Monthly Archives: April 2012

Naples musters its best and brightest to pull off the America’s Cup

Anthony M. Quattrone

America's Cup World Series catamarans in the Bay of Naples (photo from facebook site: Napoli poesia d'Italia...divine napoletane!)

Naples has mustered its best and brightest in getting the city ready to host the World Series of the America’s Cup from 11 through 15 April 2012.  Evening photographs of the bay of Naples with catamarans lit up and a full moon over Mount Vesuvius have been flooding the Internet, in magnificent opposition to the images that circulated worldwide only ten months ago which showed a city submerged under mountains of garbage.

Since the election of mayor Luigi de Magistris on 31 May 2011, Naples has undergone rapid change, which includes rigorous limitations on private vehicle circulation downtown, higher levels of waste recycling and an overall sense of regained civic participation in the administration of the city, with numerous bottom-up events empowering citizens.  During the past ten months, citizen groups like “CleaNap”, “Friarielli Ribelli”, “VANTO”, and “Orange Revolution”, to mention a few, have literally taken over cleaning and maintenance of squares and gardens, trying to complement the work that the over-stretched city sanitation and grounds maintenance service could not accomplish, and have brought to the attention of city officials numerous monuments and places of interest that needed their immediate attention.

Bay of Naples with lit America's Cup catamarams in the water (photo from Facebook: Napoli poesia d'Italia...divine napoletane!)

Mayor de Magistris has also been able to develop the necessary synergy with other local officials to ensure that the America’s Cup events could take place with the maximum positive effect for the city.  He put aside political differences with Region President, Stefano Caldoro, and with Provincial President, Luigi Cesaro, to ensure that the three levels of government would facilitate holding the World Series in the Bay of Naples.  The three officials, together with Paolo Graziano, president of the Industrial Employers Association of Naples and CEO of the America’s Cup Naples organization, pulled off the event which officially started on Sunday 8 April 2012 with an evening show in Piazza del Plebiscito (the former Largo di Palazzo) opposite the Royal Palace, with thousands of people in attendance in spite of a persistent rain.  During the opening ceremony, the seven teams were introduced to the crowd.

There will be nine boats in the water, with two teams, Oracle and Luna Rossa, competing with two boats each.  The other catamarans will be competing for China Team, Artemis Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand, Energy Team , and Team Korea.

According to a strategic plan reviewed by the press, the America’s Cup will cost approximately 20 million Euro while the income should be three times that amount.  Supporters and critics of the event are battling on the Web arguing about the cost and the real effect on the city.  For critics, the operation is only a façade covering up real problems relating to waste management in the province of Naples.  For supporters, the event will be a success on its own merit and it will be a catalyst for further improvement in the city.

Bikers enjoy the waterfront closed to traffic on 2 April 2012. (Photo by Antonella Maiorano)

Mayor de Magistris sees the America’s Cup as an enabler for implementing changes that his administration had already planned.  For example, Via Caracciolo, the scenic waterfront hosting the America’s Cup Village, which is currently closed to traffic due to the World Series, will remain a pedestrian walkway even after the races.  The mayor proudly announced on Easter Sunday that the waterfront will now be a pedestrian walkway connecting the port to the foot of the Posillipo hill.

Click for more information from the AC World Series web site

Click for the schedule of events

Information on Naples and sorrounding areas

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Economy, social innovation and change

America’s Cup World Series in Naples – final countdown

Course map -- photo by ACEA
Click on photo for full size map.

Anthony M. Quattrone

Events are scheduled to take place from 11 through 15 April 2012

Naples is almost ready for the World Series of the America’s Cup. The water front road, Via Caracciolo, which is closed to traffic, is hosting the Village where the different sailing teams will be setting their headquarters. The whole downtown area is undergoing major traffic rerouting and the City is attempting to make last minutes repairs to pot holes and general asphalt maintenance.

The Mayor of Naples, Luigi de Magistris, appears to be quite satisfied with the general reaction of the population to the many restrictions imposed on traffic, but he and his team remain open to suggestions from different stakeholders who lament that certain policies have gone a little too far, causing a downturn in income for restaurants, pubs, and bars, especially during the evening hours.

Mayor de Magistris is experiencing a surge in popularity with almost 70 percent of the population approving his performance, making him the best-liked mayor in all of Italy. His sternness with respect to law and order coupled with his attention to the weaker segments of the population has allowed him to implement dramatic changes in everyday life of most Neapolitans, especially in the area of downtown living conditions.

The Mayor has decided that Via Caracciolo will remain closed to traffic also after the end of the World Series. His intention is to transform the waterfront into an area where citizens can enjoy a peaceful walk without any concern for vehicles, noise and bust from traffic.

The extension of the breakwaters in front of Via Caracciolo is well under way. The new breakwaters infrastructure is required to allow the AC World Series teams to safely launch and hoist the AC45 catamarans from flat water behind the protective barrier during the training and actual competition which will start on 11 April 2012.

Mayor de Magistris stated that “The city is getting ready to host the event in the best possible way. There is much enthusiasm and the desire to participate is palpable. I am sure that this event there is not going to be only a sporting event, but it will also be a flywheel for real development, from tourism to employment. The AC World Series will provide great visibility to the already exceptional setting of the waterfront of via Caracciolo. This event will allow us all to fully enjoy the beauty of the sea, of the beach and of the landscape of our city”.

The clock is ticking to the final countdown. Go Naples!

Click for more information from the AC World Series web site

Click for the schedule of events

Read also “Where it happens” published by the America’s Cup World Series staff

Information on Naples and what to visit

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized