The bond between Diego Armando Maradona and the city of Naples goes beyond football. It is a visceral, deep and intense relationship. It has left an indelible mark on the history of both. Maradona was not only an extraordinary footballer for the Neapolitans, but he became an icon, a symbol of pride and unification for an entire city. We are talking about a story of love and passion that continues to burn brightly even after his passing.
For the occasion, we retrace part of the life of the Argentine legend in Naples, recalling the corners of the city that are most closely linked to his figure. We are talking about authentic places of worship, which over time have become pilgrimage destinations for the faithful who have flocked to venerate him and admire his past deeds, which still echo in the present. Because his was an authentic revolution with the flavour of infinity, which will therefore live forever.
5. The murales in Quartieri Spagnoli
Speaking of places of worship, it is impossible not to start by talking about the now mystical 'Maradona murales'. This is precisely the most important mural in Naples featuring El Pibe de Oro, located in the Quartieri Spagnoli, precisely at Via Emanuele de Feo 60. The work dates back to 1990, created by artist Mario Filardi to celebrate Napoli's second Scudetto. A new restoration, the final one, took place in 2016 at the hands of Salvatore Iodice. Since then, and especially after Diego's death in 2020, this place has become a place of pilgrimage for fans and tourists from all over the world. There are numerous tributes from sportsmen and fans, including memorabilia, shirts and scarves, left to celebrate Maradona's greatness.
4. The Centro Paradiso in Soccavo
Another place sacred to the memory of Maradona, where, unfortunately, desolation and abandonment now prevail, is the Centro Paradiso. This is the historic sports centre where Napoli used to train, an authentic second home for El Pibe de Oro. We are in the district of Soccavo, an area that used to go into total disarray when Diego passed by and went to train. It was built in 1975 and reached its peak during the years of Maradona's Napoli. However, with the Azzurri's failure also came his. As of now, the sports centre is in a state of disrepair and for sale, but outside it stands a mural by the Neapolitan street artist Mario Farina. In the depiction we find the 'Pibe de Oro' sitting on a ball together with his daughter Dalma. With the hope that there may also be redemption and salvation for the Centro Paradiso.
3. The statuettes of St. Gregorio Armeno
The roll-call of the sacred and devotional could hardly miss San Gregorio Armeno, the historic street of nativity scenes in Naples. This is why, among the many nativity scenes here and the many depictions, Diego Armando Maradona also makes his mark here. Indeed, over time, local craftsmen have created, and continue to create, statuettes depicting Maradona as an icon and symbol of the city. These small sculptures show the Argentinean footballer at the most iconic moments of his career in Naples. These can be the lifting of the Scudetto or even simply a match with the Azzurri jersey. Maradona figurines have become an important part of local handicrafts and are highly sought after by collectors and football fans. They fully represent the love and devotion of Neapolitans for their hero.
2. The flat in Posillipo in via Scipione Capece
In his seven intense years in Naples, Diego Armando Maradona made the most of the city's unique beauty. Clear proof of this is the house where El Pibe de Oro lived, an authentic jewel in the hill district of Posillipo. We are precisely in Via Scipione Capece, in a low-rise building in the city's most luxurious residential area. Little to add, here the gulf and Vesuvius are visible from every corner. In this flat he lived with his historical partner Claudia Villafane, with whom he also lived a curious anecdote. We go back in time to 1991, to when one day shots were fired from the windows of the apartment with an air rifle. The reason? Diego had grown tired of the suffocating 'pressure' of journalists and the total lack of privacy. To this day, that street, Via Scipione Capece, is still fondly remembered by Napoli fans.
1. The "Diego Armando Maradona" Stadium
We could not but end with the 'Diego Armando Maradona' Stadium in Fuorigrotta, the theatre where the Neapolitan legend's show was staged. His first taste in the arena took place on 5th July 1984, when the historic presentation before the Naples public took place. The crowd there still remembers that day with such passion, as if it had been a match, a success. In this stadium, Maradona won two scudetti, the first in the club's history. In addition, he played the first leg final of the historic 1989 Uefa Cup there. Let's not forget the World Cup final in 1990 with his Argentina team and the memorable quarter-final against Italy. On that day, the whole stadium cheered against the Italian national team, united arm in arm with their idol to accompany him to glory. Love in joy and pain, because the passion lived deep even and above all on the day of his death on 25th November 2020. A spontaneous crowd of fans immediately poured outside the stadium to commemorate and greet him. A few days later, on 4th December 2020, the City of Naples decided to name the stadium after Diego Armando Maradona. The Cumana station, a few steps away from the stadium, was also named Mostra-Maradona Station.