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How Naples is taking advantage of the Elena Ferrante's fever

Naples is a very special but difficult city. You can either love it or hate it. Thanks to Ferrante’s book, there are more and more people loving it.

How Naples is taking advantage of the Elena Ferrante's fever

Claudia Astarita

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"Ferrante fever sees 'dangerous' Naples turn into a tourist hotspot", here is how the British Daily The Guardian titled an interesting article describing how the incredible success of Elena Ferrante's books have actually changed the reputation of the city as well.

Ferrante is a mysterious author that is hiding behind a pseudonym and who achieved global success with his or her extraordinary stories based in Naples. After her novels became popular all over the world, a new wave of tourism have suddenly overwhelmed Naples. It seems as if all of a sudden Naples stopped being associated to the idea that it is a dangerous and dirty city, with hundreds of Italian and foreigners interested in untangling its "true identity" following Ferrante's tips. This does not mean that Ferrante is denying what Naples really is. Actually, in her first novel, The Brilliant Friend, "she introduces the protagonists and her companion as 6-years-old who have already seen too much of hard life can be in their rough Naples neighbourhood, dealing with violence and discouragement but still clinging to the hope of something better", says Time Magazine.

With Ferrante's novels showcasing Naples with all its flaws, the city becomes a character in its own right. And people living there are adjusting to this, with dozens of bookshops and restaurants boasting of their connections to the four novels.

"What is unique about Naples is how it's squashed together - the old aristocracy and palaces with the bleak working-class area. It's really appealing to authors," said to the Guardian Daniela Petracco, head of the UK arm of Europa, the small publishing house that discovered the author. There is also another experience that a short holiday to Naples can offer to Ferrante's lovers: the one of walking past the author without knowing.

Naples is a very special but difficult city. You can either love it or hate it. Thanks to Ferrante's book, there are more and more people loving it.

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