Campania—Napoli & Pompeii

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all the powerful and vibrant experiences all the time…

Yes, we at the pizza—and yes, it was that good. And yes, we took photos of the pizza, but you won’t find any of them here. Truth is, every flavor we experienced in Campania was as strong and vibrant as the incredible food. That said, I’d say not all the flavors we experienced were particularly appetizing, but strong and vibrant—absolutely!

Since I posted the photos of Napoli first I’ll start there. Napoli might be the most unique city I’ve ever visited. Everything about it is in your face. Everything is moving fast all the time. And if you stop on the street for any amount of time you’re going to be in someone’s way … and they’re going to let you know about it. Not it a mean way, just in a matter-of-fact GTF out of my way hand gesture, yell, or horn beep. I’ve never seen scooters ridden the way I’ve seen them ridden in Napoli. They make scooter riders in Roma look tame. Pitch dark, 70 KMH down wet, slippery cobble stone streets blowing blind intersections without much more than a beep on the horn for warning. Cars parked on on the sidewalks so there’s nowhere to walk but in the narrow streets—you get the idea. In our exploration of the city we found very few places to step back and take things in. That’s tough because there is just so damn much to look at. The city screams at you from every direction. I underestimated what it would be like until we flew over it on the way in. Once I saw the scale and density of the place I knew we were in for an experience. My Italian is nowhere near where it should be after living in Italy for almost a year, but I was grateful for the language skills I did have—and even more grateful for Amanda’s superior skills—we worked well as a team to communicate and make our way around the city. Napoli is full of vibrant colors, personalities, street art, etc…but there’s also a lot of darkness that can be felt there. Even the stones the roads and many of the building are made of are dark in color—I suspect this is because of the volcanic activity in the area, but I’d need to confirm that. There was a strong Memento Mori vibe and we got the feeling that people were ok with living fast and dangerously. It was both attractive and exhausting at the same time—like a candle burning at both ends.

Not surprisingly, those strong vibes carried over into Pompeii ruins. This was an absolutely incredible experience that far surpassed both mine and Amanda’s expectations. We took a 45-minute Circumvesuviana train from Napoli to the site of the ruins—this was efficient, but super crowded. The scale of the city and how well it was preserved was unbelievable. So much so, that I found it very easy to imagine having lived there…and while it’s not the same at all I think the ongoing global pandemic made what happened there feel somehow more plausible and real. The last image in the photo layout is a view of Pompeii with Vesuvius (Vesuvio) looming in the background. It’s so easy to imagine a thriving city, especially after having just come from Napoli, where the specter of Vesuvio is always there on the horizon. Amanda and I were hypothesizing maybe that’s where the live fast and dangerously vibes we felt were coming from? Or maybe it was just Vesuvio projecting that on to us? Either way, the trip was a shocking contrast to our day to day here in the coutryside north of Venice, although we more or less have our own man-made Vesuvio here with the NATO airbase nearby. Bring out the Memento Mori, people.

I was hoping to post these earlier, but I’m glad I finally got the opportunity to process the photos and reflect a bit on our experiences in Campania. I hope we get to go back soon—there is so much more we want to explore. That’s all for now—Ciao.

📸 + 🚶‍♂️ + 🌈