Like a big Pizza Pie
Rubbish piled high in the streets. Mafia shootouts on every street corner. See Naples and die. Grimy, grubby, just horrible. All statements about Naples that are just not true. We are happy to report we saw no excess of rubbish on the streets, compared to some parts of Greece you could eat your food off some these pavements. Now that I have been here do I want to die? Err No thanks. It is a great place to visit, it is vibrant, it is sassy, it is alive, but it is not life ending. See Shepherd’s Bush and die, maybe, but Naples? Never. Having said all that we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and rank it far higher up the cities to visit scale than its rival Rome. You can still eat food here at reasonable prices, the people are human and friendly and it just has a nice feel. It is chaotic with a completely random transport system that seems to change by the hour, it has pedestrian-only streets that don’t count if you are a taxi or on a motor-bike. It has a sense of lawlessness about it without being threatening. And this is what we got up to.
Arriving around midday and parking up in a very convenient spot to the north of the centre we ventured for our first big day in ‘Old Napoli’. This was our first brush with the random transport system and where our bus morphed from one route to another mid bus stop and we ended going on the motorway for a bit before doubling back around their ‘Canary Wharf’ twice and being finally deposited in the centre of town. On route the driver took on-board a coffee from his wife and picked up his mama from a cemetery. Being totally lost we consulted our map and after a long discussion we headed off in the wrong direction. The advantage of this option is we managed to see most of Naples before we got to our first destination. And now you can too.
Street with Flowers
Parking – Naples Style
Piazza del Plebiscito
Our first attraction to visit was the ‘Tunnel Borbonico’, the underground labyrinth that lies under a fair chunk of the city. These network of tunnels started 500 years ago as complex of cisterns from where the inhabitants drew their water. Then in 1853 after a serious uprising ‘Feckless Ferdinand II’ decided to build an escape tunnel from the Palace to the barracks and on to the Sea. As he was using Public Money he told the residents of Naples he was building an underground Street Market; and the dopes believed him. Later it was used as air-raid shelter and hospital for WWII before briefly in the 50’s it was used as a dumping ground for illicit hot-rod vehicles. It is a great visit for all. It was pitch black for most of it and so the photos are not the best.
17th Century Cistern
WWII Statues of freedom
Fascist Statue pulled down
We then wandered around the city centre before heading towards Via Tribuna where one will find the Original Pizza restaurants. Going on local advice we went for Di Matteo rather than Tourist hot-spot Gino Sorbillo, which is now a chain. Needless to say they were smashing and only €3 each. Get that in Rome? Some hope.
The Place for a Pizza
Culture day. Today we started off by going in completely the wrong direction on the bus towards a metro station that appears on the map but does not yet exist. The reason for this is we now have reached the conclusion that buses only depart from the centre and none ever go from the ‘burbs inwards. Never mind we got to our destination, The National Archaeology Museum and settled in for some serious inanimate object viewing. This place is famous for housing all the bits lifted from Pompeii and so we went for a look. To our dismay it was ‘get in free day’ and as a consequence the place was mobbed and worse you were allocated a schoolgirl to accompany you and describe every item in minute detail. As we were English we got class swot and after an hour of this we made a break ‘for the toilet’ and left. Some Pictures
Fish Crazy Mosaic
Alexander the Great
Could be a Welsh person
After that we walked a bit around the old town and had a bit of a respite before attacking culture once more. The cocky waiter tried to rip us off a couple of Euro’s and when sussed said, ‘Service charge not included’. No tip required then. We also had to put up with the world’s worst guitar player who knew a total of zero chords and sang Gregorian chants while strumming an un-tuned guitar like a frenzied rabbit. We gave him nothing too apart from some advice about bus-driving might be a better option.
Suitably refreshed we headed for the Cappella Sansevero, a Masonic inspired chapel built by a man with far too much money. This building houses the most wonderful statues we have ever seen with the highlight being the Veiled Christ. Totally breath-taking. This culture lark is not turning out too bad after all.
The Veiled Christ. That is all Marble
Our next port of call was the Basilica Santa Chiara where we spent a relaxing hour in the gardens of this church-cum-nunnery-cum-monastery. The main reason for this was because it was one huge sun trap and we do like a bit of the old current bun.
After leaving here we crossed the road and had a peak in Chiesa Gesu Nuovo. A place that takes you jaw and slams it on the floor when you first enter. It is a vast cavernous space of a building that takes a few moments to find your bearings. We had a quick whizz round took a couple of snaps and left.
We were now cultured out for the day and to revive ourselves we bought a Easter Egg and had another Pizza before retiring.
My Egg, Tracy is on a diet
Today was going to be about sugar. We excelled ourselves by getting on the bus that went in a third different direction in three days, this time taking a tour of every cemetery in central Naples. Today was Palm Sunday and the vast majority of natives spent the day walking around with Palms. Not true, they spent the day walking around with the odd Olive branch. But we didn’t care we were heading for the prom and for a walk with everyone else and doing what they do. Have a Gelato and a Spritz.
Fort and Vesuvius
Just the fort
Cruise ship and Vesuvius
Pub singer on the Prom
After the Gelato where Tracy had a Georgia inspired Stracciatella and I went for the Rol in a tub we walked along a street with posh shops before settling in at the legendary Grand Cafe Gambrinus for a well-deserved Spritz.
The Spritz and serving chums
Italian TV program being filmed next to us
After a last walk around our new favourite place we caught the bus going in completely the wrong direction but still managed to get back to our stop. That sort of sums Naples up. It is a madhouse of a place that is continually falling in the shite but comes up smelling of Roses. We loved it.
One word of caution if you visit. The R4 bus is notorius for thieves who wil not only pick your pockets but snatch your cameras, bags and the rings off your fingers.
Love to all