It’s like Asian Europe. A muddy diamond that gleams once you wipe the dirt off. Culture, history and humanity living cheek by jowl in a glorious cacophony of sights, sounds and smells.
I had no idea what to expect from Naples, and I was certainly a little nervous about my night there en route to the AmalfiCoast, but I had told myself I’d be silly to miss the Archaeological Museum if I had the opportunity. How wrong can one person be???? It wasn’t the Museum I would be silly to miss, it was the heaving mass of life and love and raw, seething humanity that is Naples itself.
Walking the ‘Spaccanapoli’, the heart of Naples and the pedestrian street that runs through old Naples, you fall in love with this gritty, and no-holds-barred city. People jostle all around you, going about their daily life and narrow alleys run away from you with only a cat and some washing for company.
And it seems no-holds-barred is something that’s been the theme of this area since antiquity. A cheeky peek into the “Secret Room” of the museum will show you how irreverent the locals have been for years, and how infectious their love of life is.
While a visit to the Museum is a must for anyone in the area, I implore you to follow that with a wander through the streets of Naples and down the Spaccanapoli to experience first hand what makes this vibrant city tick. At the time of my visit, there had been a garbage strike for several months, and the rubbish was piled 7 feet high in the streets, but although this would have really disconcerted me in other cities, here, it just seemed to add to my overall experience.
When the overload of senses gets too much for you, what better way to recover than in Naples oldest pizzeria – L’antica Pizzeria “Da Michele”. An institution in Naples and serving only 2 styles of piping hot, fresh and wonderful pizza since 1870, don’t let the “Eat, Pray, Love” publicity machine put you off. An icy cold Peroni and a fabulously fresh and tasty pizza will cost you next to nothing (okay, maybe 8 euros), and testament to its ongoing tastiness is the line of locals that still queue out the front.
Just across the road is another pizzeria (Trianon) which is well worth a visit should you be in town for more than one pizza overload, and just up the street is a gelataria that’s worthy of a stop to give you some strength to get you back to your hotel. My brother’s eyes almost fell out over the liquorice gelato so I guess that would be one to try.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not an ‘easy’ European city and life does not stop here so you can speak slowly and get directions, but what better to add a little ‘spice’ to your Italian adventure and turn your Napolitana into an Amatriciana?