The Contrasting City of Napoli

The old adage about Italy is “rich north, poor south”. Having only spent 3 days in Naples I guess it is true, but I will be going back in the future. More research of course.

Before I start, the only thing I have to compare my trip to is Rome, home of decadence on an imperial level! However that said there are a lot of comparisons to be drawn between the two cities and a marked number of dramatic differences.

We jetted into Naples for 4 nights, 3 entire days of wandering the city, exploring, discovering and enjoying the artefacts and oddities on offer. The weather was good throughout the trip, very hot, very humid and much better than the Rome weather we had last year. Our accommodation for this one was a small studio flat we found on AirBnB. Our host was great and the flat was spotless and very reasonably priced. Our commute into the city was a short 10 minute metro ride after a 15 minute walk to the stop.

Day 1 – A mooch around the city

Given we only had 3 days we thought we would start by just relaxing into the holiday and see where things went really. We had ideas of things we would like to see, but we often like to just go with the flow for these things. Having collected a map of the city at the airport both myself and Amy decided to visit some of the place mentioned.

Walking-the-street-napoli

On returning and mentioning Naples to people a lot wondered how it was. I am not going to lie it is not the cleanest or even the prettiest of places all the time, but like with many place, if you look past the cosmetic imperfections the people are generally nice and the atmosphere is great. The streets are much narrower than Rome, and are often accompanied by hanging laundry in between the buildings. Vespas rule the streets and are far more crazy than anything we saw in Rome.

Naples-streets

vespa-with-children

I really enjoyed wandering the streets between the small attractions, there wasn’t loads of tourists, but it was a great day and very enjoyable. There are definitely a lot of smells in Naples, not all of them really that pleasant, but overall it is nice to walk somewhere new. I would say something that is a little sad, the amount of graffiti is quite shocking. It really is everywhere, especially on a lot of the older buildings. Anything up to about 7 foot up seems fair game. It severely restricted what I took photos of purely from the point of view that I didn’t want this to be the main focus of the images.

The areas without (usually indoors) are spectacular.

church

We visited a lot of place, including the spire of San Domenico in one of the cities piazzas. Started in the mid 1500’s and finished in the mid 1700s I believe, it is very impressive the craftsmanship and very much reminded me of Rome.

Spire-of-San-Domenico

Spire-of-San-Domenico-full

 

Day 2 – Pompeii

After a nice, tiring and a little unrewarding day in Naples, we decided we would try our luck out of the city. I was made up that Pompeii was so close, only 30 minutes on the train. So we decided we would go there.

I discovered while researching that Pompeii is the ruin, Pompei is the town surrounding the ruins.

The ruins are vast, it cost €11 to enter the ruins and we were there for about 6 hours. It was amazing, not really very photogenic, but still incredible. I have included a few images below to remind myself of the bits and pieces we saw, but they are each interesting articles of Roman life.

roman-baths-pompeii

One thing I can never get over is how well preserved some of this stuff is. The figurines above where in great condition as was the Roman baths they were part of.

pompeii-road

pompeii-roman-garden

I think the thing that shocked both myself and my girlfriend was the vastness of the area. It was enormous, you look as far as you can see then realise it is still Pompeii!

padestrian-crossing

The above picture is a pedestrian crossing, between the central stones it is still possible to see the cart tracks from 2000 years ago. Mind blown!

After a very long day walking the ruins of Pompeii we decided to visit a church I had heard about in the town of Pompei not far from one of the exits. It was about a 5 minute walk to Sanctuary of the madonna of the rosary. It was incredible. I was impressed with the outside of this building and very much reminded me of the vatican, but the interior was just something else.

Sanctuary-of-the-Madonna-of-the-Rosary

It was Sunday so I had to wait until between services to grab a couple of shots, but I am glad I waited for the opportunity.

Sanctuary-of-the-Madonna-of-the-Rosary-view-2

Sanctuary-of-the-Madonna-of-the-Rosary-view-1

Sanctuary-of-the-Madonna-of-the-Rosary-pulpit

Sanctuary-of-the-Madonna-of-the-Rosary-mass

 

I think this was a much more successful day than the last, living up to our expectations much more than the previous. We topped the day with a trip to a local pizzeria.

One thing I do like about the graceful dilapidation of the area, is the small old style cars, you just don’t generally see that many in Manchester.

beetle-car

Day 3 – The port and tourist area

Ok, so its the third and final day, we had a few things we found the night before planned including a tour of a theatre and a walk along the sea front.

We started by getting the funiculore up the mountain to castel sant’elmo to admire the view of Naples, it was well worth the 5 euro entry. There was not a lot inside, and I feel that most people pay for the view. It has full 360 panoramic views from the walls of the castel.

naples-view

I managed to get an enormous 200 megapixel image I am still piecing together, but for now the above will serve as a reminder.

Once down from the Castle we made our way to Teatro di San Carlo, we booked on to a short 45 minute tour. Apparently the oldest working opera theatre in Italy it was phenomenal. I think the images can speak for themselves.

teatro-di-san-carlo-royal-box

teatro-di-san-carlo-ornation

teatro-di-san-carlo-from-royal-box

The ceiling fresco was in fact stretched fabric, which I was only told by more attentive girlfriend on looking back at the images. I think I was too busy taking pictures to hear that bit.

 

teatro-di-san-carlo-ceiling-fabric

teatro-di-san-carlo

We had an incredible time, and would definitely recommend Naples, but I guess you have to go with the idea of it not being a pristine area and perfection at every turn.

Thanks for reading.