Two beautiful books put into circulation a few days apart: Naples and its dilemmas by Umberto Ranieri (Editors’ Guide) and Naples where are you going back to talk about Naples, its lost opportunities and its possible future? by Giuseppe Rippa and Luigi Rintallo (Quaderni Radicali Editions).
These are two of reflection and confrontation with the administrative vote that closed the last disappointing organized by Luigi Magistris’ bandana to open a new season entrusted to the care of a serious and thorough person like Gaetano Manfredi.
Rippa and Ranieri are well acquainted with the city they speak of – and whose lights and shadows they are able to identify as few – for having been protagonists of public life and lively cultural actors in various ways. Two observers on active duty, one might say, writing one last and passionate love letter.
Both retrace the recent history of the city, from the post-war period to today, pointing out all the mistakes committed by a ruling class that perhaps has never been such to the end. Reform even in the recognition that the disappointments must be attributed to the right and the center as well as to the left.
The pressing of the stories – in thirty-eight short chapters Ranieri’s text, in the form of an interview that of Rippa – leads the reader to consider how many appointments with history have been lost due to the ignorance of the rulers, the shyness of the entrepreneurs, the laziness of citizens. To each his own responsibilities.
There was no lack of moments of possible turning points. When the project known as the Kingdom of the Possible was revealed, for example, or with the Neonapoli proposal, the promise to reclaim and relaunch the orphaned Bagnoli dell’Italsider, the purpose of redeveloping the historic center with funds made available by Unesco.
The much that could and should have been done to re-establish the industrial destiny envisaged by Francesco Saverio Nitti in Naples was limited to small and uncoordinated interventions that have more the appearance of colored patches than the compensation needed by a fabric that presents itself more worn out every day.
Despite the disappointments that have accrued – the sale at bargain prices still cries out Banco di Napoli – both authors recognize the conditions for a new possible restart and nourish the hope that this time the possibilities can be realized. They speak with caution but with confidence.
Now all eyes are on the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (Pnrr) and the magnificent and progressive fortunes that such an amount of investment can sustain a metropolis that has always denounced the scarcity of resources as the main obstacle to its development.
Efficient, technical, competent administration; Certain. But what is certainly lacking in Naples, having recovered the ancient virtues of good governance, is a vision that caresses the desire for the future of the young and old who, despite everything, have not abandoned the field or would like to return.
And it is interesting to note that both Ranieri and Rippa Mediterranean offer the reader a horizon for their city that must somehow regain a directional dimension as when it was central, at least in the enlarged dynamics of the Kingdom of the two Sicilies which later became Southern Italy.
The suggestion is not new. Returning to Naples its dignity as capital by directing our gaze to the Mare Nostro and the shores of Africa which here is a goal that would be worth a method and passion. We will see how the lively intelligences that the territory has at its disposal will respond.
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