The majority of the other Carnevale celebrations take place two days later, on Martedì Grasso (Fat Tuesday). But, before that, on Monday, the corona carnival came to town. On the city’s metro, there was a masquerade, but it was of the surgical kind. UEFA had deigned that the Napoli-Barcelona Champions League game be played in Naples on Tuesday night, a salivating prospect for anyone who believes football to have quasi-religious significance, which is most Napoli fans, which is most Neapolitans.
On the city’s metro, there was a masquerade, but it was of the surgical kind.
I was getting my news second hand from London, along with trickles of information from the small number of people I know here. The football was definitely going ahead (no need to stop the corporate carnival coming to town) but processions were on, then off, then back on twenty minutes later. Ordinarily, revellers from each quartiere converge in Piazza del Gesù Nuovo (New Jesus Square) in the late afternoon to be merry and swirl around its tall 18th Century-obelisk like a May pole.
Tuesday morning brought more sunshine and clear blue skies, perfect weather for stomping gaily down cobbled streets. My first alert of the day came from Roberto Salomone, the photographer whose photos accompany this piece: the Montesanto procession had been cancelled and the Quartiere Spagnoli one was threatened to be too. In the end, both went ahead, but with severely reduced attendance. The atmosphere in Gesù felt like subdued observance to long tradition. By dusk, the crowds had completely dispersed; but, then again, Napoli were playing Barcelona at nine.
Tuesday morning brought more sunshine and clear blue skies, perfect weather for stomping gaily down cobbled streets.
For big games, and small ones too, cafes and bars put TV screens outside, turned into the piazza or street, so that fans can gather and watch. The crowds are usually big enough that it’s possible to lean against a wall, road beer in hand, and catch the game for free. But, on Tuesday, Piazza Dante was uncharacteristically sparse. Most people I’d spoken to had opted to watch the game at home.