Naples is the largest city in southern Italy. Until 1860s was the third city in Europe – a magnificent capital of the vast Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, ruled by a powerful dynasty of the Bourbons. For centuries, the city was the cultural capital of the peninsula and the symbol of technological development – here worked first printing houses and came out first newspapers, it was created the famous San Carlo Theatre (41 years elder from La Scala in Milan!), there were appeared railroads in 1839 already, worked lighting system of the city, functioned important shipyards. The city was the “must see? place on the journey map of the young European aristocracy of the Enlightenment.
After the unification of Italy and the fall of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1861. city ??ceased to host the royal court, lost administrative functions of the capital and it began the process of a degradation of the city (with the whole south of Italy, we can say).
Today, the splendor of Naples is visible at every turn ? the whole Naples is a big downtown with magnificent temples, theaters, historic palaces, covered with magnificent paintings, with antique statues and carvings. Under cobblestones are hidden lower levels of the city – remains of buildings, squares, streets and old catacombs of Naples – city founded in Vw. BC as a Greek colony and developing and growing for another turbulent centuries of its history.
Unfortunately, today most of the buildings are neglected: the courtyards sounds like slums, with plasters and balconies falling off, holey roofs, walls covered with graffiti … The part of buildings is abandoned, often the lowest levels are divided to micro-apartments for poor (mainly) immigrant residents.
Now imagine a giant Arabic souk with stalls, traffickers and strength streets, add the large dose of southern Italian temperament – this is Naples! Sometimes I like to stop and just look at the exuberant spectacle – noise, screams, honking cars (of course nothing about traffic rules), arriving and departing moto, often with 3, 4 people and without helmets. All discuss a raised voice in a specific Neapolitan dialect, of course gesticulating with both hands … It is not possible to get bored!
Some people say that Naples is not to visits – Naples is to discover and feel. There is some truth in it. Maybe that’s why this city inspires such excitement among visitors – either love it or hate. Simply – you visit it by emotions and not well-trodden tourist trails.
By the way Naples hasn’t well-organized tourist infrastructure, there isn’t strong tourist promotion of the city and the region, there aren?t tourist routes and descriptions of objects (even in Italian), it’s hard to communicate in a language other than Italian. The city is outside the standard tourist route through Italy.
Too bad because every person interested in history and heritage feel here like in paradise visiting medieval castles Castel Nuovo, Castel dell?Ovo, Castel dell Sant’Elmo, the seventeenth-century Royal Palace of the Bourbons, historic churches and theaters, including the world-famous San Carlo Theatre, ancient catacombs, cisterns of the city or Bourbon Tunnel.
You can go even deeper and get to the heart (or bomb) of Naples and visit Pozzuoli: the city extends on Campi Flegrei – the most dangerous volcano in Europe after all.
Speaking of volcanoes, how don?t have a look at Vesuvius, in whose shadow extends to the city? How not to look into Pompeii and Herculaneum near Naples and totally destructed by the volcano? In times of a splendor of this cities Naples already existed, and when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79r. city ??celebrated its 400th anniversary …
The city got a special charm by its location on hills therefore the city is multilevel. Buildings, streets, bridges, alleys and the whole architecture is fitted into the hills. Thanks this in some places there is really magnificent view on the city. In the evening go e.g. to the Castel Sant?Elmo, take a piece of pizza sit on the stone wall look down on the city.
Very nice view of the city is also from the Castel dell’Ovo – located on the lungomare (promenade). It is open to the public (free of charge) for the day whereas in the evening, when the gate is closed, you can sit on the island in one of the climate bar or restaurant.
From lungomare road leads to the Piazza del Plebiscito so called from plebiscite carried out in 1860. , as a result of which the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was incorporated into the new Italian State. Eyes immediately catches the long colonnade of the nineteenth-century church of San Francesco di Paola, designed in the shape of the Roman Pantheon. This facade is adorned with statues of the rulers of Naples since a foundation of the Kingdom in the XII century. A little bit ironic Is a presence of the king Vittorio Emanuele II, terminating the peloton – the first king of united Italy denying the autonomy of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, with its capital in Naples. In addition he?s Piemontese! (from the Nord) from the dynasty of Savoy. Here he triumphs with a raised sword over the Bourbons from the Royal Palace opposite the Square …. It?s really ironic …
During the day (not at night!) you must also wander among narrow streets founding charming houses and alleys (traditionally with laundry), small local stalls with fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as family restaurants with a really unique atmosphere.
And here we come to the secret key that opens a heart of every tourist: Neapolitan cuisine! Restaurants, pizzerias, trattorias (family restaurants, you feel like at home), rosticerie (here you can find warm snacks), osterie (restaurants with a local wine) … Naples is known for its cuisine and Neapolitan pizzaioli (pizza masters) are known all over the world .
The simplicity of flavors, fresh local products, wonderful aroma and unforgettable taste. Yes!
Moreover, due to its location on the Gulf of Naples, the city is famous for its seafood and fish – you must try fresh mussels (cozze), shrimp (gamberi), squid (calamari) and octopus (polyp). Delicious!
In this range of flavors and aromas you cannot forget about a coffee (stretta stretta as Neapolitans like it ? means a few drops of a really strong coffee) with sfogliatelle or baba‘.
So … Why not pop out to Naples for a cup of really good coffee?