Castel dell'Ovo in Naples, fortress & former royal residence

It is true: Naples is simply fascinating
Don't judge the city at first sight

Naples/Italy (2017) – "Rome is stately and impressive; Florence is all beauty and enchantment; Genoa is picturesque; Venice is a dream city; but Naples is simply fascinating", wrote Emily
Lilian Whithing (1847-1942), an American journalist, poet and story teller in her book
"Italy: The Magic Land". Naples couldn't receive a greater and more fitting compliment.
Even though the city has to fight so many misconceptions – dirty, dangerous, unfriendly –
once given the chance to convince visitors from the opposite Naples will just do that. At the end everybody agrees with Whiting for the same reason: because Naples truly is fascinating.
Don't judge Naples at first sight – It takes time to get used to the madness
The first impression is not always the right one. In some cases you are better advised to give it a closer look, sometimes also more than one, before you judge. Naples is such a case. It's not an ideal city for a day trip. For Naples you need a little more time. It takes a while to understand the city and its people and to shake off the fear based on the miscon-ception you might have brought with you. I give you an example: When you enter the city by car you might think you're driving right into a war zone. It will scare the heck out of you, trust me. Something like a safety distance between vehicles does not exist in Naples. Everyone on the street comes close to your car, very close, especially motorbikes and the smaller version of it, the "motorinos". Hundreds of them. The Hitchcock horror-thriller "Birds" might come to your mind when all of the sudden in your rear mirror dozens of these "motorinos" appear and they start passing you from all sides, hunk at you, cut you off or take your right of way like it would be their right to do so. I admit, it takes a bit to get used to this madness. But as bad as it looks, you will survive, because there seems to be a concept in this chaos, they all know what they do. So stay cool and just go with the flow.

Naples is not a dangerous city – Let's talk about the "God of Naples"
"Naples is not a dangerous city", a cap driver assured me on one of my strolls through the city. And as far as I can tell, he seems to be right, Naples doesn't appear to be more dangerous than any other European city of the same size. Sure, it's smart to hold onto your stuff at all time and to be not too naive when dealing with locals somehow but these rules apply everywhere, in Paris, in London, Berlin, Barcelona, Athens, not just or especially in Naples. I wandered around Naples a lot during my stay and had only nice encounters with the locals. They are very friendly but most of all they are also very helpful at any time. And they love to talk about God, their God: Diego Armando Maradona, now retired Argentinean soccer player, who played for "S.S.C. Napoli" (Società Sportiva Calcio). For many the greatest soccer player of all time gave the Neapolitans from 1987 to 1991 two Italian Championships, an UEFA-Cup title, the Italian Cup title, the "Coppa Italia" and the Super Cup title. A local newspaper wrote about the admiration for the Argentinean: "Non of our problems we might have in Naples matter because we have Maradona." And even though a small eternity has passed in the meanwhile, their God is still is the pride of the city, an idol also for the young who never have seen him play for Napoli. Diego Armando Maradona is the adopted son of Naples.

In Naples you have to look for the great things
Naples is not a city which presents everything it has to offer on a silver platter. Rather the opposite, you have to look for the good stuff, search for the cool things. One might think this is not very tourist friendly. That's right, it is not. But that makes the charm of Naples, I think. It's more adventure, more surprise and at the end more satisfaction. Speaking of it, Naples is known as the birthplace for pizza and claims to make and serve the best pizza in the world. Well, since taste is subjective there are many out there who wouldn't sign this claim, even though many who really understand pizza making agree with the Neapolitans. Many of my American friends have never had an original Italian Pizza and are used to their "pies", therefore I'm pretty sure any discussion about it would be controversial. But if you are in Naples make sure you form your own opinion. Visit one of the oldest and most famous pizza places in town: L'antica Pizzeria "Da Michele". It's not a secret place, not at all. I fact Julia Roberts ate pizza there in the movie "Eat Pray Love" in 2010. But it didn't need the movie to make "Da Michele" famous, the pizzeria was founded in 1870 and serves only two kind of pizzas, "Marinara" (Tomato, oregano, garlic and extra virgin olive oil) and "Margherita" (Tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil). These two variations are considered the only "true" or "pure" pizzas. But be prepared, to eat at "Da Michele" demands some patience. The waiting outside the pizzeria can be more than an hour (I waited less than 2o minutes), especially for lunch and dinner time. Don't expect restaurant style inside, it's more train station buffet interior but the pizza will compensate for everything and you never had a cheaper pizza in your life!

Spaccanapoli & The "Gran Caffe Gambrinus"
For a walk through Naples look for the Spaccanapoli. It's called "Spaccanapoli" (Naples splitter) because it literally cuts through the old, historic center of the city, functions like a divider. The official name is Via Benedetto Croce, moving east the street name changes to Via S. Biagio dei Librai. The Spaccanapoli is the main tourist promenade all sights of the city are in easy reach from here. In between sightseeing you just have to take a coffee break because the coffee in Naples is at least as famous and delicious as the pizza. For your coffee experience I suggest to look for the "Gran Caffe Gambrinus" at the Piazza del Plebiscito. This is the temple of Neapolitan espresso coffee. Not one famous visitor of Naples misses out on this opportunity to have a coffee there, not even the Pope.
One of Naples treasures:
The Veiled Christ in the Cappella Sansevero
There is very much to see in Naples, but let me point you to one of the true treasures of Naples: the "Veiled Christ", a marble sculpture made by Giuseppe Sanmartino and preserved in the Cappella Sansevero. Be pre-pared to see something really amazing. Sanmartino created in 1753 on of the world's most remarkable sculptures in marble, the dead Christ laid on a couch and covered by a veil which was carved from the same block of marble and which adheres perfectly to his body. This amazing artist mastered to show the suffering that Christ had undergone during the crucifixion through the veil. The veil is so well carved that many people doubted it would be one piece of stone. Very close analysis over the years confirmed finally that the work was entirely carved in marble. The famous scientist Raimondo di Sangro himself confirmed in letters that the veil was produced from the same marble as the statue. One has to stand in front of this master piece to understand what great gift Sanmartino had and what great treasure he created and left for us to see. Unfortunately to take pictures is not allowed within the Cappella, therefore I only have a shot from a sign, but no photo would do this amazing work justice any-way, one has to see it with its own eyes.
The Veiled Christ in the Cappella Sansevero

GALLERY

  1. Managing Director
  2. Managing Director
  3. Managing Director
  4. Managing Director
  5. Managing Director
  6. Managing Director
  7. Managing Director
  8. Managing Director
  9. Managing Director
  10. Managing Director
  11. Managing Director
  12. Managing Director
  13. Managing Director
  14. Managing Director
  15. Managing Director
  16. Managing Director
  17. Managing Director
  18. Managing Director
  19. Managing Director
  20. Managing Director
  21. Managing Director
  22. Managing Director
  23. Managing Director
  24. Managing Director
  25. Managing Director
  26. Managing Director
  27. Managing Director
  28. Managing Director
  29. Managing Director
  30. Managing Director
  31. Managing Director
  32. Managing Director
  33. Managing Director
  34. Managing Director
  35. Managing Director
  36. Managing Director
  37. Managing Director
  38. Managing Director
  39. Managing Director
  40. Managing Director
  41. Managing Director
  42. Managing Director
  43. Managing Director
  44. Managing Director
  45. Managing Director
  46. Managing Director
  47. Managing Director
  48. Managing Director
  49. Managing Director
  50. Managing Director
  51. Managing Director
  52. Managing Director
  53. Managing Director
  54. Managing Director
  55. Managing Director
  56. Managing Director
  57. Managing Director
  58. Managing Director
  59. Managing Director
  60. Managing Director
  61. Managing Director
  62. Managing Director
  63. Managing Director
  64. Managing Director
  65. Managing Director
  66. Managing Director
  67. Managing Director
  68. Managing Director
  69. Managing Director
  70. Managing Director
  71. Managing Director
  72. Managing Director
  73. Managing Director
  74. Managing Director
  75. Managing Director
  76. Managing Director
  77. Managing Director
  78. Managing Director
  79. Managing Director
  80. Managing Director
  81. Managing Director
  82. Managing Director
  83. Managing Director
  84. Managing Director
  85. Managing Director
  86. Managing Director
  87. Managing Director
  88. Managing Director
  89. Managing Director
  90. Managing Director
  91. Managing Director
  92. Managing Director
  93. Managing Director
  94. Managing Director
  95. Managing Director
  96. Managing Director
  97. Managing Director
  98. Managing Director
  99. Managing Director
GALLERY