Napoli trip

Because our company was closed for the working days between April the 30th and May the 4th, we have decided to make a long-weekend trip to visit the southern part of Italy, namely Napoli (Naples). Napoli is located in the volcanic region of Mt. Vesuvius, so there are lots of things to see there and also it has a very old history (2800 years).
Napoli Picture
Already before departure we have encountered our first problem: there were no more seats available on any train on our planned departure date. We had to buy standing tickets (for the same price as the ones with reservation 😕 ) which was very bad news, because the train ride took around 7-8 hours from Genova to Napoli. We tried to have fun, but still, time passed away very slowly until we arrived to Rome, where suddenly a lot of seats freed up, so we could sit down at last and enjoy our remaining 1.5 hours of the journey the Napoli.

We have arrived to Napoli at around 11 P.M., so it was already dark. Our first impression? Well, honestly it was not a very good one: the city’s streets are either under construction/repair or very-very dirty. Napoli seemed like a city of endless graffitis ruining most of the splendor of its monuments. Our first contact with the local people, however, was nicer: a girl from a car shouted ‘Bienvenuti a Napoli!’ (Welcome to Napoli) at us 🙂 . So far things were looking acceptable: we have easily found our hostel (a very nice hostel: Hotel/Hostel ‘Bella Capri’) which was just across the street from the Neapolitan port. We checked in and had a well deserved good night sleep.

The second day of our trip to Napoli & surroundings was dedicated to the city itself. The city has a lot of attractions, but as I mentioned earlier, everything (really everything) is full of graffitis. We tried to look past those tasteless pieces of art and enjoy all the landmarks of the city from Castello Nuovo (just next to the hostel) then Piazza Plebescito, the Palazzo Reale, Castello dell’Ovo and the Villa Comunale (a seaside park). There was a lot going around in the city on that 1st of May, when we were there. Every street was full of police officers, luxurious official cars going back and forth in the city: the president was in town. This was actually bad news for us in a way, because we could not enter Palazzo Reale for this reason 🙁 . But no matter, the sun finally came out so the city was flowing in a very nice shining, which gives it its real ‘mediterranean sea-port’ look. The park filled up with people. The children were playing around. It seemed like everyone was on a holiday enjoying the sunshine.

After our initial in-depth view of the city we ended up in a local bar (at the end of the park) to have some refreshments. The waiters, the owner and generally everyone was very friendly, constantly asking us: “Tutto a posto?”, “Tutto bene?”. Some pedestrian walking by asked us curiously where we were from? I guess not many tourists like to visit that part of the city as it seems to be a little dangerous 🙂 . Nevertheless I think it was a nice experience and deserves a stop when visiting the city.

After our fast refreshment we started climbing up the hill to get to Castel Sant’Elmo. We were lucky to find the entrance to a ‘funicolare‘ (a train climbing up the hill) which quickly took us up the hill. (€1.10 for a 90 minute ticket). The most amazing view of the city is definitely from Castel Sant’Elmo (and we only paid €1.00, a special May the 1st fee). One can overlook the entire city with Mt. Vesuvius in the background; it is definitely worth the effort climbing up.

From the top of Napoli we went down with the funicolare to the bottom of the hill and from there we took the subway to the Museo Archeologico Nazionale (National Museum of Archeology). It has a lot of things on display mostly found in the ruins of Pompeii (also €1.00 entry fee). It was nice, because we were allowed to take pictures inside (without flash). After the museum visit we walked down to Piazza Dante and then to Piazza Gesù Nuovo. Here we ate a tasty original Neapolitan pizza. I must say the pizza in Napoli is really much better than any other pizza that I have eaten. They are delicious.

The second day of our trip was about a planned trip to Pompeii/Mt. Vesuvius (which I am going to treat in another post). After arriving back to Napoli from the trip, we decided to go out in the city and try to enjoy some of the nightlife. We started by a visit to Greenwich pub (just to take a brake on the pizzas and all the Italian stuff we have been treated with lately). After a few beers we went out on the streets. I have to say I have never seen such a crowded nightlife in any city before. The Piazza Gesù Nuovo was filled with young people talking and just having fun. Everything was on the move, something like India: people crossing the streets everywhere, cars slaloming between them. It was a very chaotic world which is hard to understand. We have spent almost half an hour just by watching (and laughing 😛 ) as cars went up&down the streets in a total chaos in every direction, and we were amazed, that nothing, really nothing dangerous has happened. Truly amazing 🙂 .

All in all it was a pleasant experience. I am not saying that it is better than the northern part. It might have more soul and be more fun, but to actually stay there for more than a week could be too much for me. Now I really understand the difference between the northern and southern part of Italy (and Napoli is not even the ‘real’ south). The gap between the two parts is really huge: the calm and organized northern part seems to be only a distant cousin of the partying/chaotic south.

I have uploaded some images on my Picasa account.

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