Il Mezzogiorno - Naples & Southern Italy - September 2010


Photos by Walt & Gloria Fogler-Mancini


Naples?  It’s all about the bay.  It is one of the oldest cities in the world and several civilizations have come and gone over 2500 years.  In the Age of Enlightenment, it was known for its warm climate and natural beauty.  Naples was the capital of a kingdom with a history and culture quite distinct from that of the north.  It was the second largest and one of the richest cities in Europe for a long time.  Now it is called “a universe in its own right, imbued with fantasy and fatalism, superstition and splendor”.

The Greeks first settled in the area in the 8th century BC.  When it became a Roman colony, the Greek culture continued.  Many pieces from the Farnese collection, including the Farnese Bull, are in the Museo Archeologico Nazionalle in Naples. 

In the 12th and 13th centuries, the Normans and Angevins built the first castles and fortified the city as part of the Kingdom of Sicily. Castles and royal and viceregal residences from later periods are often museums. 

Naples has been one of the most densely populated cities in the world for centuries.  The lower class of its population has historically been disenfranchised.  The streets may be noisy, chaotic, dirty and full of people.  Depending on the visitor’s temperament, it is appalling or appealing.  It is said to have  “much noise...little evil”.  In 1995 the historic city center became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Via Tribunali follows the ancient road, the Decumanus Maximus through Spaccanapoli, the heart of old Naples.  There are an infinite number of interesting things to be seen on the streets.  They have fine graffiti.  Shrines to saints are throughout the city.

The photographs were taken with Leica cameras, the M8, M9 and D-LUX 3.  All images are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission. We can be contacted via e-mail at   Our home page is

March 9, 2011                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            wgfm

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A footnote:  There are long standing and profound differences between northern and southern Italy.  When Italy was unified in 1861, the Kingdom of Naples was by far the largest and wealthiest part of it.  They had 66% of the circulating money and paid to establish the new state.  Italy’s tax structures and expenditures have always been of more benefit to the north and both social and economic gaps developed.  Politicians have vowed to address the problems of the “mezzogiorno” many times, to no avail.  There are now political parties that advocate the two split.