“Peligroso, sucio” “Dirty, dangerous, polluted, no charm, stay away from that city, don’t go there!” Those are things you will hear when you ask people about Napoli, the capital city of Campania. Despite all the negative comments we set out to see for ourselves and found a whole different Napoli.
On the 20th of October we flew from a rainy Barcelona to a warm and sunny Napoli.
After changing into some nice clothes to stroll the Italian streets, we set off to find our first pizza. We found the restaurant my sister had recommended to us but there was nobody inside so we stood around wondering if we could go in when the lady of the house called us with a welcoming “Prego!”. Within 5 minutes the most mouthwatering pizza’s stood in front of us. Accompanied by a bottle of beer. I think this was one of the best meals I have ever had in my life. The warm autumn sun on our faces, the explosion of taste in our mouths and the cold beer to clench the thirst and relax us.
From those first bites on we were addicted and all we could think of was the next pizza we would eat. To get our appetite up we strolled down numerous little streets and explored the Quartieri Spagnoli which is, according to many, the most dangerous part of Napoli. Unemployment, influence of the Camorra (Mafia in the region of Campania) and youth crime. But also the most charming narrow streets that could come straight out of a novel or old Italian film.
On our walks we passed the castles of Napoli with their interesting architecture. The historic Castel Nuovo and the Castel dell’ Ovo, ‘The Egg Castle’. Which is built on a small islet. We sat in the sun looking out on the turquoise sea. The older Napolitan men where still in swimwear tanning their already leather-like skins and enjoying the last warm days on the tiny rocky beaches.
We also found some other beautiful architecture, The Galleria Umberto I, built between 1887 and 1891. The marble, mosaic and glass dome are certainly worth marvelling over. And speaking of history and architecture, when visiting Napoli, you should not miss out on Pompeii! Only about 40 minutes on the Circumvesuviana train line and you are there.
So enough to see and do in Napoli. However, our main reason to visit this city was “Pizza”. After all, the pizza how we know it with it’s tomato sauce on top, was found in Napoli. What started out as a dish for the poor, soon became so popular and is now loved all over the world. But to find the best pizza you will ever taste, there is only one place to go. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is ‘Napoli’.