Tourism officials in Naples have dreamt up a novel way of combating the city's reputation as the Italian capital of petty crime. They plan to give each visitor a Swatch-like watch to wear while touring the city, advising them to leave their expensive Rolex or equivalent in the hotel safe.
The idea, cooked up by the city's tourist commissioner and the head of an amusement park, envisages a plastic watch adorned with a picture of one of the city's two most famous sights: either the Bay of Naples backed by Mount Vesuvius, or a pizza margherita, which was invented in Naples. The watch will be accompanied by a booklet giving tips on how to prevent a trip to Naples ending in tears. "You have arrived in the city of marvels," it says. "We advise you, however, not to add unpleasant surprises to the many splendid ones you will enjoy here. Leave your Rolex in the hotel."
Tourist bureau creativity is not the only reason Naples is on Italy's mind this week. The election of Giorgio Napolitano to the Italian presidency this week has thrown a powerful light on the city where the 80-year-old former Communist was born and which he represented in parliament for 43 years.
Referred to in the Italian papers as "Sir Giorgio" or "Lord Napolitano" on account of his rigid bearing and perennially blank poker face, supposedly reminiscent of an English gentleman, Mr Napolitano's home town has not acquired its unhappy fame for Rolex- snatching by chance. Although one of Italy's most magnificent cities, it is also arguably the most anarchic, with massive unemployment and an acute problem with its own version of the Mafia, the Camorra.
This week, Mr Napolitano, whose thesis at university was entitled "The absence of development in the Mezzogiorno [the south of Italy]", said his decision to join the Communist Party in 1945 "was prompted more by a desire to fight injustice than by ideology". …