I landed in Naples with no forward address. Most people get to Naples and then catch a train and head to Sorrento or to the Amalfi Coast. Or they wait for the ferry to Capri or Sicily. But for this trip, my destination was Naples. I spoke to a lot of people before I went on the trip and they all looked at me like I was mad. But you know me, I always run to the places where others don't want to go or the places that aren't known and trust me, Naples is a diamond in the rough.
What I did:
I ate. I ate so much food I almost didn't want to leave. Naples is the home of the pizza. Oh yeah, you thought it was just Italy that was the pizza land but I can assure you, Naples made it all happen. So much so that the best pizzeria in the world is in Naples. Have you ever read the book or watched the movie titled "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. (If not it's her story about searching for herself after realising that where she was isn't where she wanted to be). Anyway in the movie, she is played by Julia Roberts and she goes to Pizzeria da Michele where the menu only has a Margherita. So I thought, why not go to this famous pizzeria and see what the fuss is all about. I got there, in time for dinner round about 8pm (Europeans eat late) and thought it'll be easy, just get to the fancy restaurant get a table and enjoy pizza. Only there wasn't a fancy restaurant. In fact I walked past it a few times before I realised that the place that was full of people was where I needed to be. To be honest, had I not been travelling on my own I would not have gotten a place to sit (because that's all you need here) and I wouldn't have been able to have another opportunity to come as they were closing for the holidays the next day. So I was in luck when I went to their version of the maitre d' and asked for a table for one (this is always a fun experience, at least for me because they always don't believe that I am travelling alone.) He got me a table really quickly ,sharing with fellow young travellers that had come from Austin. We were all waiting expectedly for this pizza and when it came, it didn't disappoint. It was simple. Just some dough with double cheese and the best tomato sauce I've ever had. There was also some olive oil and basil on the top and that was it. No other fancy toppings that we're always looking for adding extras. And I kid you not, it was the best pizza I have ever had in my life and I'm afraid I've been scared for life. I don't think I'll be able to have pizza in any other place and enjoy it in the same manner. And if you go there, don't expect to find a fancy restaurant. Despite it's famous status, it's still a simple place doing what they do best. Serving the best pizza in the world and it was only €5 😛
I did go to another pizzeria the next evening for dinner. It was the one I wanted to visit that night, Gino's but there was no way I was getting in there. The queue wasn't even a queue and with my non- existent Italian I wasn't going to be able to understand how it worked. But if you do go to Naples, make Gino's on your list of places to go. Pizzeria Attanasio was still pretty good I must say, but this time I decided to be adventurous with my pizza choice and went for mozzarella buffalo. It was still good, but not as good as the first one.
In Naples, one of the traditional dishes is sfogliatela. Heaven in your mouth. And you must have one. The most beautiful pastry I've ever had, I literally had 3 of them in one sitting for breakfast at the hotel. I think I need to learn how to make them myself :)
You also can't go to Italy and not have gelato. I normally will just have one gelato when I travel but I think this time I had two. Just look at it :P. I posted it on social media and it was dubbed the Pinocchio gelato. This baby can be found from a place called Gay Odin. Apparently they do heavenly chocolate mixes but sadly I can't eat chocolate ice cream (or cakes for that matter) I know. They've told me I'm missing out
I wondered the streets of Naples and met a castle
I loved exploring the streets of Naples. Being in another Italian city just made my heart go pitter patter in ways I didn't know was possible. Getting lost in those streets was the one of the best part of my trip. It's the best part of any trip :)
European Cities always have a castle in places which is easily accessible and Naples was no exception. As you go towards the Port of Naples, you'll see Castel Nuovo the majestic medieval castle. Right the in the city centre. But make this your last stop because I still have more to show.
I saw one of the "Most impressive underground stations"
In 2012, The Telegraph published their most impressive underground stations in the world article. Read it here. Toledo Metro Station hits that mark. I almost walked into a grandma as I couldn't believe the sight before me. London, we need to up our game.
I walked into some interesting churches
The phrase don’t judge a book by it’s cover comes to mind here. I’ve been to places where from the architecture of the building you can tell that it’s a church. Not in Naples. Here the normal churches are locked away with no usage in sight which is rather sad. But then the ones that are operational don’t look like cathedrals so it’s easy for them to be missed out. Make sure you go to Chiesa del Gesu Nuovo. I know it doesn't look like a cathedral before I stepped in but you'll see from the pictures below, you're going to be impressed.
Another cathedral to go to would be Duomo. When I walked in, I was dumbfounded by the beauty of the place. So much so that I didn’t take a picture using my DSLR, I just used my phone and even then I felt like I was being a naughty girl, and a priest was about to come and tell me off. Also remember if you do decide to go to Naples and want to check out the cathedrals, if you’re a lady, makes sure you are dressed appropriately. They may not let you in if you’re wearing shorts. Yes old fashioned I know, but just go with it :)
I saw the gem of the gems : Posillpo
To the west of the city you’ll find Posillipo. The coastal views from here will take your breath again. Over and over again as you walk the 5km from Cape de Posillipo to Mergellina. (I wondered why I was doing that). Aside from the coastal views you’ll find a some of the most beautiful villas you’ve ever seen. Some of them even date to the 18th Century such as Villa Donn’Anna which has a lot of history to it
All of these Villas are either by the coast or have an amazing view of it. And you have a great view of Mt Vesuvius. So if you’re planning on climbing it, you can see what you’re up for.
You can also, if you are lucky go down to the coves. Most of them are on private property but I found a set of stairs. And everyone knows if there’s no gate, or a sign that says private property, it’s just waiting for you to explore it. And I did just that. The only thing I didn’t anticipate was how far down the cove was and how steep the stairs were. But as I was going down those stairs the one thing on my mind was not that I was about to see a cove for the first time, but that I didn’t want an Italian Nonna to come at me with a wooden spoon. Thankfully that didn’t happen and I was able to see this beauty. The water here is so clear, you can see to the bottom of it.
Aside from the rocky coves if you head towards Mergellina, you’ll find the local beach. It’s not the Maldives I know, but if you’re looking for a place to sunbath and you don’t really want to do it at your hotel then this is the best place for you to go. Plus you get to see this amazing statue. Doesn’t he look so smug !
Where I stayed:
Palazzo Caracciolo :
I still can't pronounce the name of this hotel but I kid you not it was the best place I have stayed so far. I've never been to a place where you get out, and the concierge already have taken your bags to the reception. Yep that kind of amazing service. The hotel is set in the historic part of Naples and I love that about hotels. Being woken up by the church bells was probably my favourite way of waking up. My favourite part of the hotel was the courtyard. Having breakfast in this place was magical.
I loved the room that I was in. The bathroom made my jaw drop and I couldn't close my mouth. It was that beautiful. You can tell from the video below how excited I was. (By the way I am in love with Instagram Stories. There was a reason why I never created a Snapchat account ! ) I'm hoping to share more videos about my trip, so I'll learn how to make better videos. I promise :)
I wouldn’t be a good friend if I didn’t caution you. Like any other city, if you don’t call this place home, it can be intimidating and sometimes reading things online will make you even more skittish.
Firstly, there’s a lot of pick-pocketting that happens. You know how to avoid that though. Be street smart, don’t have your valuables on show and not have a good grip on them and be careful going through crowds of people. That’s where they normally would target because you’re not concentrating on what’s happening to you, only what’s around.
Secondly, don’t go out for drinks with strangers. I don’t care how friendly you are, just don’t do it. At all.
Thirdly. Be extra careful when you are walking around the city. The driving here is crazy at best ,and “pedestrian crossing” seems to have a different meaning here than anywhere else. Meaning they won’t stop for you (unless they are really nice)so when crossing the road, look and cross with confidence. They will stop for you.
But besides that, you have to give Naples a chance. Most of the things that I did, I did them in less than 24 hours. So you can see the beautiful Naples and then head over to Sorrento.
Please let me know what you think of this blog post. Did you like reading about Naples ? Have I convinced you to go there ? Let me know if you've booked your flight :P .
Till next time