Early morning flight for 25 EUR but it was totally worth it. 🙂 We woke up at 3:30 and landed to Naples just before 9:00.
Upon our arrival we have soon noticed the chaotic city and how nobody respects the traffic lights. However, it took us one day to adjust.
Our accommodation was in the city center in some old 19th century palace.
However, there is no reception so we talked a bit italian and soon discovered that we should sit at the coffee place opposite of the building, have an espresso and wait the owner. We also tried sfogliatelle or translated: lobster’s tail. It is original napolitano (Campania region) recipe.
We started to wander around through this chaotic city full of grafittis. The old city – Citta Vecchia has some old and high buildings dating from 16h century, creating some narrow passages and really narrow streets. But somehow logical to the Italians.
First settled by Greeks in 2nd millenium BCE, then the Romans, then it became capital of the Duchy of Naples (7 – 12 century – Angevin Dynasty), then of the Kingdom of Naples (13 – 19 century) and finally of the Two Sicilies until the unification of Italy in 1861.
Wherever you look in Naples you will see artworks, even in the streets. It’s not a joke: street artists always loved this city and often leaved a sign of their passage. Maybe, some of the best artworks are just the ones in the streets. Many of them connected to the religion.
Visiting Naples’s historic center means traveling through twenty centuries of history. The design of its streets, piazzas, churches, monuments and public buildings and castles constitute a jewel box of artistic and historical treasures of exceptional importance, so much so that together, they earned their spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
We continued towards the Piazza San Lorenzo Maggiore with the church from 14th century.
We entered the church to admire the ceiling above us – indeed painted in 16th century representing the evocative atmosphere.
Precedding further down from the medieval level, we faced the Roman and 3 metres lower the Greek settlements. To be more precise – the catacombs.
The claustrophobic me managed to survive up to 20 min and then run away to some fresh air. The streets were chaotic again but the air was clearer. And the sun was there. Btw, I noticed that the nativity scenes were all over the city still, even though the Christmas passed some weeks ago!
I guess, the people of Napoli never miss their opportunity to sell the souvenirs. Btw, red pepper is the luck charm of Napoli, or should I say Nea Polis? 🙂
The patron of Naples is San Genaro thanks to his reliquary of the blood which heals the pilgrims for centuries. Hence we visited the Cathedral where his body lays. Twice a year, the body is taken out for the ceremony and celebration. Don’t know why twice a year?
The present cathedral was commissioned by King Charles I of Anjou in early 12th century.
Finally lunch! Pizza or pasta? Hard choice, but we were really hungry, startijng our day at 3:30, already walked more than 15 km that day and had in mind that pizza actually came from Napoli!
Did you know that Diego Maradona was playing in Napoli football club? Apparently, the Napolitans respecting him so much, calling him Italian and even having a bar to his name with his hair as relics.
The bar is callled Bar Nilo and contains a chapel with Maradona’s name as santo.
Time for an espresso and something sweet. Boy we became Italians quickly, having our short coffee at the bar, standing while sipping. How should I explain you that a Croatian girl like me takes her coffee slowly, some time for some hours, enjoying every sip? 🙂
Beware! Another did you know on its way!
Did you know that Naples has more than 500 churches. This boasts the highest number of churches in the world: we’re talking about an artistic and spiritual heritage of enormous importance, formed within seventeen centuries; this is the reason, since ‘700, it has been named the “city of 500 domes”. Early christian or gothic, baroque or neoclassical, the churches of Naples can mix contrasting and pluralist styles and traditions, bringing down the visitor both in a magical and almost pagan atmosphere and in a profoundly mystical and Christian experience.
Somehow, we saw this:
And we decided to enter.
It is a double floor church where the grounds floor is a church decorated in familiar style but the lower ground is in grey, black and white, shaddy and reminding of purgatory.
The next stop was National Archaeological Museum: from early Naples until today. I was, as always, impressed with classical statues of Greek and Roman Gods.
The afternoon brought even more sun and we wanted to get some more of it. The sea was so close!
Piazza del Plebiscito is named after the plebiscite taken on October 2, 1860 that brought Naples into the unified Kingdom of Italy under the House of Savoy. It is located very closely to the gulf of Naples, and bounded on the east by the Royal Palace with the statues of all the kingls of Naples (most of them were spanish and french).
Then finally we strolled down towards the port and Gulf of Naples. With the terrifying vulcano Vesuvio in the background.
The colours of afternoon started to be red and our pressure lower and lower. It was time for another espresso but this time with limoncello – a delicious shot from this region of Campania!
Somehow we found the energy to take a promenade and visit the castels.
I used to read the Courtesan’s Lover – set in 18th century Naples, so I was daydreaming almost every single moment.
And that was it. We literally smashed into our beds before the 20:00. The next morning was again: eat, visit, repeat! 🙂
We started the day again with espresso schiumato and sfogliatelle! 🙂 With little fragolino as an additive (made of strawberry!).
On our way to Pompeii we visited the church where St Peter held his very first mass.