NAPLES BALCONIES

Published August 22, 2012 by Tony

OUR WINDOW OUTSIDE THE WORLD

Eduardo De Filippo

It may seem strange, but most tourists visiting Napoli are fascinated from the balconies. Despite being the third biggest city of Italy, Naples not has many skyscrapers and most buildings that tourists see around are blocks of flats, new, old or dilapidated. Apart from the classic “basso”, the traditional small house on the ground floor, there is no home without a balcony, big or small it may be. If you ask a person living in a “basso” what he/she lacks, for sure he/she will say that feels the lack of a balcony.
In the Neapolitan culture, the balcony is of great importance. Mostly, it is the place where every housewife hangs out the laundry to dry in the sun. But the balcony represents a window to the outside world, because genetically Neapolitans are animals “very…very social” and cannot live without watching others or feel their closeness. Balcony is where the Neapolitans overlook to see what is happening in the street, to attend an important event, as it may be a parade or to rejoice with others after an important football game, or to shoot fireworks at New Year’s Eve. They also overlook to get some fresh air while many elderly people sit there, in the late afternoon, to pass the time or have a chat with the close neighbor. Beyond the lucky few who have a terrace, if the balcony is large enough it can be equipped with chairs and table on which have a dine with the family. Often for children it becomes a place where to play. Besides, the choreography is not lacking, you can find around balconies full of potted plants which become small hanging gardens, some use it to hang melons, braids of garlics or bunches of cherry tomatoes (piennolo). Instead, those who have little space in their home even use it as a box-room, and so out there you can find everything. In fine, I can say that the balcony is to Naples as the skyscraper is to New York.

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