Tiburtina Station RedesignAfter a layover in Rome's newly re-imagined Tiburtina--and what times these Romans have ahead of them! Finally, a station worthy of its approach!--my wife and I boarded the new train line, Italo Treno, for Naples. Since the service just launched this Summer, they're offering 20 euro fares to all the major cities they visit (adding Venice and Turin soon). Though my seat faced backwards, which meant I was curled up in the aisle facing front (motion sickness, see?), how nice it was to find oneself on a clean and modern train, to have waited for it in an air-conditioned lounge with free wi-fi before boarding, to have booked tickets from a beautiful, simple website, and to have been aided by an army of young, smartly-dressed attendants.
It's only a little disconcerting how much I look like the people here. Features which one took to be his own turn out all along to have been regional markers: the slightly recessed mouth, downturned eyes, Roman nose (obviously), hairstyle (such as it is), and even particular shade of eye-color were apparently motivated by--the food from this earth? These winds?--this stock and ground.
After finding our hotel (scary from the outside, plesant within) we headed we headed into the last golden splash of daylight for a semblance of a stroll, but really we were so hungry it was more of a hunt. Good thing then that I accidentally took us to the best strip of pizzerias around. Amber read a sign out loud "dal 1923" which I remembered from some local blog I'd seen as the identifier of her favorite pizzeria. We rolled and won on a Pizza Lasagna which was terrific, and afterward had the best gelato really, probably of my whole life.
Naples feels dangerous at every turn, like the end of the world, or the beginning, or a ruin mid-definition. It throbs with life and excitment though, and I wonder if sometimes the locals don't prefer to keep the trash in the street just to stay the tourist horde from overtaking, as they surely would, in this Rome-on-the-Sea-but-20 Degrees-Cooler-and-with-Better-Food.
I can't help but love it here, even while I can't help but think that someone with a power-washer and a pot of flowers could be Mayor, raising the city to it's quattrocento glory simply by tidying up.