Thursday, May 15, 2008

Grazie, Napoli!

It's been twenty years since I've been in Italy and in some ways it feels like I never left. That's why I chose this photo instead of any of the other 200 photos I have shot in the last two days. It somehow captures the timeless spirit of the place. Yes, it's been two days of exploring Naples and Caserta and Sorrento again. This time I am older and my Italian a bit rusty but still it is a joy to be visiting this lovely region with it's sunshine and views of the bay of Naples and the gorgeous and bountiful landscapes with roaming animals and abundant produce. Most of all it is a joy to be experiencing the passion of the residents of Campania again. Twenty years ago after feeling like a second class citizen in Florence I was overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers I experienced in both Naples and Sorrento and the same is true this time around.

I have eaten paccheri pasta and fresh mozzarella and sfogliatelle pastries more times than I can count and enjoyed it all. A lot. I have seen a bit of opera, climbed Mount Vesuvius and talked to a professor about the significance of pizza in Naples. Dottore Mattozzi also told me about his family's pizzeria about the two systems of credentials bestowed in regards to pizza and his experiences as a child during the war. He shared the thrill of eating canned corned beef and candy American soldiers brought to him and his starving family as if it were yesterday. All the while we dined on the most exquisite fried and ricotta stuffed zucchini blossoms I have ever eaten. I have so many stories to tell. I promise to get to more of them in time.