Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Park to Park 2013 – Running Between NYC's Central Park and Naples' Villa Communale

    Runners enjoying the beauty of Naples.

New York City and Naples, Italy share many important connections; some physical, some more esoteric. Both cities lie on the 41st parallel of our planet.  Countless Neapolitans made NYC their home in generations past and their descendants remain as one of Manhattan’s most distinctive ethnic groups.   Because of this, the cities share one of the world’s most popular cuisines, along with a deep love of music, opera and theater.  Neapolitans brought Pulcinella and the rest of the Commedia Dell’Arte to NYC and it remains alive in both cities today.  Both cities “never sleep” and are melting pots of many of the world’s cultures, creating a constant flow of imagination and creativity.

Given all of this, creating further connections between Naples and New York just feels right.  So Emilio Gramanzini, a native of Naples who runs in the NYC Marathon, decided that running can be another way to join these two locations.  NYC has Central Park and Naples has Villa Communale, a centuries-old park created by the Bourbon kings.  In NYC you can run along the New York Harbor and in Naples, the stunning Gulf of Naples.  Why not?  Five years ago, Park to Park (P2P) was born with the idea that runners would participate in the NYC Marathon and come to Naples for the 10K along Via Caracciolo and the Gulf of Naples.  And like the NYC Marathon, P2P Naples is open to runners of all levels.

The 2007 inaugural race in Naples had 600 runners and 800 in 2008.  Since 2010 there has been a race between members of the Italian and US Armed Forces and Police from the nearby NATO base as well as the US Navy, NYPD and NYFD.    In 2012 the Military Corps of the Italian Red Cross joined the fun.  It has become one of the city’s most important sporting events.   The winner gets the Interforces Championship Trophy, designed by Gramanzini and sculpted by Lello Esposito, whose works are exhibited around the world.  

P2P 2013 Naples has something else no other race has - the support of the Association of Neapolitan Pizza Chefs.   On May 10 & 11, the Chefs will cook their specialities to the delight of stomachs everywhere.  Proceeds from sales will go to purchase defibrillators for Naples sports facilities.

P2P 2013 Naples will be held on Sunday, May 12, followed by the NYC Marathon in Central Park on May 19.

Be a part of P2P – 2013, sponsored by Napoli Road Runners.  

To learn more, visit the website.

What to do in Naples?

If you go to Naples for the race, what will you do the rest of the time?  Also, what if you’re not a runner, but you’re traveling with one?  No problem.  Naples is chock full of beauty, great food and wine.

For special travel packages which include stays as Grand Hotel Santa Lucia and Hotel Royal Continental, contact

Another recommended hotel is Hotel Naples.

For details about what to do in Naples, see my article.