Inside Italy’s Craziest City - Naples

Inside Italy’s Craziest City - Naples

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PETER: Good afternoon, guys. Here, we have beautiful Naples, Italy. Downtown right there, Mount Vesuvius, ancient city of Pompeii.

One of the most fascinating places in Europe and the world. Some of the best food. Today we have the great privilege to meet up with a local who knows the ins and outs of Naples. Knows what goes on beneath the noise on the streets So we're gonna meet up with him and get a better understanding of this super fascinating city. Let's do this. ♪ upbeat jazz ♪ PETER: We have to talk to the old mamas.

GAETANO: They don't speak Italian. They speak only Neapolitan dialect so... -Okay, is that totally different than Italian? -Totally. -And this, you were telling me off-camera, Naples, I should have known this but it's older than Rome. -Yeah, founded by Greeks. They came from the other side of the sea and started this weird situation we call Napoli. [giggles]

-So you call Napoli a weird situation? -[giggling] Yeah, totally. -It's full chaos but it works, right? -Yeah, totally like that. PETER: Wow, look at this, absolutely beautiful. I first came here 20 years ago.

-20 years ago? -Yeah. There were no tourists. -No. -Pretty much no tourists and everyone thought is was the most dangerous place.

-Yeah. -And I think it had cleaned up a lot by that time. Maybe in the '90s it was super dangerous. -In the '90s, absolutely. -How about right now? -Now it's much more safe.

You can see because there's always a lot of people in the streets. Just there are so many rich persons and so many poor persons -There's not much in the middle here? -Okay, yeah, right. Not much in the middle. [giggles] PETER: And so why... We're gonna get into some food but why do you guys do food, it seems like so much better than most parts of Italy? Coming from Rome, for example, pizza.

There's no comparison in my mind. -No, no, they don't know how. -It's only two hours away. -Yeah, but it's like a different nation. Italy is really a bunch of different nations together. Little different nations together.

-When did it unify, like 1850? -In 1860... '61. -1860, okay. -And then Rome came 10 years after. -But the mentality stayed of, "We're from Naples, this is sort of our nation."

"We're from Rome, this is sort of our nation." -Yeah, yeah, always like that. -And everyone in the South doesn't like Milano? [both laughing] -Yeah. -That's universal, right? -Yeah, everybody hates Milano. -You know, I say that's what unify Italy.

The hate for Milano. [both laughing] -Gaetano, is this about as tight as the streets get here? Is this one of the tighter ones? -One of the tighter, yeah. -So it always stays dark on these bottom apartments? They're always dark, huh? -Yeah, always.

When you live in a house like that, you're always watching people in front of you from other houses. So privacy is big problem in this case. [both laughing] During the night… Ah, it’s always a problem. -They're like, "Gaetano has a new girlfriend." "Did you see her last night?". -Yeah, everybody knows that.

-Everybody knows everything? -Yeah. -Is crime low in places like this where everyone knows everybody? -Yeah, strong community is the reason you have low crime rates. -Okay, so you can't be Facebook tough here? And yell, and then leave? -No. [both laughing] -That person's gonna be right there. In these environments, are the apartments passed down family, to kids, to kids, to kids, so it's been for centuries? -Yeah, sure.

Here in Naples, when we are young we are living with our parents but when we are grown up, we continue to live with our parents. -Okay. -Not always, we go away. So we just live with these really big families all together. -Okay.

What's the average age, say a man, moves out of his family's apartment in Naples? -When he get married. So... [laughing] He must be lucky to find the right person. -Right, right. -That's the age.

-And then as he gets older maybe his chances go down? -Yeah. [laughs] -Are there any guys that are like 50 years old that live at home? -Yeah, sure, sure. -Really? -A lot. Lot of them, yeah. But they have life, they go to work.

-Yeah? -It's not like a stigma. -There's not a stigma? -No. -Okay, so it's accepted. -It's normal, just normal.

-What is this here, a religious shrine? -Yeah, we call it in Italian, edicola votiva. Just like when you go in church and you ask for a pleasure from God. -Forgiveness? -And help, forgiveness and help. There are saints and Mary of course.

-So people in the community come down here and pray? -Yeah. -So this is great, the mamas come out of the windows, speak with people on the streets. Do you think these people living here, if they had a lot of money, they'd want to live out of the center in a bigger apartment or no? -I think they are... Yeah, yeah, yeah, they have enough money. They work, so they have enough money outside but they are connected. So when you go away you have to say farewell to all your entire life.

-So people don't want to do that? -Don't want to do that, no. -It's your life? -It's your life. You have to maintain it like it is. -So literally living five kilometers from here is like living in another country almost? -Yeah. [chuckles] -Okay. This woman has her kitchen right here. So the apartments just come right out into the streets.

-Yeah. -You just walk across the street to the barber shop? You, not me. [Gaetano laughs] On these kind of long streets, this is one of the main streets on Naples You always have these palaces and they are huge. Then if it's open, [giggles] you can see through it.

-And then you have these courtyards. Can we walk in or is it a... -Yeah, sure, sure. -Okay.

Wow. -Really Spanish type of architecture. -And so it just quiets right down. -Yeah. -And then you have a church up there. -You can get water if you want.

-Oh, there's a well from the volcano? -No, from the mountains originally your family is from. -Yeah, hundred years ago they got on a boat and came here. They came at 18 years old, no English language at all.

-Poor? -Yeah, very poor. Boat across the Atlantic, get to New York, Ellis Island, and then my great-grandmother, who I never met, she never even spoke English in all the years living in the United States. Didn’t pick up, "Hello.”, I don’t think. [Gaetano giggling] We used to cook our Sunday sauce in the pot, in her pasta pot and my dad took such pride in it, right? All day stirring the sauce, you know, he thought he was so old-world and the sauce was terrible, man. It was really bad sauce, nothing like here. And then my mom, I just asked her about that pot actually recently because I'm like, "I want the pot."

It's like a very historical thing to have and she said, "Well, it's been leeching metal forever." You know, like putting off metal? [Gaetano chuckling] So I think that's why the sauce was bad. -Here the thing is the contrast between the two areas because here on the low side of Naples you have a rich street, so many rich shops but on the upper side, there are Spaniah quarters. One of the poorest district areas of Naples. -It looks good right here but as you go further it gets...

-Yeah, if you go there it's because... Mainly it's because you are looking for a drug dealer or for prostitutions. It's all mixed. -Okay. -Because there is the old mama outside her home and there is the drug dealer.

-Do they work together at all? The mama and the drug dealer? -Yeah, sometimes they work together. Sure, because if police is coming up the street... -Yep. -Maybe the old lady gives a signal, you know? And they are living together. It's a strange way to help each other if you look at it like that. -And here's another one of these doors, right? They're just all over the place. -Yeah.

-And so there's a whole another world right inside here? -Yeah -Do people have a hard time listening to Rome, like, the government? Of how to live, what to do? -We were an independent nation for so many centuries before the Italian unity. We were Neapolitan with our language, our traditions, our laws. -Yeah. -Yesterday, [giggles] we became Italians, so... -Right, on the grand scheme of things, like on the timeline, it was just like... just happened. -Just happened. -Okay.

-And this is a really old city. So it's like it's organized as an old idea of what we were and not what we are now. So I think it's normal that we sense this kind of distance from Rome. PETER: This is a very nice part of the city but it seems the city in general, seems very disorganized and chaotic but there is an order to it, right? -Yeah.

-It's like there's no way you could control it... -No. -...but there is a push and pull.

A cycle to everything here. -Right, yeah. -And it functions? -Yeah. You can try to entry this kind of order or self-organize order of life.

-Yeah. -But you can’t dominate it, you can’t control it, you can’t decide what kind of... What direction it must have. Just a matter of live with the others. -Is it fair to say there's a little Vesuvius in all of you? Like there's some explosiveness, right? There's passion, there's fire.

-Yeah, we literally live under a volcano. It's in our culture, in our songs, in our literature, and maybe in our food too, I think. -Oh yeah, for sure, 100%. -The tastes. So... ♪ busker playing guitar ♪ -Neapolitan, the language, do you speak that with your friends or how does that work? -It depends on if your family is well-educated or rich. -Okay. -That's the kind of story.

-The well-educated and rich speak Italian or Neapolitan? -No, Italian, Italian. -Okay, so that's like a higher-class thing? -Higher-class language. [chuckles] -Okay, okay.

-There are even luxury shops here. So... -Oh, wow. That is stunning. What is this called? Galleria... -Galleria? -...Umberto Primo. Which is the name of one of the Italian kings, the first Italian kings.

-Okay. And the nicest McDonalds in the world perhaps. [Gaetono laughs] So this wasn't taken out in World War II obviously.

-No. -No damage? Was there much damage to Napoli in World War Ii? -It was quite completely destroyed. -[Peter surprised] Completely? -Not completely but yeah. -So they just rebuilt a lot of these old structures? -Yeah. -Look at the mosaic.

-The money from the Marshall plan. [laughs] -From Marshall Plan, right, right. -From USA. -I mean United States just had a huge advantage at that time, right? Because we didn't get destroyed and Europe was rebuilding. We had a ton of kids, right? At that time, the Boomers they're called, right? -Yeah, sure. -And now we have the Millenials that come from the Boomers -Yeah.

-And Europe doesn't have that because you didn't have the Boomer generation. Not everyone was having kids after the war 'cause they're dealing with the aftermath of a war. -Yeah, sure, sure. -So it's interesting how demographics and birthrates are being impacted right now because of that. -That's the situation here.

I mean maybe Europe, but especially in Italy because we suffered so much for war. Margherita. -Margherita pizza? -Yeah, of course.

It was invented there. -This place? -Yeah. -Is it a tourist place or the locals go here? -Both tourists, because it's famous, for locals too. -They got the old oven. So that's it.

Just very simple ingredients. -Yeah, very simple. -In the wood-burning oven. PETER: Gratzie. GAETANO: And this is where Margherita was invented. [Italian] MAN: Margherita was born in 1889.

PETER: How long have you been here? -Me? -Yeah. -42 years. -Oh, wow. -My father before me, and my grandfather before him. -Has the Margherita changed at all? -No, no, it's the same. It's very important for us to use the traditional way to make the margherita.

-The tomatoes from the volcano? Not, not, not, not. That is from San Marzano zone. San Marzano is around Vesuvius but not Vesuvius. -Around. -It's just a little bigger.

Just a little bigger than the cherry tomatoes from (Vesuvius). PETER: And so how long does it go in here for? MAN: Between 60 and 90 second. PETER: That's it? MAN: Yes, that's it. PETER: Oh, yeah.

Grazie. PETER: Very simple, dough, cheese, basil, sauce. Little puff in there. -Puff. [Gaetano giggling] PETER: Okay, show me the proper style.

GAETANO: Let's see the way we eating pizza in the original way. You cut the pizza in four parts. You must do four triangles. Just like that, it's so simple.

Just separate into two parts. Then you... -Turn the plate? -Turn the plate. -If someone doesn't cut a pizza like this here, you'll know they're not from here? -Yeah, sure. That's the only way you can legitimate eat pizza.

[laughs] Just go like that. And you eat it. It's the Neapolitan original way of eating pizza. -You're not educated if you use a fork? -Yeah. You must use hands. -In Rome, they use a fork.

-In Rome they use a fork. -All right, so you do just one big cross-cut. -Cross-cut, yeah. -Do I look like a local doing this or no? -Yeah.

-My angles? My angle's okay? [Gaetano laughing] Okay. -Throw away your fork and your knife and use your hands. Perfect. -Mmm. -Perfect. There's another taste, it's really good. -That is fantastic. You like the brown, the burnt on the bottom, it's nice, yeah.

-Yeah, for sure. It's so important. [giggles] Gives taste to pizza. -See, there's so much competition in this city with pizza, Nobody does it wrong. Like everyone has good pizza, right? They're not gonna survive a day if they make it bad here.

Just like that, at least 20 or 30 restaurants where you can eat a perfect pizza. Everyone does it in a particular way. So you have 20 or 30 ways of doing pizza in a perfect way. That's the... the climax of a free market. -The magic. [laughs] -Mario, thank you. -Thank you, pleasure to meet you.

-No, our pleasure. So Mario's moving to Orlando, Florida. That's the goal? -I will leave in January and I will work at the Epcot Buon Appetito restaurant.

-So Italian restaurant at Epcot? Yeah, in Epcot of the the Disneyland. -Okay, we'll see you there. And I just want to complement you on your mustache.

It's one of the nicer ones I've ever seen in my life. -Thank you. -You're pulling it off. Mario, thank you, great place. Okay, so you were saying that's a classic story here in Napoli right now.

The young guys, 20 to 25 or whatever, leaving. -Yeah. -Okay. -You can’t find your future here. So that's the other... A classic story of Naples. [scooter passes] -So it's not a new story there because that's the story of my ancestors.

-It's literally the same thing, yeah. And it's dramatic because, "What kind of person remains here?". That's the problem. -You. [Gaetano laughs]

-Maybe me. -You're a good guy though yeah? You said you're not going, you're staying. -I don't know. -So how do you change that? You need more industry, more jobs, more economy? -Yeah, sure... A vision. -A vision, and there's no one providing that vision right now? -No, no, no, that's the problem. -Okay.

-And us, as a generation, we go away. We don't stay here and fight. So maybe that's a problem too. So much of the shops and restaurant you can see on the streets like that. Must pay money to Camorra. -Camorra, the mafia? -The mafia, the local mafia.

It's not always like that. Sometimes they are a sort of business men. You make money from drugs then you recycle them, investing...

-Okay, money laundering. -Money laundering, money laundering. -And the police don't have any control over it? -No, totally not. -Okay.

-They just can’t go through... [men cheering] There is only one religion in Naples and that is football. [both laughing] PETER: So during the pandemic, I have a hard time seeing people being locked down here. I don't think they take orders too well from authority and everyone's living on top of each other and I thought Naples would have gotten hammered with COVID because of that but it really happened in Lombardy, right? The worst of it? -If you look at the streets you can understand a police car can never get up there freely. It's all narrow streets so they can move.

So you can't really control the streets. You can close a community inside here and then don't let (them) move around and go outside. -Okay. -That was what happened... ...during the pandemic. -They were like... ...Really blocking off parts of the city? -Yeah. [laughs] GAETANO: Here was so much more calm, the situation. I thought it was like that because we are well-organized. [scooter speeds past and woman yelling] The lady wants you. -What's she saying?

-"Come here." [chuckles] Just... we'll see. [woman speaking Italian] [Italian] [Italian] You want to drink water? -Okay.

-Si, Grazie. (Yes, thank you.) -Grazie, grazie. [Italian] PETER: So you guys, you're not speaking Italian? This moment, no. [woman speaking] GAETANO: She is talking Neapolitan. She knows how to speak Italian too.

[Neapolitan] GAETANO: "Speak Italian" [child speaking Italian] PETER: How do they like living in the neighborhood? [Italian] GAETANO: "Do you like it here?" PETER: Yeah, yeah, yeah. [Italian] PETER: It's the water guy. GAETANO: She wants to go in USA. [woman speaking Italian] GAETANO: Florida. [Italian] PETER: Let me see the muscles, buddy. Let me see. GAETANO: Altar dedicated to Maradona.

PETER: An altar dedicated to Maradona? People celebrate this all the time? -Yeah. And Napoli just win a match, so... -Oh, there he is. How long ago was it that Maradona played? It's like 20 years ago or something? -Yeah, it was from 1984 to '93. -Do you have a passionate feeling towards Maradona? -Yeah. -You do? -Sure I do. -Everyone here does, huh?

-Everybody does. It's just a religious cult, Maradona. -It's beyond love? -He was so much representative of Neapolitan desires, common desires.

-How so? Like he spoke to the... He's from Argentina but he spoke to the people here? -Yeah, sure. -How so? -It's always this kind of behavior with Neapolitans… Uh... Say, "Now okay, I'm one of you."

"I'm like... In my country, I'm like you." -There's a Maradona fan in the making. [Gaetano speaking Italian] [laughing] PETER: What would you say Italians from outside of Napoli don't understand about you guys? Like what do they not know about you or understand? -A lot of prejudice. -Prejudice, yeah. -Because the media and the public discourse in Italy is a part of the country that doesn't work. -Yeah, okay. -And slow the other part of the country, the rich one.

-Okay. -So I think it's a political thing too. [scooter passing] The relations between us when we meet someone from the North that's not like that. This street and then the Spanish Quarters.

It's all together. It's a commission of things together. -And these guys selling all the knock-off brands purses and whatnot, what's their story? -They are organized in groups. -Okay. -They have deposit in the suburbs of Naples and they organize together themselves to sell this. I think quite often the things they sell is from what we call in Napoli, the system.

The name for a lot of mafia or Camorra. -Oh, okay. So the Camorra controls all of that stuff? -At the end of the day, yes. -Okay. -But it's... -It's complicated.

-It's complicated because it's like, "Okay, I give to you the things you have to sell..." -Okay. -If you go to someone else, somewhere else you have to pay consequences for that. -Paying consequences, they get physical with them? -Yeah, yeah, sure. -So those guys selling the purses and all the things on the streets, in a way, they're held hostage. They have to buy from the Camorra or they're gonna have problems.

-Yeah, sure... yeah, yeah. -And what other... But can't they just work at a store like this or no? -No. They're not legal. If you do things in illegal way then there is another state, the System, Camorra. An alternative Italian Republic. [giggles] -So you have two systems at play here.

Almost two governments operating in parallel. -Yeah. -Interesting. And then we have this. -And then we have this. [giggles] -And that's Naples for you. The most extreme of everything. You were saying things fall a lot from above.

-Yeah. -That's how you get things upstairs, huh? -Yeah, sure. -Just pull it up. -Sometimes things are going up, sometimes things are going down. -So you were saying this is one of the best bakeries in Naples. -Yeah, yeah one of the best. Sure, one of the best.

PETER: Beautiful. You're worried about living near this? -Yeah, because you can get fat in two seconds if you don't stay careful. [giggles] -But when you're a tourist you're not doing that.

Sort of chastity you have to maintain If you want to be thin. [giggles] -Oh my God. Just like tightly woven crust, right? What is this called? -Sfogliatella.

-Sfogliatella, yeah. Wow, what is this? -It's ababa. -Ababa? -Ababa. With chocolate inside. -Mmm. There's some alcohol in it, right? Brandy? Is that what it is, brandy? -Rum.

-Rum, yeah, okay, yeah. -Rum, rum. -Canoli? -Canolo. -With pistachio and Nutella. Pralinato.

Great texture. Beautiful. PETER: Ciao. WOMAN: Ciao. PETER: Oh, Marta. [woman laughing] Marta and I are going on a date.

Take Marta out for some pizza. [both giggling] [boys chattering] [Gaetano laughing] [both laughing] GAETANO: It sucks. PETER: The castle up there we were talking about. There's a neighborhood...

It's a neighborhood, castle is beautiful but the neighborhood is really rich. It's like being in Milano in the North of Italy. -So you must love it.

-[laughs] I think that sucks. -Feels totally different? -Feels totally different. [scooters speeding by] It was builded in the '60s. So it's all new at least for our standards. -Okay. People don't feel comfortable around all the cleanliness up there. -Not me, the walls are all clean, there are not signs and...

-Okay. What's at the end of this street? The building where the community which I'm part of. -Did you start this community? -Yeah, together with other people.

-So this is lower class, middle class? -This is lower and middle class. -Okay. So there is a little middle class in Napoli? -A little middle class. [scooter passing] [inaudible] -It's like being in an amusement park in a way. It's thrilling.

I love these little doors here. This little door... the one we are looking for. -Oh, yeah. This is your place? -Uh-huh.

-[Peter amazed] Wow. -It's not mine, it's ours. [laughs] -So who owns it? You all own it together? -It's public. But managed by the local community. -Okay.

So is it free housing? -Yeah. Now it's free housing only for people who are in need. -Oh, this is interesting, so you have a whole cafeteria and bar.

-It's all self-organized. -How many people live here? -60 persons. We are waiting for a restoration on the place and we won a project this year. We start in 2024. -What was this? -A jail. -A jail?

[both laughing] Really? -A jail for minors. -This is what Italian jail looks like? You're part of this? -I'm part of this. -You're helping its development… -Yeah. My role is making decisions during discussions, during meetings.

-Okay. -Ciao Monica. -Ciao. -Looks at this is an old prison cell, huh? -Yeah, the original. [metal clanking] We must maintain it closed because people are strange sometimes. -People are strange, yeah.

-And this is a celebration. People from Sri Lanka, let me show you. [Italian] Garan... -Hi, how do you do? Nice to meet you. -Nice to meet you.

[Italian] PETER: Sir, I see you've taken on the Italian style. You pop the collar now. -Ah, yes, yes. -They don't do that in Sri Lanka do they? -No. [laughs] [Italian] PETER: Gratitude? -Wait, wait, wait, I found Milano has the nicest people in Italy, no? -No, in Italy there are nice people but down to Rome...

-It's a joke. [chuckling] -Outside Italy, or in Italy, or anything. -How is it different? You are worker, he's the (owner of) the job. So they sell like that. -Oh. -In Italy, no. You're like a friend.

-In Napoli, like friends? -Yes, in Napoli I work. -Okay, so up there it's more like, "I'm the master, you're the slave." "Get to work." [laughs] Yeah? Something like that? -Yes, a bit like that. I can't tell 100% like that but similar like that. PETER: So these are all former cells? GAETANO: Former cells, yeah.

For minors. -Is the law hard on kids in Italy? If a kid commits a crime they have their own jail cell? -Not anymore nowadays but in the... When I was young it was still yes, sure. -Yeah. -This is Nightmare Before Christmas, I don't remember the name or the... -Halloween. -Okay. -These are the kids that were here? -Yeah, the list of names.

-Bit of a heavy feel in here, huh? -Yeah. -A lot's happened in here. -Someone tells that there is even a ghost here. I'm sorry for the news but… [laughs] -I don't doubt it. I'm sure when it gets dark and in the winter when it's cold in here.

-Yeah sure, and the door sound. -Slamming shut. -And one day in the '80s there was a revolt of children here. They revolt against the guards and closed all the guards somewhere and then they took control of the jail.

So special forces arrived in a helicopter. -Oh, wow. And they just beated everyone they met. -The kids took complete control of this place? -Yeah, sure.

-In the '80s. -How old were the kids that were here? -From 13 years old to 18 years old. -A lot of mafia kids? -A lot of mafia kids.

The ones who take the first step in the process of become... -Career criminals? -Mm-hmm. -Oh, this is a little more destroyed, huh? -This is really creepy but... but...

Ah, ciao Napoli. -Oh, wow. Beautiful. -And the sea. And Vesuvio. -Wow, it's so beautiful.

-It's really beautiful, I love it. -Gaetano, [hands slap] thank you. Thanks for bringing us in. -It was a pleasure meeting you. -It's a unique view of Napoli that I don't think has been seen by too many foreigners. Didn't think I'd end up here but that's my style of video. So thank you.

All right, guys. True adventure today, I want to finish with a few thoughts about this wonderful city. I did give you an unorthodox tour of Napoli. It is really a special place. It's got a bit of everything.

It's got a lot of extreme, lot of edge but really it's the food that holds this place together. The food is some of the best in the world and even if you don't like busy streets, or chaos, or horns, it'd be worth it just to come here for the food. You know, this is one angle in. There are very wealthy neighborhoods. There are places on the scene where I'm staying that are totally different than this but the goal is always to present you that... You know, that authentic, on the street look at a place.

And lastly, these videos, what? 20, 30, 40 minutes usually are a big part of what I do but not everything. So I don't want you to miss out on future events or content. So join the mailing list we have. Link is down below.

Big event coming up in New York in November I'd love you to be a part of. There'll be a digital version too. Thanks for coming along. Until the next one. ♪ mellow electronica ♪

2022-11-09 17:32

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