La Bella Napoli is just an hour and a half away form Geneva by plane. Still, it was the first time that I visited the city, but I firmly intend to go back several times before I consider to die… Not expensive at all, full of monuments built on top of an underground network and located a few miles only from Vesuvius and Pompeii, the beautiful Italian city, despite the advanced decay of many of its buildings, will conquer your hearts, that I can assure you.
A studio for a good-night sleep
From the airport, the bus takes you to the central station in 20 minutes. From there you can walk through the historic heart of Naples, with its long and not to be missed Via dei Tribunali to reach the Spanish districts, where you can stay in a charming studio. You’ll have all you need to sleep and an italian coffee maker to sip your delicious local coffee in the morning when you wake up. A small shower and a kitchenette, just what you need in a city which calls you to go out!
When it comes to eating
Who says Napoli, says pizza: the historic cradle of the crusty wood-fire dough! You can only eat well even if you have no clue where to go. Tempted by the evocative name of the Locanda del Grifo, I climbed upstairs to reach the dining room. I liked it right away: paintings on the wall, few people (I arrived early), the menu left me speechless: 5 euros for a pizza. Sure, this is not Geneva…
A salad fit for Shrek and a pizza for two, my stomach is full and I’m ready to go through this amazingly heartful and soulful city.
La Locanda del Grifo
14 Via Francesco del Giudice, 80138 Naples
Fulfil your shopping wishes
They will be fulfilled at Nenton Village. The best second hand shop! Finely selected and beautiful pieces are displayed in a colorful interior decoration. An Italian TV team came here recently to shoot a scene for a soap opera. The owner of the place, passionate about clothes, is also a great source of tips to discover Naples: his city has a bad reputation, they often say that thieves are at every square meter but it has become more secure over the last 15 years. Regarding the pizzerias, it’s difficult to make a bad choice, ditto for the delicious baba, which you can taste al limone (thank you Lydia Frost): purely delicious! We spoke for an hour or so about the city, vintage clothing, the wholeheartedly Neapolitans, always ready to help and he is a pure illustration of it. His wife arrived and advised us on three more spots to visit. Not a second did I feel obliged to buy anything, they made me feel home, as if visiting some family. Ladies, you will remain gobsmacked in the front of the variety of clothing. The design, the atmosphere, the warm welcome, if shops had stars, I’d give them 5: an absolute Must-See!
103 Via Mezzocannone, 80100 Naples
Caravaggio in Pio Monte della Misericordia
Religious representations tend to bore me, but the Seven Works of Mercy by Caravaggio will stun you at first sight. Hypnotised by such hardly achievable intensity, the other artists represented in the chapel remained in his shadow. Dark, mastering the technique of contrasts and lighting, he powerfully staged several scenes into one, creating a sort of prepared path for the visitor’s view to follow. I found it hard to leave this edifying work of art.
Pio Monte della Misericordia
253 Via dei Tribunali, 80139 Naples
A break in time
Sheltered from a February wind, a ginger tea to warm me up, this literary café, restaurant and publishing house will allow you to immerse yourself into the past of Naples. The atmosphere is smooth, some cool jazz for your ears and tempting books you’d want to buy. An adorable little lady was my extra present in this place, she offered me some self-written poems in Neapolitan.
70 Piazza Bellini, 80138 Naples
Escape the 21st Century
Before you leave, here’s a little icing on your cake if you like visits off the untrodden tracks. I’d found a nice restaurant to eat, via del Cerriglio, but we arrived too early. The stairs on the right-hand side drew my attention. It is said that even Caravaggio wandered around these stairs. Consider not going there alone though, because of its state of abandonment and advanced decay, but you will feel transported in another time. Although in Naples you will constantly have that impression of being in several combined centuries.
3 Via del Cerriglio – Via Sedile di Porto, 80134, Naples
Photographies © theNMH