A Journey to Naples
Our journey begins from the top, because a city like Naples has to be taken calmly, a rushed impact is not advisable.
There are a lot of high point from which one can admire the city. Our favorite one is Piazzale Sbrescia, where you can admire the whole gulf laying under Posillipo hill: Mount Vesuvius in front of you, Capri on your right.
The gulf of Naples is considered to be one of the most stunning in the whole world.
It is a marvel one can appriciate only looking with his heart completely open.
The same awe can be experienced looking at the city from the Belvedere of San Martino or from Parco Virgiliano. One just has to choose between the many choices, the feeling will be the same from anywhere you will choose to admire it: pure ashtonishment.
Once you’ll have fed your eyes with this one of a kind view, you can start to get closer to the city and its uniqueness.
Naples has to be enjoyed. It will present you scenes, sensations and tastes that you’ll find only here.
Naples has its problem: sometimes living here is not easy, but it compensates its issues with its generosity, its creativity, its music, art and incredible history.
A quick tour of the city can start from Piazza Del Gesù, where you can admire, besides the majestic obelisk, two very different churches; the church of Gesù Nuovo with its baroque architecture - so different from its façade - and Santa Chiara, that with its early gothic style, seems almost out of place in the chaotic and colorful city center. The monastery of Santa Chiara, on the back of the church, is a must see that inspired a really famous Neapolitan song. Its gorgeous maiolicas you won’t make you regret stopping by.
Exiting Santa Chiara you will find yourself on Spaccanapoli, the lower of the three decumani, or east-west streets, of the grid of the original Greco-Roman city of Neapolis. The name is a popular usage and means, literally, "Naples splitter”. It is derived from the fact that it is very long and from above it seems to divide that part of the city. Every inch of this narrow street looks like a postcard, and it will get you to Piazza San Domenico Maggiore. There you have to stop by Scaturchio to eat a sfogliatella, a babà or a diplomatico, some of the most typical – and delicious - neapolitan desserts. In the same square you’ll also find Palazzo San Severo, where our dear friend, the artist Lello Esposito, has his workshop. If you will stop by, he will welcome you with a big smile. A few steps from the building you’ll find the Cappella San Severo, where the famous Veiled Christ is kept. Every year millions of tourist visit it to see this marvellous statue, I suggest you to join them.
Getting back on spaccanapoli, passing by Piazzetta Nilo, you will get to San Gregorio Armeno, the house of the best neapolitan artisans, famous in the whole world for their nativity scenes. After taking a look at their amazing little sculptures, you will find yourself on Via dei Tribunali, where you can go visit Napoli Sotterranea, the underground roman city, or take a picture with Lello Esposito’s statue of Pulcinella – the character simbol of the city. Here you can also eat a delicious pizza in one of the best pizzerias in the city (I suggest Sorbillo, Di Matteo or Dal Presidente). Prepare yourself for long lines to get a table, but in the wait, you can start enjoying some street food -like frittatina, crocchè or arancino while watching neapolitan people stroll by this unique part of the city. Food in your mounth, laughters is you ears, colours everywhere: you will be totally plunged in this city’s soul. From Via dei Tribunali you will be able to easyly reach the Dome of Naples, where the blood of it’s patron, San Gennaro, is kept. Every 19 of September, the day dedicated to the beloved Saint, in that chuch a miracle happens: the blood of the Saint melts, reassuring the population. If it doesn’t, it is seen as a sign of bad luck, because every time it didn’t something bad happened to the city. Last time, in 1980, a terrible eartquake shook it.
We just walked a few meters, but you could spend a whole day exploring the wonders of Naples' city center.
Besides visiting the historical center, you must see Toledo's metro station -elected the most beautiful in Europe- which is the deepest in the line (it is under the sea level) and will make you feel like you are indeed under water. Walking by Via Toledo you will get to Piazza Del Plebiscito, one of Italy's most gorgeous squares, where you can visit Naples' Royal palace and stop for a coffee at the famous Caffè Gambrinus, eat at Trattoria San Ferdinando or grab a fried pizza at Zia Esterina by Sorbillo. From there, taking Via Chiaia, you can get to the marvellous Piazza dei Martiri, and from there reach the seaside -after stopping by Marinella, the king of ties. Strolling by Via Partenope you can admire the marvellous castel dell'Ovo and enjoy an astonishing view of Naple's bay.
While in Naples, you have to pay a visit to Pompei and, why not, go climb Mount Vesuvius, which, according to Neapolitans, is the protector of the city. It might sound ironic, knowing that it is an active, and potentially destructive, volcano (as Pompei or Herculaneum`s ruins can prove). To get there the most comfortable and quite cheaper way is from Pompei or Herculaneum. Just near the Ercolano Scavi or Pompei Villa dei Misteri Circumvesuviana train station (which you can take in Napoli Centrale), there are a few companies offering transfer to Vesuvius and back. The cost is about 7-10€ both ways , so I‘d suggest you to visit Pompei (or Herculaneum) first, and after that take the bus to Vesuvius. Be sure to wear your most confortable pair of sneakers.
Now our little guide ends, we couldn't take you to Posillipo or Marechiaro, some of Naples' gems, or to the Amalfi Coast, but to see all the beauty that this city - and its surroundings - reserve, you would need a longer journey...