AT A bar called “University” in San Giovanni a Teduccio, a rundown suburb of Naples, two blown-up photos adorn the walls: Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs, founder of Apple. Nelson Ciarravolo, the owner, put them up when the bar opened two years ago, long before the news came that Apple would open its first European iOS (its mobile operating system) developer academy in the district. Locals joke that Mr Jobs’s photo may have gone up more recently. Either way, it signals that Naples has embraced the American tech giant. On October 6th Apple held the opening event for the new academy, which it will run in collaboration with Federico II University, after which the bar is named.

“We go to places nobody thought were possible”, explained Lisa Jackson, vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives at Apple, at the inaugural event. Naples lags far behind northern Italy for transport and digital infrastructure, and criminality is rife. The Camorra, a mafia gang, runs one of the biggest drug-trafficking enterprises in the world from the city. The neighbourhood in which Apple has opened the academy (it is located inside a new campus of Federico II University) used to be more dangerous. “We used to see our friends die on the ground,” recalls Davide Varlese, a cousin of Mr Ciarravolo. But things have improved over the past decade as authorities have...Continue reading