Naples, Italy — The Observatory of Vesuvius Observatory, the world’s oldest volcanological laboratory, is just a mile from Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. A few minutes walk or 1 train stop from our Naples home. However, it’s far enough away that the noise from the stadium doesn’t reach you.
Inside the observatory, teams of volcanologists, geologists, physicists and chemists continuously monitor a series of screens to track the centers of the region’s three active volcanoes. the island of Ischia; and the largely submerged caldera of Campi Flegrei, just off the coast.
The screen continuously displays real-time data and images from an advanced network of measuring stations, infrared cameras and video surveillance systems. These pieces of information are extremely important for Naples, a city of 2 million people. Monitors are never used to watch football.
But the monitoring room doesn’t have to watch the game or hear the crowd cheering to know when Napoli has scored. “We don’t have to look. The instruments tell us,” said Francesca Bianco, director of the observatory.
Not just home games. Goals scored hundreds of miles away also have a noticeable effect. “When tens of thousands of people jump up and celebrate in unison, you’ll see that,” Bianco said. Of course, her colleagues know to ignore these data, and she hasn’t noticed anything particularly unusual in her last few months. All targets look the same, she said, seismically speaking.
The only difference is that they’ve actually become more frequent. It has a simple explanation. Napoli scored more goals. Recorded more wins. More reasons to celebrate. Inside the surveillance room, the scientists noticed. After all, all the data on your screen is meant to tell you when something is about to explode.
At a stall outside the Maradona stadium, Mariano pulled down another sky blue scarf and hurriedly flung it casually at the crowd. The letters “Naples Campioni” are decorated. He yelled out the price and impatiently reached out his hand for the bill.
His trading is brisk and has been going on for some time. It was his one of his last scarves. The banner with the Italian flag and number 3 is almost gone. Fans have been gobbling up everything to celebrate Napoli’s league title, the first Italian championship since 1990 and just the third in its history. The fact that Napoli haven’t actually won yet doesn’t seem to matter.
Few expected the club’s and the city’s glory years to come to an end this year. After all, it’s been less than 12 months since a group of fans stole Luciano’s Spalletti car and promised to return it. only if he agrees to quit his jobThis summer, Napoli lost longtime backbone defender Kalidou Koulibaly, home-born playmaker Lorenzo Insigne and beloved forward Doris Mertens in the transfer market. There was an air of changing seasons.
Instead, Napoli wiped out that competition. He nearly occupied the top of Serie A for a year, stretching far and wide as his theoretical rivals fell to the side of the road one by one. A few months ago, that lead extended to his 19 points. This is the biggest advantage his flight to Italy’s top has so far.
In the last few weeks it has weakened somewhat. Napoli were eliminated in the Champions League in the league, where he was beaten by AC Milan. Last remaining rivals in the league, Lazio, cut their advantage to 14 points. Still, with only eight games left, everyone agrees it’s too late for Napoli to get involved.
In January, Roma manager Jose Mourinho celebrated (perhaps with sarcasm) the club’s league title. Stefano his Pioli, Mourinho’s counterpart at AC Milan, has declared that Napoli will win the league title. After watching his team beat it in Napoli. “I can only say good things about them,” he said.
Even people in the department don’t worry about their seductive fate. Spalletti explains that his team is the one winning the title. Striker Victor Osimén, whose goal proved to be of great importance to Napoli’s ambitions, said he can’t wait to see the scale of the celebration when the win becomes official.
But perhaps most striking is the fact that fans share that confidence. Naples is a proudly superstitious city, and its streets, its buildings, and its people are smitten with true belief and respect for the superstitious power of Scaramangia.
“It’s in our DNA,” said journalist and author Michelangelo Iossa. “It’s a tradition, a way of connecting us to the story of our city, which dates back to Greek and Roman mythology. Over the past 2,000 years, we’ve absorbed many different aspects of our culture. It’s part of our identity in Southern Italy in general and in Naples in particular.”
However, at some point this season, the Neapolitans collectively seem to have decided it was all Hokum’s load. “A few weeks ago he was early March,” said Michela, another outsider of Maradona. (Like Mariano, she refused to provide a surname. “After beating Juventus 5-1 in January, everything changed. “A victory of that magnitude he hasn’t had since 1990.) It broke the seal on his mind.
Shibboleth then began to melt. Flags, shirts and scarves celebrating what was to come were put up for sale outside the stadium and throughout Naples. “We are all loyal fans,” Michela said. “But now we can sell with confidence.”
Mariano was a little more outspoken. “È già fatto,” he said in Italian. Already done.
don’t waste time
In 1987, the year Diego Maradona led Napoli to their maiden victory, the celebration was so hot that an iconic graffiti appeared in one of the city’s cemeteries. It read, “I don’t know what I missed.” Naples has waited long enough to regain its spirit.This time, no one wanted to die wondering.
Naples doesn’t have a lot of city air waiting for the party to start, it’s one of those places to have a few drinks. The colors of Naples, azure and white, are not only in Fuorigrotta, the suburb where the stadium is located. , but across the narrow and winding alleyways of the ancient quarters that serve as the heart of Naples are the Spanish Quarter, the Centro Storico and the Rione Sanita.
In crumbling buildings, flags hang from balconies and block windows. The jersey flutters from the laundry. Shop windows are adorned with mannequins dressed as Neapolitan players, regardless of the merchandise. Banners and bunting canopies grow all over the street.
There are stairs painted to resemble the Scudetto, the shield that adorns the jersey of Italy’s reigning champion. His No. 3, his third title on the team, is everywhere. Naples is no longer a city with football teams. The soccer team that the city is attached to.
The decoration itself is a charm. The café in the Spanish Quarter features life-size cut-outs of the team’s players, laid out on the cobblestones in tactical formations expected on the field. One Sunday morning last month, fans, locals, tourists and many others came to take selfies and the cafe ran out of coffee. By lunchtime, the owner said he had sold about 3,000 aluminum foil-topped espressos.
“Thousands of tourists visit every week,” said FOQUS Director Renato Quaglia. “This is a new form of tourism.”
The highlight is the top of Via Emanuele de Deo, where a huge mural of Maradona rises above the street. Qualia said it had been a destination for years, but has grown in popularity since Maradona’s death in 2020.
Now that Napoli is on the brink of glory, the crowds are even bigger. On the streets of the Spanish Quarter, an impending victory feels like it could change the city. The tourism boom has led to the rise of an impromptu, somewhat informal economy. Street vendors and stall operators sell just about anything you can think of, as long as it’s Neapolitan blue and white.
Quaglia doesn’t think so. “This is a speculative bubble, a phenomenon that should be exploited at the moment,” he said. Like all booms, he fears it’s fueled by an inherent vulnerability. He hopes there may be some lasting impact.Several overnight businesses will survive, and there will be a few more tourists who include the city in their itineraries and make their own pilgrimages. But that’s not the same as solid, lasting, and impactful change. Once the first rush of jubilation is over, the championship is won, and once the party is over, this entire swath of new economy disappears.
“Winning the league for the first time in 33 years is an irreplaceable moment. But it’s also the illusion of saving the city.”
Entire cities do not change overnight. In particular, cities that have existed for thousands of years do not change. Naples may not feel like a superstitious place, but not when an earth-shattering victory is on the horizon, but its vigilance lies beneath the surface.
Osimén has been integral to almost everything Napoli has achieved, spending the entire season wearing a face mask after clashing with an opposing player in November 2021. It’s not clear if he needs the mask medically, but it’s like a talisman for him and the team.
He lost it in late March while traveling for Nigeria. No one knows what happened. A few days later he suffered an injury. He missed Napoli’s league match against Milan. Napoli lost. He also missed the first leg of the Champions League match against Milan. Napoli lost again. The club immediately requested a bespoke replacement.Scaramangia may end. The title may have already been won. But there is no point in taking chances.