One of the joys of Champions League games at this time of year is the prospect of leaving behind the drab coldness of London for some sun and warmth on the Mediterranean coast. Naples ought to be the ideal place for this, located, as the map tells me, in the south of Italy.
Those seeking an early season tan may not be disappointed. Although today is overcast and wet, tomorrow will be a glorious spring day with temperatures rising as high as 16 degrees and sun shining throughout. A brisk north easterly wind will blow at 15 mph and, and here take note, the UV index will be 3.
If you are planning on lying, shirtless, in a drunken stupor outside an Irish pub all afternoon, please think of some sunscreen.
Anyone staying on for a few days after the game will enjoy even warmer temperatures. Be back in time for the Bolton game on Saturday as there could be showers at the weekend in Naples.
16 degrees is still not hot and so a light jacket or jumper would be wise.
Naples is not Milan, nor Bologna. It is not one of the world’s great fashion cities like Paris, New York or London. It is, however, more stylish than Liverpool. Make an effort.
Indeed a comparison between Naples and Liverpool could be interesting. Naples certainly has history. It was founded in 900 BC as a Greek colony. This makes it older than Rome itself. Liverpool, for all of its claim to history, was only founded in 1207. A parvenu.
While Liverpool became prosperous trading in slaves in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Naples was active in that trade around 2000 years earlier.
Even today, Liverpool prides itself on its lawlessness and corruption but cannot hold a candle to the lawlessness and corruption of Naples. The Camorra knock Liverpool’s scallies into the shade.
Italy, like England is divided into North and South. Unlike England, it is the North that is civilised and affluent. The South, centered around Naples is impoverished and backwards, like Liverpool but possibly even more so. See the film Gomorrah (2008) for an understanding of quite how lawless, backwards, corrupt and poor it is. For those of you who wondered whether it was possible to see urban deprivation worse than that seen in the post code L4, be prepared for a shock. Naples, at its worst, is even worse than Sunderland.
All that history, however, does bring with it some glory that is retained. Although the most bombed of Italian cities in the second world war, many examples of classical and renaissance beauty remain. It is also just a short drive from Pompeii, the wonderfully preserved Roman City. Indeed, it was from Naples that Pliny the Younger set sail to observe to eruption of Vesuvius and, in so doing, came to early and unpleasant demise.
Naples is also the birthplace of the pizza. Enjoy a real pizza and never eat the pseudo America rubbish they serve in London again.
Remember, you are Chelsea and Chelsea is style.