A journey through the senses on the streets of Naples
by Silvia Preda·
"Vide Napule e po' more."
[See Naples and die. In other words, nothing compares to the beauty of Naples, so you can die after you've seen it. ]
When you arrive in Naples, you will be astonished by the sparkling combination of chaos and beauty. At first, you might be overwhelmed by the density of people talking and moving around, the unruly traffic with cars speeding and motorbikes zigzagging everywhere, the syncopated yet incessant horns sound.
Once you refocus, however, all the aforementioned will quickly recede in the background, and you shall find yourself surrounded by beauty: the deep blue sky and the sea, the view of the Vesuvio volcano, Capri island, the beautiful architecture of the buildings, the imposing castles that guarded the city against the sea intrusion, Neapolitan myths, and legends, delicious and colorful food, the kindness and good heart of the Neapolitans who welcome you to their home.
It is a six senses open-air museum where you can see, taste, hear, smell, touch, and feel a pervasive sense of bliss, joy, and delight.
Photo Credit for all photos: Silvia Preda
Creativity is in the air, and it's part of the Neapolitans' DNA–you will notice it wherever you go. So are generosity and good nature. When someone is happy in Naples, they pay for two coffees: one for themselves and one for someone else. This tradition has taken root and even has a name: "the suspended coffee."
Our tips for hitting each of your senses:
- Climb up the Vomero hill to the medieval fortress of Castel Sant'Elmo for one of the best 360 degrees views of Naples: in front of you are the Gulf of Naples, the Vesuvio, and on your right, Capri Island. You might not want to start counting the cupolas, though, as it might take a while! They call it the city of 500 domes. A straight-line street called Spaccanapoli divides the labyrinthine city into two parts.
- View the city from a different angle going down 136 steps in the underground to discover the hidden side of Naples' architecture carved in yellow tufa stone. (https://www.napolisotterranea.org/en/naples-underground/).
Admire the stunning beauty of the marble statue of the Veiled Christ in the Museo San Severo, a must-visit spot in the historical heart of Naples. Goosebumps guaranteed! (https://www.museosansevero.it/en/the-statue)
- Get inspired by the creativity of the local artisans in Via San Gregorio Armeno, the street of crib nativity scenes (via dei presepi), at its absolute top during Christmas time. Great works of art, handmade! (https://wonderfulitaly.eu/en/magazine/san-gregorio-armeno-the-street-of-cribs-in-napoli-6511)
2) Hearing: Naples is music. Naples is the city of the Wandering Minstrels (or "Posteggiatori") and peculiar folkloristic musical instruments
3) Smell: Well, this is an easy one! Enter a forneria (bakery), pizzeria, or coffee shop to experience the smell of freshly-baked bread, focaccia, stone-baked pizza, pastry, or roasted coffee.
4) Touch: visit Pompei, 2000 years of history, architecture, and design
(http://pompeiisites.org/en/). It is such a powerful experience to touch the dark smooth lavic stones of the facades of a city that remained hidden for 2000 years. Enjoy trampling the ancient streets of Pompei, simply imagining you were living there.
- The best pizza place --> da Michele (http://www.damichele.net/)
- Best pizza fritta ever --> Sorbillo (https://www.sorbillo.it/antica-pizza-fritta-zia-esterina-sorbillo)
- Mozzarella campana--> you have no idea what's the real taste of mozzarella until you try it here in Naples! Many places sell it, even supermarkets. (https://www.amuzzarellamiaparla.it/)
- Tarallo caldo: da Leopoldo or at the street vendors on the Caracciolo boardwalk ...so ‘tropp sapurit [they are so tasty!]
- Spaghetti alla Luciana: Trattoria Speranzella (http://trattoriasperanzella.it/)
- La nuovola of Leopoldo...mamma mia! (http://www.pasticcerieleopoldo.it/)
6) Combine any two of the senses to achieve bliss. For example, might we suggest a pizza with a view?
More sources of inspiration: