We arrived in Naples late on Friday night. We were greeted by the kind parents of our host, who was simultaneously celebrating his birthday and making cocktails at work. We started accurately looking for a path to communication, impeded by the lack of a direct connection between Bulgarian, English and Italian. We caught things like football and Napoli, at which we nodded enthusiastically, without understanding anything. It was not until the next morning that we saw the view in front of the apartment and things began to get clearer.

Decoration for the Italian football finals

I’m going to open a little bracket here. I rarely pay attention to accommodations when we travel, but the cases where the place turns out to be better than the advertised pictures are worth mentioning. Hidden in a socialist-looking block of flats, a huge apartment was waiting for us, where the hosts had tried to think of everything we might need. Umbrellas, sun hats. Corkscrew. Even a surprising mirror in which we had to fight for space with the son of God himself.

Decoration in the flat

On the Saturday morning, we were still unaware of football and Napoli, otherwise we might not have gone to Naples that day. We did feel a little suspicious when, in front of the block, we saw the neighbors who had finished their morning church service, arguing about the best way to stretch a blue-and-white ribbon over a street. I did not dare to take a close-up photo of them, you can only see them on the right sidewalk in the distance, but otherwise the result of their labor is clearly visible:

Street decoration for Napoli

Our suspicions grew into confidence when we boarded the so-called Circumvesuviana, or the railway line connecting Naples with Sorrento along the entire gulf. In addition to the train being unexpectedly packed for a Saturday morning, the predominant color of the attire was also blue-and-white, not to mention that the carriage erupted in spontaneous singing. Things got quite complicated when we arrived at the Garibaldi Central Station in Naples.

And we were going to a museum! Alas! Even the subway entrances were jammed. We decided to just go for a walk. We immediately found that the central Napoli fans had also tackled the street decoration with varying degrees of success. The ubiquitous blue-and-white ribbons were strung in odd braids between the houses, but more fun were the personal decorations. For example, balconies with pants hanging next to the flag of Naples, patriotic slogans or banners with photos of football players.

And home decorations for Napoli

The streets were full of people branded in all sorts of ways in praise of Napoli. Bright blue wigs. Inflatable blue-and-white crowns. Cheeks with the team’s colours drawn on. Fan scarves, T -shirts, flags, hats. Whistles and clappers. Some smoking bombs with – of course – blue and white smoke. Trade was running all over the place in full force – in large and small shops, and on casual stalls.

Football merchandise

This time, we did not make the mistake of the 2018 World Cup Finals, when we ended up in Zagreb during the game. By the time we remembered to buy a Croatian fan souvenir, everything is closed. Now we entered decidedly into a fight with another late fan trying to get the last invaluable scarf of Napoli right under my nose. No, sir, not this time! This time, we got branded accordingly.

My husband as a branded Napoli fan

The Saturday walk turned out to be memorable. Along with other apparently casual fans, we walked with the crowds all afternoon, clapping, shouting, pushing and getting pushed. Our legs got the size of elephant’s; our ears got swollen. We don’t know a lot about football, but the energy of the people of Naples was contagious. We didn’t see the museum. But there was no power to separate us from a delicious meal. Pizza with local beer. Hurray for Napoli!

Pizza Napoli style