Looked around Naples today. The city looks a lot like parts of São Paulo or Porto Alegre. That made me think, again, about connections. Every place, every culture is a composite, galvanized from traits and ideas inherited from previous cultures and appropriated from current ones. I really hate the idea that cultural appropriation is a bad things or a problem. To emphasize, all cultures are amalgams of appropriations. There is no such thing as a nation or a culture projected into the past. Modern boundaries are meaningless over time. Naples illustrates.
Naples was founded by Greek colonists in the 9th Century BC and remained part of the Greek world for centuries. It was then run by Romans, Goths, Eastern Romans (Byzantines), local powers, Normans (yes, descendants of Vikings and relatives of William the Conqueror. These guys got around,) Germans, French, Spanish, Austrians … it only became part of Italy when Italy was created in 1861. And all that I have listed just includes the political leadership. There were lots of other influences. So the people of Southern Italy are related to all sorts of people from all over and they could claim roots everywhere from Scandinavia to the Middle East and beyond. And their influence has spread far and wide too.
My first photo is the Bay of Naples from the hotel room. Next is me relaxing on same roof. Next is a Naples street scene. There was a great pizza place under those umbrellas. Last is the Castel Nuovo, or “new castle.” It is newer than the one before but not very new. They started building it in 1279.