Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 22nd 2014 Contents A48
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt June 22, 2014
NAPLES---Luca Simeone rides
his bike along the sunny beach-
front of Naples while his little
daughter sleeps on the baby seat.
It may sound ordinary, but this
simple act is revolutionary. Three
years ago, Naples seafront was an
urban highway, noisy and smoggy,
jammed with car traffic, while
smelly trash erupted from garbage
bins along streets and alleys. Urban
cyclers were regarded as eco-fun-
Three years later, Naples has a
new mayor, clean streets, a wide
pedestrian beachfront and a 20-
km (12-mile) cycling lane over-
looking a beautiful bay. This is the
liberated beachfront ("Il lungomare
liberato"), as the new mayor, Luigi
De Magistris, a former prosecutor
and party outsider, calls it.
Paradise for runners, cyclists
The liberated beachfront quickly
became a paradise for runners,
cyclists and also those who love
pizza or fish, with the sound of
waves as background music and
the island of Capri and sleepy
Vesuvius volcano framing the view
of the bay.
The transformation also allowed
Simeone to launch a bike tour
"A new era has opened for those
who love to ride a bicycle in our
city," said Simeone. "Today we can
say that speaking about sustainable
and environment-friendly tourism,
like our project, is reality and not
Bike Tour Napoli---www.bike-
tournapoli.com---offers both an
urban route along the city s
Unesco-protected ancient centre
and a countryside tour, with
organic food tasting included. The
tours wind through tiny medieval
alleys and past baroque churches,
around volcanic lakes of the Poz-
zuoli area, the Vesuvius volcano
and the breathtaking Amalfi coast.
The most popular route is a ride
past art nouveau villas, parks and
up Posillipo hill for a view of
Naples and its bay.
Anja Hayek from Germany and
Antonio Sorace of Italy recently
rode up the hill to enjoy the sunset.
"This is the only good way to visit
and know Naples," Hayek said. "I
found it very nice this year, the
bicycle lanes and the pedestrian
area by the sea. I found it very
Sorace said "visiting Naples by
car is impossible due to the traffic.
By car you can t enjoy the alleys
and it is difficult to breathe."
Naples is planning to extend the
cycling lanes into the suburbs.
A way to stop brain drain
For Simeone, the success of his
tours represents more than just
business. It s also a way to stop
the brain drain. Youth unemploy-
ment in Naples is 50 per cent.
Migration abroad or to the indus-
trialised north is the norm as tal-
ented young people leave to find
work. The local mafia syndicate
Camorra has long taken advantage
of the lack of jobs to gain recruits
for illegal businesses.
But the green revolution gives
hope to those like Simeone who
want to erase the image of Naples
as a city of garbage and pollution.
"We bet on a revolution of
transportation," explained De
Magistris from his office over-
looking the port and a new metro
construction site. He recalled his
parents trying to squash a child-
hood love of cycling, saying, "Stop
this passion, because in Naples
you can t ride a bicycle in the
Now, more locals are using bike
lanes, pedestrian areas have been
improved, and some 2.4 million
visitors are staying in Naples hotels
each year, with the numbers grow-
The expansion of the metro sys-
tem will add to the environmental
improvements for this city of one
million (four million in the metro
area). The metro also connects
riders to art. At the Toledo station,
a ride down the escalators reveals
works of bright blue representing
the sea. "Oh, it is very beautiful.
It is like plunging into the sea,"
said Pierre Bonini, a tourist from
Paris, at the bottom of the esca-
Cleaning up their bay
But pure blue water is not just
an art motif. Thanks to improved
wastewater management, pollution
has been reduced and vast stretch-
es of the coast have been
reclaimed. Neapolitans and tourists
now swim again in the bay. And
young kayak enthusiasts have
launched Kayak Napoli---
html. A few motorboat tours had
previously been offered, but they
were not allowed---as the kayaks
are---to enter the marine park of
la Gaiola and the Trentaremi bay,
which contains submerged ruins
of ancient Roman villas.
Giovanni Brun, founder of
Kayak Napoli, brings guests to see
the submerged archaeological sites
and other beautiful coastal spots.
His full moon tour offers a sunset
paddle with a return as the moon
reflects on the waters of the bay.
The trip includes one other special
moment: An aperitif of white wine
on a secluded beach. (AP)
Naples, green and clean,
In this June 13 photo, Luca Simeone, left, founder of bike-sharing start-up called
Bike Tour Napoli, pedals along a cyclists' path in Naples, Italy. AP PHOTO
In this June 13 photo, people enjoy the sun and water at Mergellina Bay, in Naples, Italy. Three years ago
Naples' seafront was an urban highway, noisy and smoggy, jammed with car traffic, while smelly trash
erupted from garbage bins along streets and alleys. Urban cyclers were regarded as eco-fundamentalists.
Three years later, Naples has a new mayor, clean streets, a wide pedestrian beachfront and a 20-km (20-mile)
cycling lane overlooking a beautiful bay. AP PHOTO
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