08 Jul 2018

The suburban bars

Photo by Vincenzo De Simone

Article by Michele Sergio published on L’Espresso Napoletano of June 2018

Errs who identifies Naples only with Piazza del Plebiscito, Toledo, Spaccanapoli, Via Caracciolo and the “new” residential districts of Posillipo, Vomero and Fuorigrotta. There is also the Periphery, too often forgotten, when, instead, it is an integral part of an urban fabric among the most densely populated and vast in Europe.

The Neapolitan hinterland is alive and colorful, full of youthful and entrepreneurial ferments. It is precisely the new generations who are definitely stripping themselves of that unjust marginality to which the places where they live have been guilty for too long, confined by superficial and short-sighted administrative and political choices that have always favored the center of the City.

In these realities, where the urban and landscape conformation is decidedly different – large spaces, concrete tower blocks, large squares – and does not allow the natural and immediate social aggregation of the alleys and the more contained paths of the city center, the bars constitute the place of ideal and privileged meeting. Frequented mainly by natives and bystanders, very rare tourists, the cafés of Agnano, Bagnoli, Scampia, Secondigliano, Pianura, Barra, Ponticelli, San Giovanni, are generally conceived as multifunctional and with a commercial philosophy different from that of a classic coffee of the Middle. The facilities are larger, equipped with car parks, often fuel pumps, as well as tobaccos and cafeterias.

The bartenders, for their part, certainly enjoy a fair social recognition by carrying out a fundamental work in the main center of aggregation. Sometimes with shifts and hours more tiring, precisely because of the multifunctionality of the premises in which they operate, never lack, according to the best Neapolitan tradition, of professionalism, dedication and passion.

There is no doubt that if Naples holds the status of coffee capital, the merit goes not only to the cafes of the historic center but also to the many bars in the suburbs in the shadow of Vesuvius.