..Is how the saying goes. I don’t know who said it or why. Is Naples so sublime a city that upon seeing it you are free to end your days there…because of course, you have seen Naples. Or does the presence of the Mafia mean that your days are numbered and you’re lucky if you make it out of the city with your purse and your life?
A friend and I decided to find out and took a day trip there on All Saints Day (Ognissanti), a public holiday in Italy, which meant that everyone got Friday 1st November off. Yay. For €22 return, we were able to head to Naples, land of pizza and Pompeii to discover the true meaning of the above saying….
And I still don’t get it. Whilst I enjoyed Naples, I think that there are a lot of other more beautiful cities in Italy to visit. If I ended my days having only seen Naples in Italy, I’d have thought I drew the short straw. On the other hand, the lack of tourists and “must-see” sites made it nicer to explore the city itself. To me, it felt like a slightly more decrepit, less beautiful version of Rome and I didn’t find the tourist centre to be run-down or any more dirty than other cities. It had all the scooters, cobble stones, washing hanging from lines.
Here are some of the best things we enjoyed in Naples:
The MAN (Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli)
I loved this museum! €4 entry for Europeans and the MAN has 3 or 4 floors filled with ancient Roman mosaics, artefacts, sculptures, paintings and items pilfered from Pompeii and Herculaneum. There’s a hilarious ancient porn room and the basement is filled with Egyptian artefacts.
We ate at I Decumani, right in the middle of the centre of Naples at Via Dei Tribunali. Our pizzas were served very quickly and they were good, but not quite Eat Pray Love good. The price was incredibly cheap and I got this margherita for €3.50!
I found this an odd pastry, I still don’t know what was inside, but I had to try it as it is a Neapolitan delicacy!
Observing the infamous trash problem
Which really isn’t as bad as people make out. Naples was a lot cleaner than I expected, but I’ve included this photo for shock value!
Piazza del Plebiscito
Pronounced “pleb-eh-sheet-o” this was a lovely piazza, where there is a military parade at sunset. It is also close to the sea where there are beautiful views.
I enjoyed observing the differences between Romans and Neapolitans. I can definitely say that the streets of Naples are nowhere near as chaotic as those of Rome, but what did make me laugh was seeing a family of three or sometimes four on a scooter in Naples. It’s a great city with fantastic history and is close to other incredible places like Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast, so it is worth a visit on the way to these other places.