September 14, 2011

Naples, Italy. May, 1988

The first time I visited Naples, I’d arrived on an overnight train from Zurich where a Swiss friend had warned me not to wear my watch or carry my camera on the streets. That drivers didn’t obey traffic lights. That the city was going to be a shock after the precise and disciplined behavior in Switzerland. He was right, and I loved it. Crossing six lanes of traffic that paid no attention to red lights became somewhat of a game. There was a happy chaos in the markets, on the streets. People smiled and enjoyed life. I came upon a street fair, also chaotic, and bought a porchetta sandwich on which I promptly chipped a tooth. Oh, well. Years later, when Nick and I arrived there for his Great Italian Desserts research, we sought out a pastry shop that made sanguinaccio, a pudding whose principal ingredient was pig’s blood. We misread the map and wound up on a backstreet in Spaccanapoli, a very poor section that was as fascinating as it was intimidating (alleyways of cavelike homes open to the street with only dining tables and huge TV sets.) And, after a great lunch, we found a (relatively) quiet square where one napolitano had kindly scrawled this omaggio in advance of my return.


  1. i love this picture! a lot of gritty texture to it no?

  2. also i once chipped my tooth on a gum-ball so...i feel your pain on that one.