Neighbourhood: Quartieri Spagnoli

Text & photography by Jeroen Pruijt

Naples is a city that is not easily summarized. Like a diamond in the rough, it has multiple facets ready to be revealed, each with its unique beauty.

One of them is found every Sunday, early in the morning—a secondhand market at the end of the city. Situated in the industrial heart of Naples with its entrance underneath a highway, surrounded by scrapyards far from the city center, but unmistakably Napolitan, you are welcomed by a strangely organized chaos. Cars parked sideways on what is supposed to be a sidewalk. There are self-initiated parking officers who ask for a little something after they appoint you a place to park your car. When paid, they draw a sign of approval in the dirt of your hood.

Like parts of the city itself, the market is chaotic and dirty, yet there is an invisible force present that softly guides all life. Everything you see in Naples looks distressed and reused. That includes the broad variety of things sold and seen in the market and its surroundings. You would encounter the feeling that everything and everybody is in a constant battle with the elements. The market reflects the vibe that is found throughout the whole city. An unidentifiable and strangely attractive mix of chaotic life that is full of energy. Like the market, the city is always buzzing, it makes you feel alive and eager to dive into their way of living.

quartieri spagnoli naples italy

They say the real Napoli is found here in the Spanish Quarters of the city. In this neighborhood, the Napolitan language is most vivid and authentic. It is cautioned to avoid this area for it is here where the Napolitan mafia, the Camorra, have a lot of influence.

Here you will find a neighborhood uninfluenced by worldly affairs, except maybe Maradona. In the name of the Father, Son, Holy spirit and Maradona, he is truly up there with the immortals, judging by the large presence of pictures and murals of their hero. A true Napolitan has an image of him in his house or shop.

Read more in N˚3: Fight.