Global Perspectives - Italy: Naples
A small area in the countryside of Campania, between the cities of Naples and Caserta, is known as the “Land of Fires”, because of daily illegal waste burning. The area is also known for a strong presence of the Camorra, the local mafia, who is responsible for dealing with the toxic waste and for the illegal burning. This had a huge impact on the health of local people and after this situation was denounced, many associations recorded a very high rate of tumors in the area. The fires happened mostly between the end of the 1990s and the beginning of 2010s, when many members of the local Camorra clan were arrested. The environmental association Legambiente was the first to denounce what was happening in 2003, also creating new expressions such as “Land of Fires” and “Eco-mafia”.
The news about the Land of Fires also had a very negative impact on the local economy, especially on agriculture. Some European countries stopped importing products from Campania (even though this phenomenon only happened in a small part of it) and many people left to other regions, because of the ecological and economical problems of their land. That’s when Francesco Pascale, together with other activists of Legambiente, started the project “Terra Felix”. In order to fight the fight the environmental disaster caused by the Camorra, without abandoning their homeland, they reclaimed an area in the middle of the Land of Fires and converted it into an organic farming which is also an “eco-museum”, where they organize summer camps for local kids educating them about the importance of preserving the environment. The community gardens are open to the people of the area to self-grow healthy food. Due to their important work for the local community, Terra Felix also received some land that the police confiscated the Camorra.
Naples is one of the oldest cities in Italy, with a glorious past and a vibrant life today. It was funded by the Greeks in a wonderful position, on the Gulf, next to the fertile land of Mount Vesuvius, in front of the islands of Procida, Ischia and Capri. Later it was conquered by the Romans, then by the Goths, by the Byzantines, by the Normans and finally by the French dynasty of Anjou in the Middle Ages, who made it the capital of their kingdom, ruling over all the south of Italy. In the Renaissance the crown passed to the Spanish family of Aragon, who made Naples one of the cultural capitals of the 16th century. In the 1500s Naples was the largest city in the world. We’ll explore the city center of Naples, starting from the Medieval Maschio Angioino Castle, visiting the Galleria Umberto I, Piazza Plebiscito, with the Royal Palace, the Opera House (the first in the world), the church of San Francesco di Paola, passing by the fancy area of Chiaia and finally reaching the lookout point of Belvedere San Martino.