My perfect day
Luigi de Magistris
An interview with the Mayor of Naples who was recently elected for his second five-year term in office
Naples in three adjectives.
Hot-blooded, because, in the words of the author Libero Bovio: “This is a town where words, whether sweet or harsh, are always words of ‘love”; heartrending because, I agree with Pino Daniele, “those who live by the sea understand everything, but they have a cross to bear”; vibrant, because the city is an ongoing hub-bub of life and colours.
Naples in three snapshots.
A ‘classical’ postcard: the city silhouetted against the bay, at the foot of Vesuvius. A political postcard: Berlinguer’s political meeting in Naples in 1976. Thousands of people rallying for a strong idea of social justice. A ‘personal’ postcard: the celebrations outside Palazzo San Giacomo on the day that I was elected Mayor of the city. A square overflowing with people, fuelled by a sense of passion, hope and militancy. A liberated Naples with a desire to redeem its destiny and make changes for the common good. And, in my heart, the weight and emotion of undertaking a responsibility of this scope: representing and bringing about the change that those people, my people, wanted.
If Naples were a song?
‘Terra mia’ by Pino Daniele. Because this city represents freedom, but also a desire to change for the better.
And if it was a film?
Probably “Passione”, by John Turturro, a fantastic description of the belly of Naples, a fusion of classic and contemporary culture. It has the plus of being a story told by a non-Neapolitan, proving the universality of the passion that only this city manages to transmit.
Where do you like to go for lunch or dinner?
Any place that is infused with the typical Neapolitan aromas of the volcano or the sea. Even a simple eatery serving fried food. We invented street food before it became fashionable. Here, in Naples, we tend to anticipate trends.
The coffee ritual. Tell us about yours?
I like my coffee strong and short: a Neapolitan espresso.
Your favourite dish?
Seafood spaghetti: earth, hands and sea.
Shopping: what do you like to buy?
I don’t do much shopping, the city takes up my whole day. However, I always buy products that are locally sourced and ‘Made in Naples’.
What is the place ‘dearest to your heart’ in Naples?
It’s impossible to choose. I love all of Naples, even its less touristy spots. Only appreciating beautiful things would be too easy.
The strong points of Neapolitans?
And their weak points?
Always passion. “Because those who live by the sea, have a cross to bear”.