Neapolitans – Letter from Stuttgart.

According to the Institute for Ethnic Studies for the Hystorical Society in Pennsylvania the earlier arrivals to Philadelphia, from Italy, were primarily from the Northern regions of Italy, and the majority who arrived at the beginning of 1880s were from South Italy.

Indeed, until the unification of Italy under the Kingdom of Savoys, the overseas emigration had been a prerogative of the inhabitants of Northern Italy. After the Union of Italy, after being robbed and invaded by criminals (leaded by a outlaw men recognized as criminal rapist in South America), many people, even from the South of Italy, began to emigrate taking the way to the Americas.

It seems that around 1880 Italian immigrants were directed Northwest Philadelphia, in particular to Germantown and Chestnut Hill. There was a community in the city with a large concentration of Italians.

Ciro’s paternal grandparents were both children of Neapolitan emigrants in Pennsylvania. They probably belonged to those who left Napoli after the Unity of Italy was proclaimed . Ciro’s grandparents were born in Pennsylvania. They grew up there, where they met and fell in love. As soon as they were married, they left Pennsylvania to go to the original city of both families: Napoli.

Ciro’s father and Ciro were both born in Napoli.

As a boy, Ciro was a Dj and he played drums where he used to live, at Vico dei Miracoli. He has never abandoned his passion for music just like he never abandoned the passion for his hometown.

Today Ciro is 49 years old, he lives in Stuttgart, Germany. He is the owner of CRT-Design, a company that develops 2D and 3D models. He is also involved in book illustrations and he is currently working on modeling characters for a cartoon, a project born from a collaboration of years ago with an advertising agency in Brazil.

When Ciro works and creates he listens to Pino Daniele, Eduardo De Crescenzo, Renato Carosone and he dedicates his free time to his wife and his daughter. Ciro probably won’t go back to live in Napoli but he brings his Napoletanity in every thing of his daily life. He has written about Napoli and about his experience abroad.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Stuttgart, July, 2020.

Hello,

I am Ciro and I am happy to share my experience with Napulitanamente and its readers.

When I moved from Napoli to Firenze, where I lived for 21 years, the detachment was not dramatic, because I was still in Italy so the language is the same. Even when I lived a year in Brazil, where Brazilian speak Portuguese , which is very similar to the Neapolitan language, I did not encounter any difficulties.

In Stuttgart, Germany, where I moved 7 years ago, I felt greater hardness in posting because I didn’t speak German. This was probably the only difficulty I encountered. My father-in-law who emigrated to Germany when he was 17 told me about the language difficulties he himself encountered 50 years earlier. In fact, having also experienced those difficulties in person, he was very understanding and supportive with me.

If you don’t speak the language of the place where you live you face big a limit. I want to tell a funny thing that happened to me. At the beginning of my German life I had a job in a company in Stuttgart. One day the company closed and I went to the employment agency to apply for another job.

At the agency the employee was German. I introduced myself, I told her my German was at beginning level so I asked her to speak slowly. However the employee spoke quickly and, moreover, she used technical terms that I didn’t know yet. After 40 minutes of total misunderstanding from both sides, I left the agency and I ran home to ask help to my wife who is native German. The curious thing is that when I returned to the agency, my wife also had many difficulties in understanding the employee. At the very end we all realized that the employee had not understood that I did not speak a good German.

After that episode I didn’t give up and I started studying German as a self-taught. Once I was confident with it I decided to perfect myself. I applied to an entrance test for a German course where on 7 preparation levels I was directly admitted to the fifth level.

I must say that even the Germans that I met here supported me, this has always made me feel welcome here. At least in the area where I live, the spirit of adaptation of the Neapolitans is highly appreciated by Germans. I feel that people here appreciate the work and the determination of immigrants who want to learn and to become part of the community.The sharing of cultures also leads to an introspective growth. I have been very pleased to discover that Germans inherited many uses, especially culinary, from Italian emigrants, particularly from the South. Even if at first glance the Germans are colder this does not mean that they do not appreciate our culture. The Neapolitan here is not seen bad but, just like everyone, he has to demonstrate to be an honest person with a desire to work and improve and that he is integrated into the community. It is quite well known that in Germany there is a large number of immigrants from Southern Italy.

In Stuttgart there are many Neapolitans, in Heilbronn there are many Sicilians, in another city there is a greater number of Calabrians. In fact, it seems that we are all well integrated, also because there is a strong control here and those who do not go straight, those who are not honest, are discovered and penalized. In Germany everything is well organized and everyone does what has to do, nothing more, nothing less. We know well that in Napoli is a different story. In Napoli they call you for a job and then they take advantage of you: they ask you to work more, always paying the same. In Germany things work well and are controlled. Some time ago a German minister who falsified his University degree was discovered. He was reported and kicked out of the ministry. Furthermore, he was forced to publicly apologize on television. In Italy instead it may happen that a beautician is elected health minister.

If I had the opportunity to return to Napoli I selfishly would say yes, immediately. Even now and even on foot. However if I think rationally. When I will be old, I know that I will have my pension here. I also think about my daughter who will have a better future here that probably would not have in Italy.

Here there are thousand opportunities.

Despite of all of this I deeply miss Napoli. I miss what the Germans perhaps perceive as Neapolitan heart. Germans see us as open people, available and hospitable. I have read an article in which a tourist visiting Napoli said that while he was walking he suddenly had an illness and was rescued by the people on the street. He said he was happy that it happened in Napoli. “If it happened in Milan,” he said, “I would be death.”

In addition to my mother, to my family, I miss my friends with whom I have shared everything, those with whom I have been partying, hanging out.

I miss those places steeped in history, the places of my life and I miss the sea and its smell. Since she was born I took my daughter to Napoli already twice. The first time she was only few months, last time she was 4 years old and I took her around the alleys of Napoli and to see the pastori of S. Gregorio Armeno. She was enchanted. Even if her future will not be in Napoli, my daughter will certainly not miss constant contact with our cultural heritage.

Ciro I.