Second visit to Italy this year and I didn’t really know what to expect from Naples. It can be hard to strike a balance before visiting some place new, between doing your homework, but not so much that you pre-form too much of an opinion and lose the joy of exploring.
Wonderful weather for the entire three night stay (it got as high as 30 degrees !), eating out in the bustling Neapolitan streets in the evening, where I have to say we generally felt safe and welcome. Our brilliant apartment sat right in the historical area of the city centre, where many Neapolitans still live, keeping the prices in bars and restaurants extremely low, unlike similar areas of Rome and Florence.
The people are fantastic. Fiercely proud of the city which only became part of Italy around 150 years ago, having developed with huge influence from both the Greeks and the Romans. It’s a hub for large cruise ships on the Med, and has a huge student population which makes for a very lively atmosphere, day and night. Make sure you step inside some of the many churches, whose doors are usually open – there are some incredible sites to see through the most modest of doors.
Vesuvius stands tall outside the city and an inexpensive train will take you to both Pompei and Sorrento, both of which are well worth a visit. But beware, the train is renowned for pick-pockets targeting tourists and sure enough, I suffered a brazen snatch and run of my mobile phone. Sorrento was beautiful, the perfect setting for some antipasti and a glass of red – even though the streets were incredibly busy with tourists, there was no problem getting seated in any of the restaurants – it may be different in the height of summer.
We didn’t have time to take one of the many boat trips to the likes of Capri from the harbour area of the city. Next time. And there will be one. There’s a nearby national park with great hill walking, and much more incredible coast line yet to be discovered.
Of course, we ate pizza. A lot. Every day in fact. If you’re a pizza fan, this really is the business. When you eat it, you’ll know. If you’re not a pizza fan, Neapolitan pizza could change your opinion. Then there’s the pastries and Ice Cream. Wow.
The trip was a prize from our local Pizza experts at Napizza (www.napizza.uk). Having been to Naples and seen the care and passion put in to their signature product, I know how close to the real thing the guys at Napizza are getting. Maybe just a bit of sunshine is the difference …..
Naples airport is bright and has a great choice of places to eat and drink. It’s also pretty close to the city centre with a taxi setting you back no more than 25 euros. As always, make for the official rank though, you’ll be pestered by others as soon as you set foot outside.
In short, it was a big YES from my daughter and I. Go visit Napoli !