On Sunday 4th June the sun will set on a historic season for S.S.C. Napoli when they take on U.C. Sampdoria, exactly a month after they were crowned Serie A Champions. When the curtain finally comes down on a season like no other, the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium will rise one last time to salute and serenade their heroes. Only when the full-time whistle blows on Sunday will the realisation of what the Gli Azzuri has achieved set in. The city of Naples will once again come alive and the celebrations will begin all over again, and memories that will last a lifetime will be made, as the cry of ‘Campione’ echoes into the night for all eternity.
The club and the city have been electrified with ecstasy ever since the 1-1 draw with Udinese Calcio at the Dacia Arena on May 4th confirmed their third Serie A title. ‘I think I’ll remember the official confirmation of winning the championship forever.’ Photographer and Videographer, Andrea Matacena tells us. Born and bred in Naples, Andrea has been there every step of the way, ‘It was a moment that I had dreamt of my whole life, and actually experiencing it was something incredible. Capturing the moments that followed on film has been a game-changer. It helps you focus on the details and has allowed me to truly immerse myself in this experience.’
The celebrations that followed their moment of triumph have been watched around the world, with so many sharing in the joy of a club whose cult status has captured the hearts of so many. The historic streets of Naples have not witnessed such sights since Diego Armando Maradona led them to their first two Scudettos in 1987, and 1990. The Images and scenes of people crying, laughing and smiling, defined what football is, and what it means to the city of Naples. ‘Napoli’s victory transcended the sport, becoming a symbol of hope, resilience, and the indomitable spirit of the Neapolitan people’, explains Andrea. ‘When I look back on that unforgettable night, I can’t help but feel a deep sense of gratitude for being a part of such a remarkable moment in the history of Napoli.’
Naples has an all-consuming addiction to football that is palpable. It is in its streets, cafes and restaurants, It is everywhere you turn. It is alluring and seductive and the passion and romanticism of it all make you fall head over heels every time you visit. The Atlantic Dispatch sat down with Andrea to learn more about his love affair with Napoli and a ‘rebellious city, that has its own rules.’
it wasn’t just about winning a football championship. It was about the unity and pride that engulfed the entire city
For months now, Naples has been experiencing a surreal atmosphere. I’m a 25-year-old who had never seen my city prepare for such an important event, it’s been mind-blowing. Napoli lives and breathes football, and the thought of such immense joy has consumed every Napoli fan’s mind.
When the final whistle blew in the game against Udinese, every Neapolitan fan poured out of their homes to celebrate. It was an unimaginable party for those who don’t know this city. Napoli’s journey in the league has given us the belief since February that we could win this championship, and that allowed for extraordinary preparations.
The energy in the streets was electric, with fireworks illuminating the sky, and chants of victory. Strangers embraced each other, sharing the same euphoria that united the entire city. It was a moment of pure joy, where all differences were set aside, and everyone celebrated together as one big family.
As I ventured through the crowds, I couldn’t help but be amazed by the creativity and passion of the Neapolitan people. The personalised cars adorned with Napoli flags and symbols showcased the unwavering dedication of the fans. The elaborate floats carrying statues of Maradona symbolised the deep reverence and gratitude the city has for its sporting heroes. But it wasn’t just about football. It was a moment of pure joy, where all differences were set aside, and everyone celebrated together as one big family.’
Throughout the night, I captured countless moments of pure happiness. It was a privilege to witness and be a part of this historic celebration, knowing that I was experiencing something that would be talked about for years to come. In the end, it wasn’t just about winning a football championship. It was about the
unity and pride that engulfed the entire city.
Napoli’s victory transcended the sport, becoming a symbol of hope, resilience, and the indomitable spirit of the Neapolitan people. And as I look back on that unforgettable night, I can’t help but feel a deep sense of gratitude for being a part of such a remarkable moment in the history of Napoli.
NAPLES IS A CITY WITH ITS OWN RULES
Naples is a city with its own rules. It’s hard to explain Naples, you have to experience it and understand it deep in your soul. This city has been through its fair
share of hardships, criticised and misunderstood by the media, but we’ve always stayed true to ourselves. And now, the world is finally starting to see the beauty, the history, and the passion that Naples holds within its heart. Football isn’t just a game; for us, it’s life, and it’s the means to tell the whole world, “We’re here.”
Naples is more than just a city; it’s a part of me. It’s in every fibre of my being, in the way I speak, the way I move, and the way I see the world. It’s a love affair that will never fade. And as I continue to capture its beauty through my lens, I hope to inspire others to see Naples in a new light, to appreciate its rawness, its contradictions, and its spirit.
For me, photography has become a way to showcase my city, to share its hidden gems and unique charm with people who may have never set foot here. Thanks to social media, I’ve had the privilege of connecting with tourists who tell me that my photos convinced them to visit Naples. It’s a feeling of pride, knowing that I can play a small part in showing the world the true essence of this incredible place.
Naples is the only major city with just one football team, and that makes the attachment to this team a matter of patriotic support. Football in Napoli represents the entire city for me, and that’s what makes it unique. Naples lives and breathes football. It’s like a religion to us. And when we’re talking about winning the championship, it’s a whole new level of excitement. Every Napoli fan is on cloud nine, and you can see it in their eyes, in their smiles, and in the way they walk with a little extra pep in their step. It’s a constant topic of conversation, a collective obsession that brings us all together.
When I go to the stadium, it’s always an extraordinary feeling, but in these weeks, it’s been truly something special. The joy we experience and sharing it with other Neapolitans many of whom you don’t even know, but who are there for the same reason as you, it brings you together with others and makes you realise how wonderful football is because it unites people.
“Napoli’s victory transcended the sport, becoming a symbol of hope, resilience, and the indomitable spirit of the Neapolitan people.”
NAPLES IS MY MUSE
I started taking pictures because I was inspired by the beauty of my city. I’ve explored every nook and cranny, searching for that perfect shot, and now I know it like the back of my hand. Naples is my muse, and I capture its essence through my photography. From the lively chaos of the narrow streets filled with locals chatting and hanging laundry overhead, to the mouthwatering aroma of freshly baked pizza wafting through the air, Naples is a sensory feast that never fails to ignite my creativity. Every time I wander through the neighbourhoods, I discover something new and Intriguing.
In Naples, there’s always a story waiting to be told. Through my lens, I aim to convey the vibrant energy, the rich history, and the undeniable charm that make Naples such a captivating place. But it’s not just the famous landmarks or the picturesque vistas that catch my attention. It’s the everyday moments, the interactions between people, and the small details that often go unnoticed. It’s the wrinkled hands of a local artisan crafting traditional ceramics, the laughter shared between friends over a cup of espresso, or the graffitied walls that reflect the city’s rebellious spirit. These are the moments I strive to capture, the ones that truly showcase the soul of Naples.
Naples isn’t just about the tourist attractions. It’s about the people, the spirit
Through my photography, I hope to inspire others to see Naples in a different light, appreciate its beauty, and feel the same sense of awe and wonder that I do every time I pick up my camera.
If you’re visiting Naples for the first time, my advice is to dive right in and experience it to the fullest. Naples is a city that needs to be discovered. Strike up conversations with the locals, take leisurely strolls down Via Toledo, and let yourself get swept away by the vibrant energy of the Spanish Quarters. You have to check out the breathtaking views of Naples from the terraces of Posillipo and Vomero. Trust me, once you see that, you won’t want to be anywhere else in the world but Naples. it’s got a charm like no other, and it will steal a piece of your heart.
Naples is the birthplace of pizza, and you absolutely cannot leave without indulging in a traditional Neapolitan pizza. Trust me, it’s a life-changing experience. The dough, the fresh ingredients, the perfect balance of flavours – it’s pure bliss. And while you’re at it, make sure to savour some other local delicacies like sfogliatelle, pastiera, and more. Your taste buds will thank you!
Now, when it comes to exploring the city, make sure to wander through the historic centre. Lose yourself in the narrow, bustling streets, and stumble upon hidden gems like the famous San Gregorio Armeno, where you’ll find incredible handmade nativity scenes. And don’t miss the opportunity to visit iconic landmarks like the Royal Palace, Castel dell’Ovo, Castel Sant’Elmo, Castel Nuovo and the breathtaking Duomo di Napoli, where the treasure of San Gennaro, the holy patron of Naples.
But let me tell you, Naples isn’t just about the tourist attractions. It’s about the people, the spirit, and the lively atmosphere that fills the streets. Take the time to observe the hustle and bustle of everyday life, sip an espresso at a local café, and soak up the authentic Neapolitan vibes. You’ll witness a city that’s vibrant, passionate, and unapologetically itself. So, my friend, when you visit Naples, embrace the culture, the people, and the food, and let yourself be swept away by the magic of this incredible city. Naples welcomes you with open arms. Enjoy every moment, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
With thanks to the absoloute gentleman that is Andrea Matacena.
To follow Andrea’s work please vist here.