Places to visit in Italy: Naples (Napoli)


I have always had “thing” for Italy and everyone who knows me knows that my favorite food is Pizza. Not the kind with 4 different types of meat and all the toppings you can think of, the kind they sell in Italy, the real deal… margarita with fresh tomato, basil and mozzarella, drizzled with olive oil. So obviously I had to find out where pizza was invented (as you do) and Naples was that place! In 1830 the world’s first pizzeria, Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba, opened its doors in Naples.  And the rest, my friend, is history.  Beautiful, doughy, cheesy, tomato-y history.2009-neapolitan-style-pizza-pizza-margherita-2-2390818279

Naples is the third largest city in Italy with a population of around 1 million people.   The people in Naples are friendly and welcoming, and always willing to help. Naples is unlike any other city in Italy, you either love it or you hate it. I’m not gonna lie, it is not a romantic city.  It’s busy and loud and even a little dirty (or so I’ve heard). There are 448 historical churches in the city of Naples.  Napoli, as Italians call it, is known for its thin alleyways and street art. I really wouldn’t mind getting lost in the streets of Naples.

Getting around in Naples: Now there are a few ways to get around in Naples.  For these narrow streets and central Naples,  I would suggest on foot or scooter.  Getting around Naples by car can be a challenge. Many roads were built during the Medieval period and can be very narrow, one-way, and hard to navigate. Parking can be difficult to find and expensive.  Public transport in Naples is great!  They have buses, subways, funicular railways, and trams, and tickets can be bought at convenience shops and some newsstands. Options include 90-minute timed tickets (1.10 euro) and daily passes (3 euro). The most useful local transport getting around the center of Naples however, are the buses.

What about the weather? Naples can be very humid in July and August. April and September can be warm and pleasant but you can expect some heavy showers. From November to February, it’s usually crisp with some sun, but with long spells of dreary weather. In winter, you can see snow on Mount Vesuvius. Best time to go would be in summer but March and October take a well deserved second/third place.  It is much less busy and you still stand a decent chance of catching some warmth.

Things to do in Naples: EAT! Well, there are lots of other stuff to do but eat would be my first priority.  You can visit some of the many churches or the Castel Dell Ovo (which is a seaside castle located on the former island of Megaride). You can also visit a local pizzeria & learn the art of making pizza. Cause it really is an art you know!  Visit Naples’ oldest street market, La Pignasecca which is renowned for its abundance of cheese, pastry, and fresh fish stalls. Take a walk along the waterfront (mergellina) to soak it all in.

Fun observation: Italian Flag Colors = green for basil, white for cheese and red for tomato sauce – it all comes back to the pizza doesn’t it?

The Food (and also the ultimate reason for visiting Naples or Italy for that matter). Italian food nourishes body and soul by celebrating fresh ingredients prepared with love – best enjoyed surrounded by loved ones!  As I said before, Pizza is something I can’t live without! So first I would like to have pizza at L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele. This is the place Julia Roberts (Elizabeth) had pizza in the movie ‘Eat. Pray. Love’. And then I would like to have pizza at every other pizzeria in Naples.  Then I want to have pasta, risotto, seafood, red wine and gelato until I can’t eat anymore. Also, I’ve heard about something called Arancini, which is apparently a fried crispy ball with a cheesy, risotto, tomato sauce, and sausage center. They can be found at Figgitorias.  Can I order 12 dozen of those to go, please!  And for breakfast, I will have fresh pasticceria (pastries) and espresso, please.

Time to learn some Italian so I can order all this food like a pro.  Naples, you’re delicious!

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