Viva La Napoletana

November 15, 2006

My mother flew into Napoli (Naples) on the day that Heathrow shut down due to a terrorist plot. Subsequently, they routed her through Paris. She then flew to Milano (Milan) and then down to Napoli to meet us. She said to me in the airport, “The milanese women are so gorgeous. They’re blonde and blue-eyed, skinny, have sun-kissed tans, and they dress so simply and yet they look so beautiful. A lot of them just wear jeans and t-shirts but it works for them. They’re very elegant. But the napoletanas…”

And then she began to describe this one napoletana who had boarded the flight in Milano. She didn’t have to get far with her description because I had just seen her walking through the arrival section. She was wearing a shirt that showed off her mid-drift. All four rolls of it.

A lot of napoletanas are overweight and yet they wear tiny shirts that expose their multiple belly/abdomen rolls. They wear bikinis on the beach. They let it all hang out, literally. Thunder thighs, batman wing-type upper arms, and multiple stomach and abdomen rolls are all out in the open, for everyone to see and the napoletanas make no apologies for it. In fact, they walk with their heads high.

I was shocked at first. I have to admit I was little disgusted. I’m overweight myself and can’t even imagine showing off my imperfections. But as time went on, I realized that these were very brave women.

August in Napoli is hot and humid. Who wants to wear long pants and shirts in that type of weather? Not every place in Napoli has air conditioning, so a lot of stores and public places are hot as well. And everyone knows that you aren’t really covering up anything when you wear loose-fitting clothes. Stomach rolls are only going to be hidden by wearing a girdle and then there’s the muffin-top syndrome. All the fat that you squeeze from your mid-section has to go somewhere, right? So the napoletanas don’t bother with girdles and loose-fitting clothes and instead say a big vafancu’ to the fashionistas and diet/health freaks of this world.

Being around such women had an impact on me. How could it not? After a few days in Napoli, I felt okay about my body, imperfections and all.

Most people I know are disgusted with people showing off too much skin, especially if the people involved are overweight. I say, viva la napoletana!



  1. The picture shows a woman covered up. Hardly anyone in Napoli was covered up, except the men. The women had backless shirts with multiple rolls showing. They had low cut pants with their butts and their bellies rolling over them. Even young girls of 11 or 12 had the same rolls. The airline lost my luggage for 5 days. Do you think I could find stores that sold plus size clothing? No. Why? Because women in Napoli who should be wearing a size 18 are wearing a size 10 and bulging out of them. I wish I could be less judgmental about women’s bodies, especially my own. I remember years ago–maybe 30–going to Italy and visiting Ischia along with half of West Germany. All of the women, young and old, fat and thin, wore bikinis. Even then I was self conscious about my body. We have such a thing in America about fat. Nobody likes a fat person. Studies have shown that fat people are less respected, less liked, more ignored. Back in the 40’s and 50’s, many women movie stars were Rubenesque and they were pinup girls. Not today. I wonder if it will ever change here?

  2. I doubt it will ever change, in fact it’s going the other way. (Think: Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton, Christina Aguilera)

    Viva Napoli! 🙂

  3. Your right!

    Everytime I have an event where I have to dress up, I do and buy those awful “shapewear” underwear to try and smooth out my ‘imperfections’ (belly, hips….you know)

    Of course, when I am all ready and I take that one last look in the mirror…those awful things get traded for regular underwear. Why? Because it looks MUCH better. Why bother? Your right, whatever gets smoothed out has to go SOMEWHERE. It looks much better when it’s not sticking out in weird places – lol

    It WOULD be nice if society would go back to where the ideal woman was Marilyn Monroe or Jane Mansfield…’curvy’, ‘buxom’…..

  4. Not to mention how uncomfortable they are.. I put one of those “magic knickers” on during the summer and it came right off because no way was I going out in the heat and humidity like that.

    Totally off-topic, I was watching “Super Nanny” the other night and I SWEAR, the father in that episode was Fatt Mamolare. HEHE!

  5. ” HI ! I’d like to speak ro FATT MAMOLARE!”


  6. ” HI ! I’d like to speak to FATT MAMOLARE!”


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