Puglia is underrated among tourists. Overshadowed by Tuscany, Venice, and Florence to the north and Sicily and islands, such as Capri, to the south, the capital Bari and its surrounding area offer hidden gems. Much like Naples in Campania, the area is grittier than most tourists prefer. But if you know where to visit, you can be safe and enjoy some must-see places. Long ago, before we were married and had our son, my husband and I ventured to Puglia. It. was. epic. See below for some highlights from our trip. You should put these sites on your bucket list:
We saw Puglia by car. The signs are easy to read and follow. My husband and I got a kick out of the town named Monopoli. We had a long-running inside joke with my parents about the game. We took this picture with them in mind. The Grotte di Castellana called our name. We had hoped to see the animals at the Zoosafari in nearby Fasano. But it was closed the day we were in town. Just our luck. Maybe someday we’ll get back there. I’ve heard good things.
Grotte di Castellana
The Grotte di Castellana are a study in science and a tourist attraction. Found in the town of Castellana Grotte, they are underground cavities, where limestone has eroded. Over time, this limestone has formed a landscape brimming with fissures, sinkholes, ridges, and towers. The most impressive scenery is the stalagmite and stalactite covering the ground and roof respectively. A museum neighbors the caverns. There, people can get a deeper understanding of the natural wonders they just visited.
In Alberobello, you might feel as though you’ve arrived in a giant Smurf village. The round rooftops of the houses, known as trulli, are among 51 sites in Italy on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. They are stunning. We looked at the town from above on a flat rooftop, and all you could see were these charming homes that didn’t even look real lining the streets. It was lovely to walk through the streets and just take in the scene. I also really enjoyed the shopping, which included many handmade souvenirs.
Pottery Offers Pizzazz
While I would never lug one of these babies home, I couldn’t help but photograph them. They were gorgeous. And the pottery piled together like that looked like a painting. The setting sun only added to the artistry. Although I was sad a vase of this stature was too big a purchase to bring home with me, I found other souvenirs. All these years later, I still cherish the treasures from Alberobello. I bought some beautifully decorated bath towels for relatives. Also, I found hand embroidered towels with images of the trulli on them. We still keep a mini trulli replica front and center in our china closet. The trip was a long time ago, but the memory lives on in our hearts.
Shellfish is popular in many Italian restaurants. In Italy and abroad, you will find popular dishes, such as linguine con le vongole (linguine with clams). Or you might prefer shrimp fra diavolo, which is a little spicy. When you order one of these beauties in Italy, be prepared for judgment. Everyone agrees that shellfish is divine there, especially in southern Italy. But there are rules for eating it. And many foreigners, especially Americans, are clueless about them. Discover what you need to know before sitting down at a restaurant:
Fresh Is the Best
What makes these dishes so delectable in Italy is the freshness. As Americans, we are often getting fish the restaurant manager bought at the Restaurant Depot. It’s fine and all. But when I’m in Ischia, a small island off the coast of Naples that is home of my ancestors and husband, I’m seeing my meal get plucked from the ocean moments before it is cooked and served. Italians prioritize fresh, seasonal food. You’re going to get fish that’s native to the area, and it will have been alive shortly before it was plated. You will notice the difference immediately. If there is a fishy smell or fishy taste, it is not fresh. This means you should not eat it. If the clams or mussels are still closed after their little friends have magically opened during cooking, you should toss them.
Spare the Salt
Whenever I’m watching a cooking show in the United States, I notice chefs are heavy handed with the salt. That’s not the case in Italy. Many seafood dishes – especially if the fish is coming from the already salty ocean – require little to no salt. If you dare use salt, keep it to a pinch. Shellfish usually doesn’t require any.
No Cheese Please
This is the one that really trips up Americans. We are quick to put Parmigiano cheese (or whatever is passing for Parmigiano at the supermarket) on any pasta. Italians believe it is sacrilege to put cheese on a shellfish dish. In fact, when my cousin ordered linguine con vongole in Italy, the waiter famously refused to give him cheese to top it. Oh yeah, he told him, “No way, mister!” If you want to avoid getting your hand slapped, you won’t even ask for it. However, a few intrepid chefs in Ischia have recently added a few Parmigiano shavings to a dish of pasta with mussels and zucchini. It’s not bad. For the most part, though, the cheese on shellfish is still off limits. The belief is that it destroys or hides the taste of the fresh shellfish. When it’s straight from the ocean, you won’t need the cheese. Promise.
Never Mess with Shrimp
Americans are all about cleanliness. We buy already cleaned shrimp, usually frozen in a bag. We never see the shrimp with their heads still attached. Ewwww! Right? But Italians are distinctly different. They don’t mind the mess of cleaning the shrimp at the table while eating. Indeed, cooking the shrimp with skin on and head attached makes for a tastier dish, they say. You’ll see the eyes and everything. But after you cut off the head and remove the skin, you’ll take a bite. And you won’t be disappointed. Many Italians suck the juice out of the head, in fact. I’m not a big fan of that practice. I’m too American, I guess. Still, I never complain about fully clothed shrimp anymore. It’s too delicious to argue.
Only Lemon for the Fried Stuff
While Americans only seem to eat calamari fried, they are at least indulging in one of southern Italy’s finest ingredients. But they serve the things with red tomato sauce and lemon. Sometimes, there are other dips and doodads surrounding the calamari. Often, there are far too many ingredients in the batter, too. Italians usually just cover the calamari in flour and some light seasoning, such as parsley, before frying. An Italian restaurant in Italy is never going to serve you red tomato sauce on the side of your calamari. The waiter will just bring out lemon to squirt on them. Again, when you are eating fresher food, you don’t need all that other stuff to cover up the natural flavors. Besides, the lemons of southern Italy are usually also exceptional, so you won’t miss getting saucy.
Throughout season 2 of Gomorrah, fans have seen Gennaro’s efforts to become a mob boss. He was willing to work with his father, Don Pietro, at first. Surely, father and son would have sought to avenge Imma’s death at the hands of Ciro. Right? Well, not exactly. Don Pietro repeatedly rejected Gennaro. He blamed him for Ciro’s ability to form the Alliance. Worse, he gave him no credit for creating criminal connections with those in Honduras, who provide them with the drugs to sell. Granted, this is not the kind of stuff that would make a normal parent proud. But Don Pietro is a mob boss. Gennaro wrote him off after numerous attempts to win him over.
Ciro and Gennaro Are Linked for Life
During the season, we saw the rivalry between Ciro and Gennaro play out. They both had the chance to kill the other in season 2, and neither went through with it. Then, they realized that they could make more money and keep the police away without stepping on one another. It worked for a short time. When Don Pietro starts messing with the Alliance to try win back his old life, Ciro and Gennaro are drawn together. We saw them meeting every once in a while. Each time, Ciro tried to convince Gennaro to work against his father. Ciro told Gennaro the poison of this situation is eating you alive. Those words were more important than you might have realized. The season finale reunited them in an unexpected way.
Death Is Still All Around
The season finale opens with Lelluccio, Scianel’s son, opining on how Ciro is a traitor. All the while, he’s snorting cocaine. Next thing you know, he and his henchmen take bullets through the window. They were all dead in a flash. Ciro and his young daughter Maria Rita are still in their house. But they are mostly locked in.
He has security guards and three cars taking her to school every day. Don Pietro starts earning more money now that he’s getting more people to join his squad. And he has eliminated everyone else. But one problem remains – Ciro. He tells Malamore to destroy him. Meanwhile, Patrizia is always present.
Instead of killing Ciro, Don Pietro has Malamore kill Maria Rita. It’s dramatic. They shoot up the cars as she heads to school. You think she might get away with her driver. But Malamore rams into the car with his vehicle, hops out, kisses the crucifix around his neck, and shoots the little girl in the backseat. At least he looked pained when doing it. I have to admit, so far, that was the hardest scene to watch.
Ciro attends Maria Rita’s burial alone with his security guards. Then, he heads to the roof. The guards come in and see his apartment in complete disarray. They run to the roof and find Ciro at the edge. He tells them he is setting them all free. He directs them to split the money in the safe between themselves and to go away. He stays on the roof.
Even if these mob bosses have lots of people around them doing whatever they say, they end up alone. On the other hand, Gennaro has family. When we last saw him he was getting married to Azzurra. Many wondered why he and his bride never showed up to the reception. They were off having dinner. Meanwhile, her father got arrested at the party sans couple. Gennaro was testing his new wife. It reminded me of how his father explained the recognition that Imma would always be loyal to him.
Turns out Gennaro’s antics at the wedding had greater significance. In this episode he visits his father-in-law in jail. Dad says the newlyweds offended him by not showing up to the reception. Gennaro responds, “I don’t want to share Azzurra with anyone.” The father then implies Gennaro was the snitch. Back at home Azzurra comes to the same conclusion. Indeed, Gennaro tells her, “Your father was making me a minority partner and that made me mad. You and I have to be in charge of our own destiny.” She agrees and reminds him that she’s betraying her own blood for him.
After Don Pietro has Maria Rita killed, Don Pietro has fireworks go off. Literally. It was sick. Gennaro tells him that no one will let him get away with killing a child. He seems to be angry about it. His father says that Ciro killed “my Imma, who was my whole life.” Patrizia is standing there to hear it. Don Pietro shuns Gennaro again when he insists on getting paid for the drugs he’s delivering to his dad’s men. Don Pietro tells him, “You are the son of Pietro Savastano and nothing more.” Gennaro leaves. The chances of reconciliation seem slim.
Patrizia tells Don Pietro that Gennaro has grown into a man, and he should treat him that way. She also reminds him that she betrayed her siblings. She became his soldier. She was willing to die for him. And now she has even tried to be a good wife. But she wouldn’t compete with a ghost. Then, she storms off.
Later, you see Patrizia in a towel drying her hair. Don Pietro walks in. He tells her he is old, she is young. And that he is offering her a bad deal. But as long as he’s still walking, he says, it is because of her. Then, he hands her a ring to offer marriage. She kisses him. End scene.
Next, Don Pietro calls Gennaro and says he needs to talk to him in person where the white roses grow.
The Perfect Ending
Everything was leading up to these final moments of season 2. Don Pietro has Malamore and a driver bring him to Imma’s grave. There, he expresses his sorrow at her absence. He asks forgiveness of her for turning to Patrizia. He says he can’t stand to be alone anymore.
Meanwhile, Gennaro finds Ciro in the corner of the roof like a sick dog. Gennaro has a gun in his hand. You wonder if his father has convinced him to kill. Ciro says, “I wanted to turn the world upside down, but I failed.” Gennaro hands the gun to Ciro and says, “Now, you have one more thing to do.”
At the same time, Azzurra goes into labor. Gennaro is in the delivery room with his wife. Ciro shows up at Imma’s gravesite. Don Pietro says hello to him. Ciro, gun in hand, returns the greeting. Don Pietro says, “In the end, this is all there is.” Ciro agrees and shoots him in the head. Ciro walks away. Malamore and the other guy run to a dead Don Pietro. Gennaro’s son is born. The nurse asks what to call the baby. Gennaro answers, “Pietro. Pietro Savastano.”
The latest episode of Gomorrah focused on family life. But it’s not what you’re thinking. Again, the writers had viewers pondering the personal lives of mobsters. Despite their callousness, they sometimes show glimmers of humanity. We’ve caught glimpses of that in the last few episodes. Also, some important pivotal happenings took place. All this is setting us up for a riveting season finale (to air June 21 on Sundance TV at 11 p.m. ET). Here’s what you need to know:
Gennaro and Ciro Have Another Meeting
These two are like magnets. Or the writers keep creating scenes with both of them because they know that’s what the audience wants. But they just give you a taste. The reunion is never more than a couple minutes. This time they meet in the streets, on the steps of some building. Gennaro wants Ciro to wish him well as he sets off to get married and anticipates the arrival of his baby. Gennaro adds that his father Don Pietro’s antics are only hurting Ciro. He says that he doesn’t care about what happens in Naples and that he is capable of selling his “stuff,” which refers to drugs, without the Alliance or his father.
Ciro tells him that this situation is eating him up inside and that Gennaro is the one with the most to lose. He explains that if Don Pietro ends up losing, everyone will say it’s Gennaro’s fault for screwing everything up while dad was in jail. If Don Pietro loses, Gennaro will be left with nothing. Ciro has a point. The last thing Ciro says to Gennaro, however, is what stings the most. “You’re just like me, Gennaro. You’re just like me.”
Gennaro Gets Married
A mob wedding always lives up to the hype. The bride is gorgeous in a stunning dress that perfectly shows off her baby bump. The groom is going full Napoletano with his suit. Anyone who has been to a Neapolitan wedding (or had one like me) knows what I mean. But the wedding was more for Gennaro’s father-in-law. In fact, the couple joked that they didn’t know anyone coming to their nuptials. So, they took off after the ceremony to have dinner just the two of them. While they were away from the reception, the police showed up. They arrested the father of the bride.
Uh oh! It seems Ciro had a point that things might not work out as Gennaro expected. The father had been linked to a murder, a slip up that Gennaro had offered to clean up earlier in the episode. The father-in-law didn’t think it was necessary. After talking to the lawyer, Gennaro walks into the room with all the wedding gifts. He’s alone. He opens a painting of him, his late mother, and his father, Don Pietro. He punches his own portrait in the face. You get the sense the self loathing is real. And Ciro is right that this situation is eating him inside out.
The Alliance Goes Down
The episode began with Mulatto, one of the members of his alliance getting killed by his own security guards. Scianel was sent to prison the episode before. And we learn there’s virtually no one left in Ciro’s Alliance. Don Pietro is systematically ridding of them. He’s using the Alley kids to help him. Ciro’s closest allies want him to leave his home and go into hiding. At first, he says no. The Gypsy changes sides. Don Pietro says he’ll accept him only if he brings Ciro to him. He fails because Ciro figures out what he’s up to. Don Pietro has Malamore kill the Gypsy. By episode’s end, the tables have turned. Ciro is in hiding, and Don Pietro is back in his old house.
Crazy Love Or Something Like That
I made a grave mistake in writing about last episode. I suggested that Don Pietro thought of Patrizia as a daughter. Not exactly. In this episode, she is helping him reorganize the house that has been closed up for some time now. He makes a remark that it feels as though nothing has changed. Indeed, she replies that she should probably stop working with him because he doesn’t need information from her anymore. Her siblings want her at home more. And they are angry with her for getting involved with these dangerous criminals. But Don Pietro responds that he’s wrong. Everything has changed, he says. He tells her he wants her to move in with him. When she does (as if she had a choice), he comes into her room and puts his hands on our shoulders in a way that says she’s replacing his late dutiful wife. Well, well.
Ischia, Italy, an island off the coast of Naples that is the home of my ancestors and husband inspires beautiful daydreams. Anyone who goes there for vacation will see it as paradise. The reality for those who live there is different. But daydreaming is not about facing real life; it’s about escaping it. So, as a gift to you (not to mention me) I thought I’d share some pretty pictures. Go ahead pretend you’re in the image. And forget about all that other stuff.
The centerpiece of the island is Castello Aragonese. This castle has been a dungeon, fortress, and even love shack. It’s best known for housing Vittoria Colonna. Guests can visit the castle’s interior, which is a museum. They can even stay on the grounds, which includes a hotel. Previously a monastery, the rooms are not the most comfortable. There is no television. And the beds are literally hard like rocks. But the view of the bridge connecting the castle to the island and the town of Ischia Ponte make up for it. Seriously, quella bella vista is the vision of romance.
Ischia’s biggest draw, of course, is its many beaches. This is one of the most crowded in Ischia Porto, the island’s capital and bustling hub. But it’s a nice place for its central location. Maronti in the town of Barano is the biggest and most popular beach. San Francesco in the town of Forio offers lovely views while you’re lounging. It’s also a bit quieter than the beaches in Ischia Porto and Barano. Some, however, prefer the sand or rocks surrounding Castello Aragonese. They jump in as though they are Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law in the Talented Mr. Ripley, who had lived on the island while filming there. The Bay of San Montano, which is in the middle of the Negombo thermal spa is a great spot for families because of the calm waters. Of course, there is also the beach in Sant’ Angelo, the poshest spot in Ischia.
The photo above shows Bagnitello, a thermal pool park and beach area in the town of Casamicciola. Ischia sits atop a volcano. As a result, the soil is fertile, which might be why the fruits and vegetables are so plentiful and delicious. These volcanic beginnings also explain the thermal waters and mud, which are believed to have healing powers. Indeed, athletes often come to Ischia to sooth sore muscles, joints, and bones. The waters at Nitrodi natural springs in Buonopane help those with skin afflictions, such as acne, rashes, and fungi. You can stand under the showers there and then pull up a lounge chair overlooking Maronti. The most famous thermal spas, however, are Negombo, Poseidon, and Castiglione. Negombo is my personal favorite. They created the pools to look like they naturally evolved from the rocks in the hillside. The hammocks that are hidden away and overlook the Bay of San Montano will quickly become your happy place. Poseidon is the most well known of the three and offers lovely gardens alongside the thermal pools. Castiglione is the most quaint. It offers many pools, a warm atmosphere, and less chaos.
Best thing about daydreaming? I’m already there in my mind. Hope the same is true for you.
In Season 2 of Gomorrah, viewers meet Patrizia. She’s Malamore’s niece. Malamore is Don Pietro’s right-hand man, one of the few survivors of the season 1 gang war. Based on true events, this story unfolds with the Alliance replacing Don Pietro’s crime family while he was holed up in jail. When Don Pietro breaks out, he holes himself up in an old couple’s apartment. And Malamore convinces Patrizia to become Don Pietro’s confidante. She reports whatever gossip is coming out of the streets. Patrizia gives him his medicine and makes phone calls. Slowly, she becomes special to him. It appears she is like a daughter. In this episode, we see a new turn in their relationship. She also affirms her place in this world of criminality.
Many Americans will recognize the actress Cristiana Dell’Anna, who plays Patrizia, from Un Posto Al Sole. We know that Patrizia was angry with her uncle Malamore. He abandoned her and her siblings when their parents died. Patrizia is the mother hen to her younger siblings. Her brother Alessio, who is a young teen, is especially close to her. She helps her siblings study. Like a mom, she cooks and cleans for them. Patrizia works as a cashier at a clothing store. We first saw her, in fact, selling clothes to Scianel and talking to her friend Marinela. Indeed, Patrizia played a big part in Marinela’s role in last week’s episode.
The point is Patrizia is a desperate girl. She’s trying to make ends meet. A young woman herself, she lacks adult guidance. In taking on responsibilities beyond her years, she feels stuck. So, when Malamore explains that she can give her siblings a better life, she gives in. That’s what led her to Don Pietro. Because she is wise beyond her years and loyal, she gains the trust of Don Pietro. In fact, Patrizia is the one to convince Don Pietro to give his son Gennaro another chance. She explains that his son and him are the same thing. They should not be at war with one another.
Scianel has had enough. She blames Ciro for the fact that her daughter-in-law went to the police. The reason? Ciro allowed the Alley Kids (Trak’s friends who want revenge) to turn on her son Lelluccio. In her opinion, that caused all the problems. Really, it had a lot to do with her maltreatment of Marinela. In any event, Scianel revolts and sides with Don Pietro. But Don Pietro is just using her like he does everyone else. He also convinces the Alley kids to return to his side. Toward the end of the episode he tells Gennaro that he got rid of Scianel because she couldn’t be trusted. He tries to get the Alley kids to kill her. She gets away in a car. But the car is stopped by the police. She ends up in jail.
Ciro has Lelluccio meet with the Alliance to demonstrate how Don Pietro is a grave threat, who cares only about himself. He reminds them that he was willing to throw his own son Gennaro under the bus. In the meantime, Gennaro is still trying to win Papa’s approval. When Patrizia calls him to meet with his dad, he obliges. Or at least he tries to.
While Patrizia is heading to pick up Gennaro, she notices the car is being followed. She has the driver take some twists and turns but they can’t lose the guy. The guy is Ciro and his henchmen. Patrizia heads to a restaurant. There, she dumps her cell phone in the toilet. The restaurant owner lets her use the office phone. Gennaro learns that she is being followed and dumps his cell phone, too. He goes to warn his father and move him from the shack where he’s holed up. Ciro and his henchmen head to the restaurant. They threaten the restaurant owner with a gun, but they don’t kill him. He explains Patrizia just used his office phone.
Ciro catches up with Patrizia and her driver. He drives recklessly and keeps swerving dangerously close to them. Both cars end up going the wrong way on the highway. Eventually, Patrizia and the driver are forced to get into Ciro’s car with guns to their heads. Gennaro finds his father and Malamore. They race out of the hiding spot. But Don Pietro is concerned about Patrizia. Gennaro takes offense and says he doesn’t know where she is. And he adds that he is the one coming to rescue his father.
A Glimpse at the Good Guy
But Don Pietro realizes that Patrizia is really saving him. Perhaps, she is even giving up her life, so he can get away. Ciro still has Patrizia and takes her to a warehouse. There, she sees her brother Alessio in chains and dangling from a pool of dirty water. Ciro threatens to drown him unless she talks. Once her brother is under water, she agrees to talk. Ciro has the others lift her brother out of the water. Don Pietro was right about Patrizia. By the time the henchmen get to the shack, Don Pietro is gone.
Alessio says, “Now they are going to kill us.” Patrizia steps in front of him and asks to be murdered in his place. After all, she was the confidante. Her brother was innocent in this. Ciro agrees. When the two of them are alone in the room, you see his face. It’s as though he’s seeing the face of his wife, who he killed in cold blood. Or maybe it was his best friend Rosario, who was killed. Or maybe it was his daughter, who is alive but in danger.
Whatever the reason, Ciro doesn’t kill Patrizia. He tells her, “The dead are piling up. I left many of them behind me. They haunt me at night. I’m tired of killing people.” They tie up Patrizia and her brother and Ciro and the henchmen take off. Malamore comes to find them. Don Pietro goes back to his original home. Gennaro is with him there. Basically, he tells Gennaro they both screwed each other and now they’re even. But Don Pietro is the boss. Gennaro seems hurt.
Since Ciro killed his wife, he has not killed anyone else. He refused to kill his best friend Rosario when he stepped out of line. Then, he stopped Scianel from murdering a messenger. He freed the messenger who helped Don Pietro to kill the prince. Now, he let Patrizia go. His speech about Don Pietro needing to be the boss of all makes him sound almost like Robin Hood. You see this resentment at the thought that people like him are forced into this life. Desperation led them here. No one is doing anything to help the city. In the end, they are forced to live like animals. Truly, some of them have no choice but to lead a criminal life.
When Patrizia and Don Pietro are reunited at the episode’s end, she asks if he’s tired, too. He says, “Yes, but I can’t stop now.” That’s basically recognition of how the cycle of violence breeds more violence. The people all around are exhausted. But they feel helpless to make change. That’s the story of Naples.
Climate change recently took center stage. President Donald Trump announced the United States would pull out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The U.S. joined Syria and Nicaragua as the only nations not backing the accord. Trump was politically motivated to make this announcement. Staying in the agreement, in fact, would not have changed anything. After all, the agreement is non-binding; therefore, he could have stayed in but changed the commitments to which his predecessor had agreed without actually pulling out.
Nevertheless, the decision to leave has many wondering about what the U.S.’ role will be when it comes to saving our planet. Some people are wondering if any of this matters anyway. Believe me, I understand being more concerned about your own pocketbook. I have a kid. I’m in the same boat. I am up at nights wondering how I’m ever going to afford college and how the price of milk and bread can just keep creeping up, not to mention everything else for which I have to pay. But I also want Mother Earth to survive for my son and my descendants. Discover why parents should care about climate change:
Innovation and the Economy
Problems are solutions waiting to happen. And solutions are opportunities. Already, sustainable businesses, including clean energy, such as solar, wind, and nuclear power, are proving to be the future of business. In addition, the public has been increasingly demanding greener options. This might be why corporate giants, including Walt Disney World, General Electric, and even Exxon Mobil, were in favor of the accord. Parents should be encouraging their children to seek out innovative careers that have a promising future. While new technologies and habits are scary, they can also transform us. Follow the money. Who can argue with that?
The Rest of the World
I know what you’re going to say. America first, right? If all your friends were jumping off a bridge, would you? All kidding aside, jumping ship on the France accord means leaving behind our allies, and even a few of our enemies. For my entire life, the United States has served as the moral authority and leader of the free world. It has been that beacon on the hill. My relatives in Italy spoke of America as if it was everyone’s dream. Moving away from the rest of the world will have repercussions. Some of them we can’t anticipate now. All I know is that I’d much prefer my son live in the nation leading the world rather than the one hiding from it. This is not to mention the fact that if our competitors in other nations are pursuing innovation in the green space that we risk getting left behind of the future economy.
Clean air and water are necessary to our health. Failing to reduce our carbon footprint could have serious ramifications. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) bills climate change as the “biggest global health threat of the 21st century.” Indeed, a WHO slide show describes the traumatic consequences of ignoring global warming.
“Without effective responses, climate change will compromise:
Water quality and quantity: Contributing to a doubling of people living in water-stressed basins by 2050.
Food security: In some African countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture may halve by 2020.
Control of infectious disease: Increasing population at risk of malaria in Africa by 170 million by 2030, and at risk of dengue by 2 billion by 2080s.
Protection from disasters: Increasing exposure to coastal flooding by a factor of 10, and land area in extreme drought by a factor of 10-30.”-WHO, “Climate Change and Human Health”
The report goes on to explain that extreme weather itself can cause injuries and deaths. But it also describes how it could influence food sources, availability of natural resources and food, and the spread of malnutrition and diseases.
You think terrorism is bad now. Just wait until people don’t have enough to eat or drink, no clean water, and only damaged property. Survival of the fittest is a natural human reaction to such dire challenges. You can bet people will begin to fight for their survival and the survival of their children. It could quickly get ugly. Indeed, Trump’s Defense Secretary James Mattis called climate change “a national security threat.” You can learn more about the Defense Department’s position in a recent NPR interview with Brigadier General Gerald Galloway from the Center for Climate and Security. Do you want your children heading off to war? Or, worse, do you want desperation to drive people to attack them on their home soil?
National Geographic provides a great overview of the history of global warming and what it actually means. It lays out just what kind of damage we have done. It also includes information on the reparations we’ve made. That’s right, there are a few. But we can do more. The most important reason parents should care about climate change is because your kids or grandkids or great grandkids could lose Earth all together. If not the entirety of Earth, they could still lose their little piece of it. Caring about climate change is caring about the future of your family. Period.
Mob marriage has been a subject of analysis for years now. At first, viewers might not have noticed love as a subplot in Gomorrah. But episode 9 throws it in your face. Anyone who thought this was going to be about the other deadly sin, lust, should think again. Once you see the storyline in episode 9, you realize that this conversation about love and marriage has been going on all along.
A Look Back, A Look Forward
What has been fascinating to me is that the Sopranos showed how most of the mobsters had a wife and a girlfriend. People are always assuming Europeans and particularly Italians have affairs. But none of the mob bosses in Gomorrah are cheating on spouses or longtime girlfriends. I’m not sure if that’s the reality in the real-life Camorra. But that’s the depiction.
Our first encounter with mob marriage is Don Pietro and his wife Imma. They are clearly in love. She wholeheartedly supports her husband’s criminal lifestyle. She takes over when he goes to jail. She does everything to turn their son Gennaro into a hardened criminal. Then, she makes the ultimate sacrifice. She gives her life to the cause. She knows full well Ciro is going to have her killed. She lets it happen to protect her son and support her husband. When Don Pietro breaks out of jail, we see him visit her gravesite. He is moved. And he wants their son to have Ciro eliminated as revenge. There’s a rift between them when Gennaro refuses.
Gennaro and His Baby Mamma
Gennaro and his girlfriend, with whom he lives, seem to be mirroring Imma and Don Pietro. She too is a child of a mob boss, but they are in Rome. Her father approves of Gennaro; he considers him the future of the family business, in fact. Now, Gennaro and this woman are expecting a baby. Gennaro seems committed to her and the baby.
She is from a different culture, though. This was brought up in an episode in which she throws him a birthday party in Rome. His friends from Naples come and rob someone there. It doesn’t go over well. But it depicted the distinct division between those from the south and those from further north, beginning with Rome.
The most profound moment was when Gennaro needed to go home to Naples. His girlfriend did not want him to go. He held her close and said:
You are my life. But never come between my family and me.
Ciro Kills Love
One of the most profoundly disturbing parts of season 2 was when Ciro killed his wife Debora. We learn in later episodes that they were childhood sweethearts. He cries as he is strangling her on the beach, what should have been a romantic setting. He is emotional when he cares for their mourning daughter. And he tells Gennaro to kill him because he murdered the mother of his child.
The point of this was to show that no one is immune in this sick world. Death is all around these people. And ambition in this business could literally kill you or your loved ones. It drove Ciro to murder his only love, after all.
Marinela Sets the Record Straight on Love
Early in season 2 we get to know Marinela. She is female mob boss Scianel’s daughter-in-law. Her husband, Scianel’s son Lelluccio, is in jail. While he’s away Marinela is her mother-in-law’s slave. The relationship between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law in southern Italy has long been an issue. Men live at home for far longer than they do in the United States. Their mothers can be overbearing. They never think young women are good enough for their sons. They also always believe the women have ulterior motives. Some of this goes on in every culture. But it’s exaggerated because many extended families live together in southern Italy.
Often, MILs mistreat their daughter-in-law. They might slight them. They criticize their housework and cooking. They might suggest they are unattractive or don’t dress well. Well, Scianel takes this abuse to a whole new level. She literally keeps her daughter-in-law under lock and key. She also “teaches” her how to cook. She tells her to be more like Patrizia, Marinela’s friend who no one knows is Don Pietro’s informant. Those are little snubs. She is also threatening and makes Marinela serve her constantly. She rarely leaves her alone.
A Passionate Affair
Marinela only really gets to see one other person on a regular basis. Mario, Scianel’s driver, is also with them often. A few episodes ago, viewers saw Mario and Marinela making love in the backseat of the car. Scianel was off on one of her nefarious errands. They express their love for one another. End scene. Scianel doesn’t appear to suspect.
In episode 9, however, she catches on. She overhears Marinela on the phone with Mario and realizes her daughter-in-law is cheating. She starts to notice the way the two look at each other. Scianel purposely gets another driver to take her to see Ciro and tells Mario to take Marinela home. Then, she follows them and sees them making love in the car. Marinela tells Mario that it’s over because Lelluccio is getting out of jail. But it’s too late.
The Stench of Death Lingers
Scianel has Mario killed. She has the killer shoot him in the privates while Scianel looks on. She makes sure Marinela finds out. Lelluccio returns and is furious to learn about his cheating wife. He puts his hands on Marinela’s throat and threatens her. Meanwhile, Scianel and the others celebrate his return. Marinela tells him what seems to be true for everyone in this show:
You want to kill me? Kill me. Go ahead. I’m already dead.
In fact, she also tells him that making love to Mario was the only beautiful thing she did in her life. Lelluccio has sex with a stranger, whose legs viewers see as she gets dressed. He calls Marinela and tells her that sex with someone else wasn’t good. He wants to see her. Scianel wants to kill her. But Lelluccio tells her to mind her business.
Now that the prince is dead, everyone wants to take over the building where he was selling drugs. Scianel goes to Ciro and bids for her son. Ciro agrees Lelluccio will get the building. Trak and the “Alley kids” are angry. They beat up Lelluccio on the night he gets out of jail. The police stop them and take in Lelluccio for the night, which saves his life. It also enrages Scianel. She brutally murders Trak by having someone repeatedly dunk his head in a pool of his own blood and dirty water.
Marinela is trapped. Her mother-in-law wants her dead. Her husband wants her sex. She is in a cycle of abuse and sees no way of getting out. Patrizia is still working at the clothing store, where Scianel shops. She and Marinela remain friends. Patrizia sees an opportunity to get Marinela out of this life and help Don Pietro. He is still trying to make those in Ciro’s alliance turn against one another. So far, it’s working.
So, Patrizia tells Marinela to call this phone number to gain her freedom. Marinela eats dinner with Scianel. Scianel tells her,
Women can’t have freedom unless they never marry…Once I got used to the beating, I gave in. I became a good wife and a good mother.
Then, Lelluccio calls his mother. He tells her he is coming over. He wants to see Marinela. That’s when Marinela calls the number Patrizia slipped her. The men tell Marinela to bring Lelluccio downstairs. Just as she is taking him out for a walk, she says she forgot her purse and to meet her downstairs. She takes two steps and they hear gunshots. She runs down and sees someone else is dead. She flees for her own life. Scianel tells her son they have to lay low until they figure out what this “disgusting whore” is up to. Marinela walks into the police station.
The End Is the Beginning
The end of episode 9 brings viewers back to the start of the series. Back then, Ciro and Gennaro were not at war. Ciro was Gennaro’s mentor. They seemed to genuinely care for one another. Or at least as much as anyone in the mob could care for anyone else. Ciro shows up at the airport where Gennaro is arriving to see his family – the girlfriend and her father. Ciro tells Gennaro that he knows about his deal with the prince, who is now dead. He also reminds him that they were once friends. He says, “Together, we could have turned this world upside down.” He points out that if they get Gennaro’s father out of their way, they still can. He asks Gennaro to think about it. I think we’ll all be thinking about it until the next episode.