A review of "Montedidio" by Erri De Luca published by Feltrinelli 2001. ISBN 88-07-01600-1. In 2001, the appearance of two luminous novels about boyhood rites of passage and the loss of innocence caught the imagination of the Italian reading public. Although Niccolò Ammaniti’s 'Io non ho paura' and Erri De Luca’s "Montedidio" were very different in their narrative approach and techniques (Ammaniti’s text had originally been developed for cinema), their sensitive exploration of human relationships from a child’s perspective assured them prize-winning success in the highly competitive literary market. However, while Ammaniti’s protagonist, Michele, spends his free time pedalling through a wide open, rural landscape, the unnamed boy in "Montedidio" must grow his adult wings amidst the crush of a sprawling urban metropolis: the ancient city of Naples, a city that never sleeps.