Naples is Rubbish!

24 October 2010

My holiday started late Thursday night. I flew to Rome to spend a long weekend with a friend who us travelling selected bits of Europe. The plan was that the following morning we would catch a train to Naples, then Sunday head to the Amalfi coast: Sorrento and Capri.

I’m not sure I would consider the last couple of days before we came to Sorrento a ‘holiday’ (with the exception of a day trip Pompeii). Naples has to be one of the most stressful cities I have ever spent time (and I’ve been to some cities that may be considered disorganized, such as Bogotá).

Naples is a city where there are no rules. Traffic, especially, drives everywhere, there are very few sidewalks/pavements for pedestrians to use, and those that exist are generally blocked by parked cars. Crossing the street felt like taking my life in my hands. In fact the whole city felt somewhat like Lord of the Flies but with children replaced by Napolites.

And the city, at least during my visit, was somewhat smelly. Piles of rubbish blocked roads, rotting and stinking and attracting the numerous rats that were scurrying in front of me in the street at night (although not even that stopped the prostitutes plying their trade in amongst the crazy traffic of Corso Umberto I… or the kerb crawlers who though my friend and I were plying our trade too!).

Riots have been taking place in Napoli and a nearby town at the foot of Mount Versuvius where a rubbish tip is being blockaded by locals, recalling recent and arguably more severe rubbish strikes. And as a result the rubbish is again clogging the city. News reports are suggesting more than 3,000 tonnes of rubbish are clogging the streets of Naples. A nun I saw was just throwing her litter at the pile, bags of food, commercial and household litter are growing, locals throwing rubbish from windows to add to the piles.

After all the smells, chaos and traffic dodging I was glad to get on a train this morning and head to a more serene couple of days in Sorrento.

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