di Giulia Cannada Bartoli 14 Aprile 2014
Beppe Severgnini, Napoli, New York Times

Estimeed Mr. Severgnini,

I came across your article about “ why no one goes to Naples” on april 11th. I work as a journalist in southern Italy and have mixed origins between Naples, Lucania and Sicily;  I felt I had to express my opinions to clear up too many fallacies you mention . First of all where’s the news?

You don’t say anything different from what a lot of your colleagues have already said before. Second, your approach isn’t certainly the most appropriate to make things go better. Third, you first paragraph is old fashioned and full of “ I’ve already been down that road before”.

When was your last visit in Naples?  I do invite you to come to Naples these days to find it full with tourists of every kind, pleasantly strolling around all town, having nice food and quality wines at different prices. Actually they have many choices, starting from the old traditional “trattorie” where they find friendly  welcome, genuine food and local wine, spending no more than 25€ for a complete lunch or dinner (personal experience).

Naples  has also three Michelin star restaurants located in magnificent places.

As to Amalfi Coast, Sorrrento, and other magnificent venues in the area, they are not at all just a “magnet for wealthy Russians or romantic Americans”. The area is always  fully booked for all season; it is a fact that  Angela Merkel  always chooses the beautiful Ischia Island for her holidays (yesterday Pompei) together with thousands of Germans who traditionally spend their holidays there.

Going far south you come across the boosting beauty area  named Cilento, where the American scientist Ancel Keys, established after second world war to study why people of these countryside and sea villages lived so long , up to 100 years. Well, he discovered Mediterranean Diet lifestyle which is today Unesco Heritage.

Not to mention the worldwide visited “ Templi of Paestum”. Driving beyond Cilento, you find yourself in the magnificent Basilicata (Land of Kings), full with breath taking castles, worldwide known “Sassi of Matera” and splendid gastronomy and wines, starting from Aglianico del Vulture docg.

Calabria, Puglia and Sicily can boast centuries of history, tradition, art, monumental cities like Palermo, Agrigento etc.

It is a fact that all above places suffer from “seasonal tourism”, that is to say  they work 6 – 9 months per year.

To come to the point, Mr. Severgnini , it is not a question of lack of tourism. I do think that following points are the critic issues to solved:

— Tourism in Southern Italy needs a systematic regional governance capable of exploiting EEC funds and build a intra – regional system of tourism resources.

— Tourism Marketing is a branch which only recently became object of study in universities, so at the moment we suffer from a lack of specialized personnel. Training is the key word here.

— Experiences packages have to be built including high ways, trains, services, together with touristic resources by themselves.

— “camorra” activities are in strong contrast with tourism international development

— Tourism as well as sustainable agriculture are the  winning match for national  recovery. Italy may be able to get out of crisis if these “extraordinary tools” become a system of national governance.

— The “only critic” approach, underlining just southern Italy’s problems is not certainly the solution. You may rise attention on your article and let people know about all our problems, but you do not help at all to sort things out. By doing so you’ll just  prevent people from coming to Southern Italy,  depriving them of experiencing secular traditions, art, nature, and extraordinary people.

As you say: “Paradise”.

[Crediti | Link: New York Times, Repubblica]