A city of dualities: religion and myth, tourism and localism, sacre and profane, chaotic and charming . This is Naples. Well known for its stunning views of Vesuvio and amazing foods, this city has to be visited in full: admiring its many churches, exploring each hidden corner and trying all the pizzas and buffalo mozzarella you possibly can. In August I planned to travel with a couple of friends to the Amalfi Coast, and since I had never been to Naples and being so close, I decided to visit the city on my own and see if all the good things I've heard about it were actually true.
Le Chiavi Di Casa B'n'B
I decided to book a bed and breakfast close to Piazza Dante, in an area close to the centre, but at the same time away from the most crowded places. Le Chiavi di Casa is run by a young couple who did a great job renovating the b'n'b and being able to keep its traditional charm of a typical Neapolitan apartment. I truly felt like at home - the name in fact literally translate as The Home Keys.
I arrived in the late afternoon at my Airbnb. I decided to take some time to unwind, and then hit the streets. It is easy to explore the city by walk so I decide to roam around without a planned route, that's usually when you find the best spots, isn't? I found in fact a charming bar called Libreria Berisio, translated as Bookshop Berisio, an old book shop turned bar.
On my second day I decided to visit some of the areas explored the night before. Now all the bookshops in the 'Librerie' neighbourhood are open and bustling with customers browsing old and precious books. You should definitely check out Libreria Pironti and visit the upper floor. You'll be able to admire the area from a little terrace.
All the churches
When in Naples you have to spend some time visiting its churches, they're a masterpieces of art and architecture. My favourite are Chiesa S. Chiara, Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo, and Purgatorio Arco.
Why did I have a vegan lunch in Naples? It is true that when in Naples you have to eat pizza in all flavours and shapes, but I thought it was interesting to see these type of veggie and vegan friendly places popping up in the city and wanted to try it for myself. I went to Sbuccia e Bevi Vegan house where I tried a seitan salad with avocado and potatoes accompanied by homemade kombucha.
Galleria Umberto I
There aren't only churches in Naples. This shopping gallery was built at the end of the '800, and was the cornerstone in the decades-long rebuilding of Naples. Galleria Umberto I is a high and spacious cross-shaped structure, surmounted by a glass dome braced by metal ribs. Of the four iron and glass-vaulted wings, one fronts on via Toledo (via Roma), still the main downtown thoroughfare, and another opens onto the San Carlo Theatre. The building is part of the UNESCO listing of the Historic Centre of Naples as a World Heritage Site.
Lungomare at sunset and pizza
One of my favourite spots while in Naples was the lungomare near the harbour. I decided to do at sunset when the light is golden and warm. So many locals were jumping into the water for a quick dip into the sea, as well as simply having a stroll along the street listening to buskers playing.
Unfortunately the pizza I ate for dinner isn't pictured here, but trust me it was one of the best I've ever eaten. I got a margherita at Gino Sorbillo Lievito Madre al Mare, one of the best pizzerias in Naples. If you try pizza in Naples you'll first have to try a simple margherita, the ingredients and dough are so good that they don't need any addition.
Naples and its habitants
Take some time simply exploring the city, getting lost and discovering hidden gems. You'll see so many aspects of Naples, which are the real charm of this city.
Don't miss out on some of the best views of Naples. From Castel Sant'Elmo and its surrounding areas you'll be able to admire the city from atop and check out its diverse landscape. You'll also have the chance to see Vesuvio mountain from many different prospective.
Views of Vesuvio
From Castel Sant'Elmo I decided to walk down to the centre. There is a rocky staircase that brings you directly in Quartieri Spagnoli. This walk is definitely worth the views of Vesuvio and the city.