The outward appearance of the city of Naples is not welcoming. Trash is everywhere, piled high on the sidewalks and street corners even of fashionable districts, such as Santa Lucia. (Supposedly the result of a labor and environmental dispute, the garbage crisis is really the work of the Camorra, the Neapolitan mob.) Seemingly abandoned digs and construction projects dot the landscape. Stray dogs rule the town. Rusted junk lines all the larger roads. There seems to be no surface within reach of a human arm free of graffiti. Even the ancient buildings in nearby Herculaneum—preserved miraculously intact by Vesuvius ash in ad 79—are covered with “scratchiti,” the form of defacement invented by New York City punks when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority learned how to defeat the spray can.
Read the rest of Michael Anton's City Journal love letter to Naples.