Things I remember from the first time I visited Naples: it was mercilessly hot. Our hotel room was tiny, brown, and stifling, and the toilet paper was, well, awful. I couldn't sleep because, out on the streets, they were playing music very loudly, especially, over and over, "Delilah" by Tom Jones: it was the summer when that was a huge and ubiquitous hit, even in Italy.
More recent impressions of Naples have concerned the Camorra, described by Roberto Saviano in his best-selling, terrifying book, Gomorra. The garbage strike, millions of Euros spent putting that trash on trains and chuffing it up to Hamburg, where they could actually dispose of it. The overarching corruption. Etc.
I had the opportunity to update my impressions of this old harbor city when Damiano and I went down there for the Premio Napoli, an annual literary prize that celebrates Italian and foreign writers, and that is doing a great job of causing people to reevaluate what they think about Naples.
The Italian winners this year were Alessandro Leogrande, Luigi Trucillo, and Franco Arminio, while the foreign winners were Avraham Burg, Robert Harrison, and Charles Simic.