I'm getting terribly excited about our upcoming tour of Elena Ferrante's Naples. This has always been my favorite city in Italy and right now happens to be a wonderful time to visit. Just as Ferrante herself as explained in interviews, Naples can be a temperamental city that goes through up and down cycles. I spent time in Naples in 2001-02 when things were very good, then again in 2007-08 when it was awful. Right now, Naples is amazing.
There's an incredible energy of optimism in the air. Of course, the city described in the Neapolitan novels is a difficult place. On our tour, we'll discuss the post-war Naples of Elena and Lila at length, but we'll also enjoy the city as it is today and see some of its most important historic monuments, like the cloister of Santa Chiara and the Castel Nuovo. And we'll eat plenty of wonderful Neapolitan food and pastry.
Please enjoy this photo slideshow of some of the sites we'll see on our tour of Elena Ferrante's Naples.
While exploring Naples in preparation for the September tour, I made a jaw dropping discovery. Ferrante describes "Sea Garden", the beach where Elena is hired to take the two young girls during the summer, as the place right where the Mergellina neighborhood meets Posillipo. As I walked around this area, I looked up at the bus stop adjacent to the shore and saw this:
BAGNO ELENA. I felt sort of stunned. Had Ferrante found inspiration for her pen name as well as her main character right here on this spot? I wandered back toward the Mergellina along the waterfront and found a place to sit down, think and enjoy a gelato. Then I noticed this:
CAFFE GRECO. Elena Greco! Had Ferrante sat right here when she was first creating the Neapolitan novels? I can't wait to find out what else we'll discover together.