Naples has a long, proud history as the cultural and spiritual capital of Southern Italy.  The city and surrounding region has also suffered from government incompetence, corruption, bureaucratic apathy, and its citizens’ frustrations.  For several years stories about trash piling up in the streets of Naples and the surrounding provinces, due in part from diminished landfill space, have shocked the world and embarrassed Italians.

They are not embarrassed any more.  Napolitanos are taking action and are cleaning up their city, making it even more beautiful in the process.  Their activism and unity are not only inspirational, but serve as as a model for communities around the world who are tired of their governments avoiding their responsibility to provide safety and services for their cities.

In my research for an upcoming article on Guardian Sustainable Business, I have come across three organizations that are making Naples the center of culture and tourism the way this region should be.  Ambiente Solidale, a local civic society, is establishing a bevy of programs that is taking on waste diversion, recycling, and creating jobs in the process.  Friarielli Ribelli (“rebel broccoli,” a play of words on a local vegetable) arms themselves with hoes and rakes in their battle to create more green spaces, and with their guerilla gardening tactics, are beautifying the city and restoring pride throughout Naples.  And CleaNap leverages flash mob-like tactics to organize locals young and old to purge the city’s stunning piazzas and scenic streets of garbage that too often has accumulated on street corners.

You do not need to understand Italian to understand how motivating and inspiring these organizations are.  Below, the video tour of Naples and surrounding regions demonstrates how beautiful southern Italy is and reminds us that the bad memories of Naples’ streets descending into filthy chaos will soon only be bad memories.  Watch for more postings and videos on this subject in the coming weeks. Enjoy the pictures, too.

Cleaning up Naples, courtesy Friarielli Ribelli

Cleaning up Naples, courtesy Friarielli Ribelli

removing trash from a Naples piazza, courtesy CleaNap

removing trash from a Naples piazza, courtesy CleaNap

Getting ready to garden, courtesy Friarielli Ribelli

Getting ready to garden, courtesy Friarielli Ribelli

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About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.