Barbara & Heather - Italy 2018 travel blog

Naples Metro

Garibaldi

Piazza Garibaldi with new metro

Castel Nuovo

Naples apartments

Bay of Naples with Vesuvius

Bay of Naples

Piazza Municipio

La Figlia del Presidente Pizzeria

La Figlia del Presidente Pizzeria

Presipe in Via San Gregorio Armeno

San Gaetano

San Lorenzo Maggiore

Saint Gennaro

Duomo of San Gennaro

Chapel of San Gennaro

Mosaica in Duomo

Naples building


Tuesday 22nd May: A big day out in Napoli. The hotel put on a simple but very nice breakfast and after it the first job of the day was to go back to the train station to book our trip to Siena. Naples has a brand new train station and metro and they are brilliant with big shopping galleries attached - the best we have seen. We did not use the metro but all stations are decorated with great art.

To make best use of time, we decided to go on the Tramvia City Tour and bought tickets at the top of Piazza Garibaldi. While we were waiting for the 11.15 bus (under the watchful eye of Garibaldi himself), we checked out the passing parade of cars. It was easier to count the ones that did not have a ding or a scrape than those that did. The bus trip took us through the old town and into the new, down to the harbour and then right around to a high point in Posillipo where we stopped for a photo opportunity looking across the Bay of Naples to Vesuvius in the distance. The bus trip was very interesting and proved to be a good way to see a lot of the city in a short time.

Everybody had to get off the bus at the cruise ship terminal as they were stopping for lunch! We had hoped to go a bit further as we were looking for the Pizzeria La Figlia del Presidente (The Daughter of the President) which Angelo gave us as his top recommendation in Naples. After a couple of false starts, we managed to find it tucked away in a small side street and looking quite nondescript but with a small crowd waiting outside for tables or takeaway. We had to wait 5 minutes and were then ushered downstairs where the scene was very different. It was a maze of rooms and corridors all packed with diners and tables were turned over with great speed. After seeing the size of the pizzas, we ordered a Marinara Special to share with a Caprese Salad. For our one and only Napoli pizza we are sure it was the best!

At the end of this street was the thoroughfare known as “Spaccanapoli” that divides the old Naples in two and a statue of St Gaetano. This became far more touristy. One small side street, Via San Gregorio Armeno, was lined with shops selling “presepi” or Christmas cribs which are a Neapolitan tradition and range from simple to very elaborate. The nearby church of San Lorenzo Maggiore contains many layers of history with ancient ruins under the cloister. It was a peaceful escape from the hubbub outside for a few minutes.

Further along was a very elaborate spire erected to thank Saint Gennaro for saving the city from Vesuvius in 1631. Behind it was the Duomo, a Gothic building from the 13th century dedicated to San Gennaro, patron saint of Naples. Inside, one side chapel dedicated to him is nearly as big as a small church and contains his bones as well as two vials of his blood. San Gennaro is seen as the saviour and benefactor of Naples and two or three times a year a “miracle” occurs where the blood in the vials liquefies. If the blood refuses to liquefy at these special times, disaster is supposed to befall the city. Such disasters have included an eruption of Vesuvius, an earthquake and in 1988 the loss of an important football match to rivals, Milan.

Back on Spaccanapoli, it became Via Viccaria Vecchia. I don’t know how many tourists lose their lives to motor scooters and bikes each year on this street but fortunately we were spared. This via lead back through the grittier, less touristy part of the old city to open out on Corso Umberto I, a main shopping street running directly to Piazza Garibaldi. Here we had a beer, went to the supermarket and back to the hotel for a light supper.



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