Friday, October 25, 2013


This city talks - constantly, rapidly, urgently. But considering all the bustle -  plus horrendous traffic due greatly to very long term road and subway construction projects - I'd wager that "anxiety" isn't much of a disease in these parts. This is Southern Italy, after all, where self-expression is the norm. Where letting it all out in voice and gesture is both therapy and entertainment. It was surprising on a single day's visit recently (October 2013) the paucity of honks, given chaotic driving and parking styles; how laid-back (relatively) were the taxi drivers, two of them relishing the chance to tell about their  trips to America  - one on a honeymoon that took him to New York and Key West - and then pointing with pride to parts of Naples where they grew up and where they still live.  Families. Groundedness. Government is a joke but who cares if your kids are cute and the trains run (mostly on time). "Two million inhabitants and six million cars, " said one driver, laughing. He didn't even mention multiple-million motorcycles. It's a fair guess to say that the best escapes are underground. An immense subterranean landscape exists, maybe more tunneling than anywhere outside of wartime Vietnam, available for tourists to admire. The still-evolving subway is a marvel, limited as it is - being only two lines, one of which runs for the moment on a single track. The vast corridors of brilliant blue tiles are a delight, mirroring the expansive Mediterranean seacoast outside. Like much else in Italy, style often substitutes for substance - a country's vast potential draining away in dramatics.