Way down in Pozzuoli, Campania Italy

Sunday, 17 April 2011 01:46
Written by Gemma

It is quite fresh here in Campagnia still and I thought spring would have arrived by now.  Settled now and working from my lovely apartment that I had last time when visiting this region, right on the beach at Pozzuoli on the gulf of Napoli. I can see the isle of Capri out my window now as I write and there is a bright red geranium on the balcony that would make a lovely typical italian postcard. Red geranium, light blue sea then the darker blue of Capri rising up from the sea - beautiful!!.

There are all these little blue and white wooden boats parked outside on the water and I love watching what the men get up to down there. There is a tiny little shed where they play cards at night and they just love spending time or should I call it - just "being" in their little boats doing nothing but puttering around.

The islands of Procida and Ischia are also on the right. If you get a chance – watch the film – ‘Il Postino” one of my top ten films. It is filmed on the island of Procida – one of my favorite places in Italy. I also really love Anacapri the little village on Capri where Graham Greene had a house. He used to go to "Ristorante Gemma to eat in Capri owned of course by a woman called Gemma.

It is glorious here on a sunny day and also in all weather as I spent the Italian winter here a year ago – the children came too – a lovely place to work from with divine strawberries that taste like the ones that our parents grew and mozzarella di buffalo that you have to have when in Italy though it is made down here with the buffalos in the fields behind Pozzuoli.  I can go off to the Amalfi coast for the day from here to check out the hotels– catch a ferry across the bay and around the corner and there is the breathtaking Amalfi Coast. No matter how many times I see it, the views still surprise me and make me feel so serene– a delightful place to work from! I never want to go home from here except to see my children, family and friends of course.  I grieve when I leave, for the macchiato expresso that I drink here every day. Coffee in Napoli is the best in Italy!!

Having my first macchiato in Campania yesterday was simply ecstasy!! The Italian people are so warm and friendly here – it is like a country town village but on the beach.I bumped my head today in this tiny little grocery shop that was filled to the brim with goods in every spare spot. All the people in the shop gathered around me to observe the damage on my forehead and told the shopkeeper to put some water on it. "I am ok - non preoccupare - don't worry!". I am not used to so much attention... Back home once, I slipped over at the shopping center when nine months pregnant and no one came to help me up so I had to lay there like a beached whale until the shock wore off and daintily try to get up while in pain (yeh right!!...) and act as if nothing had happened!!

Pozzuoli is very old. St. Paul stopped here at Pozzuoli on his travels and "Pliny the Younger" wrote about seeing Vesuvious explode over Pompei, from a boat on the water just right outside my front door. He lived to write about it but his father "Pliny the Elder", died here on the beach. There is so much archaeology here. It is such a shame that the government here does not seem to be interested in promoting tourism when they have a gold mine on their doorstep. It is a magnificent natural setting but unfortunately due to lack of government basic services, tourism is not possible.

There is much unemployment and poverty here as they have lost many industries with nothing to replace them.  The exterior facades of most buildings are in dire need of restoration and the roads are full of potholes. There is also the refuse problem. What does the city council actually do in this area? For the local people who pay the same government taxes as other regions it is a crime that their basic needs are not being met. The people here need to stage a revolution!!

The good heartedness of the people make up for the squalor however. The Napolitanni have an incredible dialect, and are in general, effusive, romantic, always singing and have a great sense of humour. They make me laugh continually.  I cannot understand a word if they speak in dialect as it is another language and they frown to concentrate when I ask for things at the shop as they find it difficult to understand my Italian accent- it is not sing-songy enough!! Napolitanni almost sing and shout when speaking. Maybe I should sing my shopping list to them and I might be understood. I might try that tomorrow...!!

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