domenica 6 aprile 2014
Here it is, the best panorama in the world: the one from the house where I was born and raised and from which I could see all the gulf from one end to the other and the Vesuvio, the islands, Sorrento. I have always had the city at my feet. When I go there I love to sit on the balcony and stay in the sun looking at the sea for a long time and reminding of when I was a little girl and was running all around the balcony with my sister and brother. The best thing to do in Naples is to walk around. Yes to walk. It is a big city but most of the places are reachable by foot and the walks are fantastic. Like that you can avoid the infamous traffic and the mess of public transportation except for the old Funicolari (i.e. Funicular railways: there are four of them in town and work very well)and the metro system which is now very good. I usually take them since I am from the area situated up high on the hill called Vomero so I need to if I'm in hurry but if I am not I can just walk all the way down by the stairs which cut the city in half and go from above to the lower part of the city. If you take the funicolare and the metro usually you would get off in the chi chi area of Via dei Mille or in the historic center (Via Toledo or Piazza Dante) . Both areas are very nice and allow you to walk around historical places and monuments and then stretch to the sea. Now what's there to see in Naples ? Or better what's not there to see? Where do I start? Let's try a list: Castles: We have three. Castel Sant'Elmo up above where you can see all of the city. There is also a very nice museum of Neapolitan art and presepi (creches).Castel Dell'ovo by the sea, a very old castle from the Middle Age, which has become the symbol of the city throughout the centuries and gets its name from the legend that there was an egg hidden in its foundations on which all the luck or disgrace of the castle would depend on. Maschio Angioino the one portraited in the first picture built by the Angioins, our French conquerors at the time. Did you know we had many dominations? We had the Greeks , the Romans, the Normans, the Svevis, the FRench, The Spanish, again the French, again the Spanish and finally no one. Well we inherited many things from our invaders but we remain developed a truly genuine Neapolitan character and mind which are somehow unique. Presumptious? Maybe but meet some Nepolitans and then you will tell me... Let's go on with our list: Museums: Museo di San Martino (see above at Castel Sant'Elmo), Museo Nazionale where you can find ancient art from the greek period up until Reinassance. Museo Madre. Modern art museum situated in the heart of the historic center. Churches: more than a hundred and most of them in the historic center. My favourites: Chiesa del Gesù , Basilica e Monastero di Santa Chiara, Chiesa di San Domenico Maggiore, Cappella di Sansevero. This last one is famous because of the famous sculpture of the Veiled Christ which is something unique. See for yourself. Monuments: Palazzo reale, Teatro San Carlo, Galleria Umberto I, Piazza del Plebiscito (this ones are all at a walking distance from each other). One of the main walks you can take in the city is the one in the historic center starting from Piazza Dante walking down the decumani (ancient roman streets ) crossing the area, all the way down to the Duomo and Castel Capuano where the Court of Justice used to be. Doing that you want to stop at San Gregorio Armeno to look at all the old shops selling little statues for creches, a very old tradition we have for Xmas. The creches can be huge and full of characters and there are competitions every year for the best Neapolitan creche. Once you get to Castel Capuano you want to stop for the probably the best pizza you will ever have at Michele , a very old pizzeria where only Margherita and Marinara are sold (for Neapolitans only those two are the real pizzas , the rest doesn't count)with a drink on marble old tables for as little as € 5,00. Go there early: there is always a line and you have to take a number. Have you seen "Eat,pray, love?" Well Julia Roberts and her friend were eating pizza at Michele. If you want also an excellent pizza in the are go to Brandi which is also delicious and has also pizza fritta (fried pizza) a little heavier but soooo tasty... As far as food is concerned I wrote about it in my last post and I can say there are so many places where you can eat well in Naples. Depends on what you're looking for. Mattozzi for example is where you can taste many specialties of Neapolitan Cuisine (gattò di patate, sartù di riso etc.. ), and if you want excellent but a little more pricey food you should go to Rosiello on the beautiful hill of Posillipo. Also there are a lot of places by the sea. One of them which I really like is called Stella. It's fairly new: I mean it wasn't there when I was a little girl like the others but it's in the area by the sea closed to traffic. These are the pictures I took when I went to eat there. Another very interesting walk is the one in Quartieri Spagnoli (Spanish neighbourhoods) which are the heart of the city. There you can walk in the narrow streets,(vicoli) hear the voice of the vendors, see the clothes hanging from the balconies, and look at this very old quarters where the spirit of Naples truly lives. I never realize how much I love this city until I talk about it although for many other reasons I don't like it, but it's my hometown and I feel Neapolitan from the tip of my hair to the bottom of my feet. I am sure I will have forgotten many other things I can say about it and maybe I will write again about la mia bella Napoli , where my heart belongs and will always stay. Ciao for now.