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Naples Wasn't Built In A Day

"Do you realize that this changes everything for me?"

Photo of an elderly woman sat on a bench in Sanità, Naples

In Naples' Sanità neighborhood

Mariateresa Fichele

Locals have always known that the Sanità neighborhood in Naples was a place full of traces from a distant past. But since news has spread that visitors must now pay 25 euros to access the Hypogeum of Cristallini street, located under an ancient noble palace, residents are feeling a new sense of confidence.

Anna, for example, lives not far from the archaeological site.

"Do you realize that this changes everything for me? Below my basso, there’s a grotto! That thing always used to scare me because I thought it was full of rats, but now I have decided to open it all up: I’ll throw away the rubbish that we’ve dumped in there for the past 20 years, and instead I’ll create something like the excavation site of Pompeii. For 25 euros, I'll even throw in a first course, a second course, and a coffee. What do these noble people think — that in the whole Sanità neighborhood, beautiful things are only for them? Dottoré, these signori living opposite me will cry for the pasta e fasule I will serve tourists!"

Learn more about Worldcrunch's exclusive Dottoré! series here.

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food / travel

Pasta v. Fascists: How Italy's Staple Dish Became A Symbol Of Resistance

Pasta may not be considered controversial today, but it played an important role during Italy's fascist years, particularly in one family's celebration of community and liberation.

Photo of the Cervi family.

Photo of the Cervi family, whose seven children were shot by the Fascists on December 28, 1943, at the Reggio Emilia shooting range.

@comunisti_alla_ribalta via Instagram
Jacopo Fontaneto

ROME — Eighty years ago — on July 25, 1943 — the vote of no confidence by the Grand Council of Fascism, leading to Benito Mussolini's arrest, set off widespread celebrations. In Campegine, a small village in the Emilian province, the Cervi family celebrated in their own way: they brought 380 kilograms of pasta in milk cans to the town square and offered it to all the inhabitants of the village.

The pasta was strictly plain: macaroni dressed with butter and cheese, seen as more of a "festive dish" in that period of deprivation. As soon as the Cervi brothers learned about the arrest of Mussolini, they procured flour, borrowed butter and cheese from the dairy, and prepared kilos and kilos of pasta. They then loaded it onto a cart to distribute it to their fellow villagers. Pastasciutta (dry pasta) specifically regards dishes with noodles that are plated "dry", not in broth. That would disqualify soup, risotto, ravioli...

Even though pastasciutta is the most stereotypical type of pasta today, it had a complicated relationship with the government during Italy's fascist years.

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