Wendy’s World: Naples

In 2020, we will be sharing weekly soundbites from our Founder, Wendy Pashman, about the adventures, inspirations, and ephemera which are capturing her imagination – and translating into EC concepts. Our third topic: trip planning for Naples. 

The Challenge

Sometimes I’m going to a place where I’ve never been, and not many of my friends have been, and I find my desk piled high with articles and references. In this instance, I’m starting my research from scratch.

Sometimes I’m going to a place that I’ve traveled to in the past…but I want to look at it with fresh eyes, and a new perspective. The latter is how I’m approaching the planning for a 2020 spring trip to Napoli with friends who have also been there before. The question: how to see a place in a deeper, fuller way? Yes, pizza, churches and street food (of course!) but what else?  

The Pre-Planning: Photography and Seeing in a New Way 

Starting the pre-planning, I consider the approach that I will use for my own trip photography. The approach helps me set my intention for the way I want to “see”. Professional photographers have already documented this city so well. The “well trod path” is a challenge for seeing with “new eyes”. Serendipitously, while considering the question of how and what I want to seek out photographically, I happen upon a group of expressive artists who use photography as a contemplative practice. 

Christine Valters Paintner talks about using photography as a visio divina (“sacred seeing”) and lectio divina (“divine reading”). In the same way that monks used illuminated manuscripts to be closer to the Divine Spirit, she teaches how to use our modern day hobby of photography to see with the “eyes of the heart”. I think about how to challenge myself to approach photography on this trip to Napoli as a way to linger over moments of beauty, think about framing as a choice of “seeing”, and shadow and illumination in a metaphorical way. I’ll be trying to “receive” photos rather than “taking” them and cultivating presence through my hobby. As everyone knows, the world doesn’t need another generic snapshot. What can I bring of myself to this city? I’m going to try to make that discovery through photography.

Moving into Research & Music

Next, I want to begin some basic online research. To set the mood and background for  my online Napoli research, I make a Spotify playlist, link here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5arRxM88TryyUyorlAmRNF?si=KTJ8vgPORZ2u_5D_Oj3EzA.

The pull of the old school music of Naples is hypnotic. The sounds of Peppino Di Capri, Nino Rota from “Il Padrino” (Godfather) provide the accompanying tones for further research. My adventure into YouTube yields another favorite Napoli group, Avion Travel Musica – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Byf8nazCIj0.

Blogs are a Favorite Resource

After creating my playlist mood, I search for the most basic of tools: blogs. The blogs I’m looking for need a POV I can relate to, probably in the arenas of food, art, archeology and design. I discount Trip Advisor and other types of crowd-sourcing blogs. I’m looking for a singular experience rather than a postcard of greatest hits. I would even love to connect with some Napoli bloggers while I’m there.

A Few Blogs to Check Into

A few favorites include: https://www.napolidavivere.it/ ; https://www.petitesuitcase.com/guide-to-naples-italy/ ; http://www.girlfromnaples.com/new-blog; https://traveltriangle.com/blog/shopping-in-naples/ ; https://www.departures.com/travel/naples-architecture-cultural-history ; https://www.travelandlust.com/blog/bay-of-naples-italy.

And Then, Of Course, Instagram

Instagram, of course, is a treasure trove of visual information on where to sample the most delicious sfogliatella, discover the most atmospheric churches and alleys of the city, and beyond. Here are some of the accounts  that I’m following to inspire my pre-trip planning: @napolifoodporn; @napolidavivere; @napolifoodblog; @espritnouveaunapoli; @cambiovitabistro; @vivonapoli; @volgonapoli. And here are the hashtags that I’m following to inspire my pre-trip planning: #naplesinsider; #whatnaplesis; #alluring_naples; #napolipix; #visitnaples. 

I will look forward to sharing experiences and images with you upon my return from Napoli! Grazie!