was wandering, I noticed one being lowered to the street below. Soon, a little mini-truck pulled up, and a woman jumped out and looked in the bucket. She yelled to the old woman standing on the balcony above that she had not put in enough money. She emphasized that if the old lady wanted the vegetables, she had to put more money in the bucket.
As I watched, I was incredibly grateful that I knew Italian as this exchange was incredibly entertaining. It was a bit of a standoff and seemed to be a regular dance these two do. As the vegetable vendor stood, rolling her eyes and waiting, the old woman finally put the correct amount of money in the bucket. After collecting the correct payment, the vendor put the vegetables in the bucket, jumped in her mini-truck, and sped off to the next customer.
3–Late Night Danger in the Spanish Quarter
Tonight, I was sitting out on my balcony enjoying one last evening with this unique view of the Spanish Quarter. After most of the neighborhood was fast asleep, I noticed a man walking down the street. The man stopped on the street below, right underneath my balcony. He seemed to be waiting for someone. After a very safe week in Naples, was this finally where I would witness the dangerous activity so many had warned me about when planning my trip?
I watched in silence from my first-floor perch just above the man. After standing quietly for a while, he stepped up to a shrine tucked into the side of an apartment building. He bowed his head, made the sign of the cross, and walked away. Instead of a little late-night criminal activity, he just came here to pray.
How to Visit “Dangerous” Places, Safely
Not to downplay the possibility of running into danger in a city like Naples, but my week here was probably my favorite of the three months. While most cities have at least some problems with crime, I believe you just need to be sensible when traveling.
More importantly, I find that if you follow my one, firm rule when traveling, which is “Don’t be an asshole”, things usually go just fine. You must keep in mind that you are a visitor to the places you travel. The residents don’t owe you anything. However, if you approach them with respect for their ways and an interest in learning about their lives, they will welcome you in and show you their best side.