“SEE NAPLES AND DIE”
“See Naples and die” (original: “Siehe Neapel und stirb”) J.W. Goethe
Everyone has heard the famous aphorism “See Naples and die” at least once in their lifetime.
Naples is certainly a mixture of different elements: gastronomy, culture, history, art, folklore and traditions.
Every year, lots of tourists visit this city completely falling in love with it.
In the past, particularly in the eighteenth century, tourism, as we know it today, did not exist.
At that time, traveling was dangerous. The carriages broke easily, thieves were always lurking, the journeys were slow and long and very few knew a foreign language.
Yet, there were people traveling, especially traders and pilgrims. And even writers, painters and architects were often traveling, in search of a foreign master or artistic inspiration.
Between the eighteenth and the nineteenth century, Italy had become almost a mandatory step in the education of young people of wealthy French and German families.
Among the writers who made a trip to Italy, there was also the famous Goethe.
GOETHE AND ITALY
For the German writer, Italy was a dream. When he first decided to take a trip to Italy to get to know it better, he, too, chose Naples.
Goethe completely fell in love with this place and wrote wonderful verses in homage to its natural, artistic and cultural beauties.
Far away from the cold climate in Germany, Goethe appreciated the beauty of a carefree life.
This popular quote is an aphorism of the German writer, written after his long stay in this wonderful city.
With this sentence, Goethe wanted to celebrate a place he loved so much and that fascinated him with its climate, people and history.
What impressed him the most was the way the Neapolitans were living their life – it completely influenced his values and his life philosophy.
The message that Goethe wanted to send to humanity with his aphorism is simple: everyone must have seen Naples at least once!
For the writer, anyone who has been to Naples experiencing the Neapolitan philosophy changes forever. For this very reason, there is no chance to die in peace without having visited this city first.
The Italian name of the city “Napoli” comes from the Greek Nea Polis and means “new city”.
Fits like a glove: Naples is a continuous surprise, with a fascinating complexity and a life philosophy, which is worth the aphorism.
Is Goethe right?
Experience Naples first hand and find out yourself! Discover Naples and all its tradition!
Do you want to discover other characteristics of the Italian culture, language and traditions?
Follow our blog “Curiosities”.
Are you interested in typical recipes of the Italian cuisine?
Discover our blog “Italian cuisine“.