Catalans Abroad

A city that needs a lifetime

Why did you leave Catalonia?

I left Catalonia for love, even though it was a difficult time in my life as my father had just died and I was leaving my mother who has Alzheimer’s disease. The choice was difficult, but I had found the love of my life again after 12 years and I decided to go with my mother’s blessing.

Why did you choose Napoles?

Simply because that is where my husband is from, where he has his architecture studio, we thought it was the best option if we wanted to be together.

How long have you lived there?

I arrived in Naples in June 2003, so that’s 14 years now and this is where I got married and my two daughters, Maria and Isabella were born.

Are you happy with the job opportunities you found in your adoptive country?

Not very. Naples is a very difficult city to live in and find work especially if you are from abroad. I have been actively looking for a job for two years, and of all the CVs I have sent I have only had a few answers and then at the interviews the job is not what was described in the advertisement. You have more luck if know someone who has connections

What do you think is the best thing about living in Naples?

The best thing about living in Naples is the city itself, full of history, art, mystery, colours, smells, sensations, the continuous changes. It is a city full of contrasts and surprises, a place you love and hate at the same time. What I really like is the Napolitan cuisine, licking your fingers with everyday food as well as the deserts and the wonderful pizzas.

What do you think are the highlights for a brief first visit?

I always recommend taking a long walk through the historic centre and getting lost in the alleyways with their churches on every corner in this great theatre that is Naples. Also the “Lungomare”, where you can see the whole Gulf of Naples and walk along one of the best promenades in the world. And there are the most popular sights, Castel dell’Ovo, Castel Sant’Elmo and Castel Nuovo, which is known as “Maschio Angioino”.

And if visitors have more time or make a return visit?

Then they should visit Pompeii and Ercolano, and one of the islands, Procida, Ischia or Capri, I always advise Procid, and of course the Amalfi coast; and full visits to the museums, churches and palaces. It would take a lifetime to see everything that is here.

What do you miss from home most?

What I miss most is our way of life and take us things simply, the naturalness, spontaneity. And especially my family and friends.

Do you plan to go back to Catalonia?

We’ve talked about it, but times are tough although do not rule out returning. My dream would be to return to live in a new Catalonia, the Catalan Republic.

Ester Aznar is from Barcelona. She has been living in Naples since 2003


M.Àngels Ribas

Can you recommend a place to have lunch with friends?

I would recommend the pizzeria Michela in Via Pietro Colletta, with its authentic and delicious and great prices.

Where would you have a special dinner for two?

For a romantic meal for two,, “Da Reginella” at Posillipo, it has a terrace overlooking the sea and the Gulf of Naples, just fantastic. Napoletano cuisine, not cheap but reasonable.

When is the best time of year to plan a visit?

Undoubtedly the spring, and even better in May, the weather is good and not too hot.

What is the best kept secret about the area?

The best secret is “Napoli Sotterranea” with its mixture of paganism and christianity, and Naples is not as dangerous as they would have you believe, its just another big city.

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