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A few days in Naples - what a great city

Old Feb 20th, 2017, 06:10 PM
  #21  
 
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I got overcharged for a small pastry in a shop in Naples, and when I questioned the bar keeper, he just shrugged with an innocent smile and said, You're a tourist! What could I say? Didn't get pick pocketed though
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Old Feb 21st, 2017, 12:15 AM
  #22  
 
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I have been surprised by people's reactions when told we will be visiting Naples. The reactions have been 'You are what! expect to get robbed, and What are you going there for'. >>

Cheska, when we went to Sicily recently I got the same reaction from people worried about crime there. In fact the only time that someone tried to scam us [by giving change for a €10 note instead of the €20 she'd been handed] was in the ticket office of the Duomo at Ortigia. Which was really quite funny, and a good lesson for the rest of the trip only to tender the lowest possible note!

I have been "dipped" in London, and had a cup of coffee swiped off my table in Valencia, but never had anything happen in Italy. Yet.
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Old Feb 21st, 2017, 07:35 AM
  #23  
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I think that one of the charging peculiarities you find in Italy especially is that a coffee taken standing at the bar of a cafe is so much cheaper than if you sit down.

In the four days/three nights we were there we experienced not a single problem. The weather was perfect. We didn't get shortchanged or overcharged. There was no attempt to pickpocket. We had no trouble crossing any road (we are very used to just crossing in between cars here and it was quite good fun watching other tourists wait patiently at a crossing for a car to stop). Now we may just have been lucky but I don't think so.

Joshua had to get back to Potenza for a class and so we made our way to the Duomo, which was lovely, do pay the few euros to visit the little 4th century baptistry which has some very ancient mosaics.

We then tried to finish our visit with one of the underground tours but the tour times were infrequent in February and we had to catch our train back to Rome. A very good reason to return though - three nights are clearly not enough.

So, I found Naples to be hugely attractive - the setting with the bay and Vesuvius is very special. Add to that its varied and ancient history as one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and now the third largest in Italy. The historic centre is the largest in Europe and has 27 centuries of history and yet it feels very walkable - the entire historic centre is a UNESCO world heritage site. Its public transport system (well, the metro stations) is one of the loveliest in the world. It has Michelin restaurants and yet eating cheaply is easy with its fantastic cheap pizzas. There is history around ever corner but graffiti too (which didn't overly bother me).

I loved that when you are walking along the ancient streets of Via Tribunali and Spaccanapoli it was so easy to imagine earlier times.

The way the scooters hurtled along the narrow back streets was crazy but fascinating and we must have stood, open-jawed, many times as we thought there would be a crash - there never was though, but most cars show the evidence that bumps and scrapes are an inevitable part of being a motorist in Naples. We never felt at risk at all though and a walk along the narrow streets of the Quartieri Spagnoli is a must in my view as it is such a unique experience.

One of the loveliest aspects of the city is that it is so clearly a city that is lived in and lived in not just by those that have the money to be able to afford it but by ordinary people - some parts of city centres can feel so empty and sterile - I never felt this in Naples.

Yes, its not a manicured city, the graffiti, the weeds, the uneven paving, the dogshit, the pervading general lack of care for the physical environment are all in evidence but that kind of made me like it more. It's a city we will definitely return to. I thought I would like it before I went but my expectations were more than exceeded - I loved it and I hope this encourages others to give it a try.
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Old Feb 21st, 2017, 09:02 AM
  #24  
 
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tjhome1 Thanks for your report, we loved Naples and can't wait to go back for longer. You might enjoy some photos of Naples (not too many) from our trip in May, just scroll down, they start after the bruschetta

https://www.flickr.com/gp/pi_not_me/3d7t3u
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Old Feb 21st, 2017, 11:53 AM
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Sundried, stunning photos. Thank you.
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Old Feb 21st, 2017, 03:23 PM
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Loved you're trip report. The photos are amazing! We only spent a day in Naples but would love to return.
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Old Feb 21st, 2017, 06:02 PM
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Fabulous photos. I can't wait. Thanks.
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Old Feb 21st, 2017, 08:12 PM
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Great photos Sundried, thank you for adding them and am glad you captured the graffiti too - can't believe you shared a single pizza though!
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Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 05:39 AM
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Thanks treesa, cheska, tjhome1. Some of the colorful graffiti was quite attractive, I thought.

The single pizza, I know. The time before this in Naples, we did a pizza crawl which was pretty decadent. We had help though...
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Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 10:04 AM
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A pizza crawl is such a good idea - being able to compare between those that vie for title of 'best pizza' would be such fun - that's definitely going on my list for the next trip
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Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 11:25 AM
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My next story, strangely, has to do with pizza.--Every time we went to Naples, we would spend a month or so in Sardinia, with my wife's sister and her husband. Let me diverse for a second, I want to say that the world's best pizza comes from Tutino's, in Naples. The Neopolitans call it 'n coppa e mura (which means on the walls). That section of Naples, between Porta Nolana and Porta Alba had a wall connecting them in the old days. In any event, the pizza is fantastic, and I think it beats anyone's. Tutino's is in that area. OK, now for the story-- My wife and I were the only Americans on the beach in Golfo Aranci, where my sister in laws condo is. Although I speak perfect Italian, when I spoke to my wife, I spoke English. One day, this distinguished gent comes up to me and speaks pretty good English. We got into a real long conversation about his youth. It turned out that during WWII, his family in Naples were all killed by the German troops. He was alone, and existed as a street urchin. When the Americans freed Naples, he was taken in by four American soldiers as sort of an house boy. The soldiers got to love him and kept him well fed and clothed and housed. They all had a close relationship, and he really got to love the guys and learned the English language, along with all the cuss words. After the war, the troops went home, and he kept in touch with them. One by one, they got old and passed away. He went to all their services, in Alabama, Montana, and twice in New York. He never forgot them, and thinks of them often as his parents. He REALLY LOVES AMERICANS! Well, he grew up and somehow he got to make it on his own. He eventually opened up a small pizza place, and apparently, he did very well. His name is Salvatore TUTINO! The amazing thing is that I said that Tutino's pizza was fantastic BEFORE I met the gent. What a great coincidence. Because of that meeting, Tutino and I became pretty good friends. When I went to Naples and into his place and he saw me, he would yell out "L'Americano sta ca"! which in Neopolitan means The American is here. I always insisted on paying for my meal, which didn't want me to pay, but I got one concession. When I ordered anything fried, such as arancini and fried polenta, he always told the chef to use fresh oil in preparing my food.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 01:15 PM
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When I ordered anything fried, such as arancini and fried polenta, he always told the chef to use fresh oil in preparing my food.>>

very good, Waldo. you were right, - you do have some good stories.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 03:00 PM
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When I say I have stories about Naples, I have to include those which may not be in Naples themselves, but are associated with Naples. Here is another one---When we were in Sardinia, with my wife's sister and her husband, we made a lot of use of the beach right outside the condo. I would go down to the beach every morning about nine AM to get a good spot on the sand by putting my umbrella into the sand, thereby sort of reserving the spot. On that beach, near the shoreline, the sand is packed hard, so I had a little effort to secure my umbrella. I had to struggle to make a tight hole and sink the umbrella deep, so it would be secure. One day, about lunch time, we had enough of the beach for that day, and were preparing to leave. I noticed an elderly woman, who had just arrived at the beach and who always struck up a conversation with my wife and my sister in law, (after a while you get to know the regulars on the beach),trying to get her umbrella into the sand. I went to her and told her she could have my hole (I have to admit didn't use those words). I took her umbrella and immediately thrust it into the hole which which was made when I withdrew my umbrella. She was happy as a lark and blurted out real loudly "questi Americani sono molto gentile!", meaning these Americans are very kind and courteous. Naturally everyone around heard her, and we were given smiles all around. By the way, I believe we were the only Americans in Golfo Aranci. I saw very few Americans in Sardinia, all in Porto Cervo a hangout for the ultra rich. I met Denzel Washington there. That's the story that tells how I gave up my hole.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 10:28 PM
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Waldo. Lovely stories. If you ever write a book I would buy it.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 11:27 PM
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Your stories are amazing, Waldo, especially the "L'Americano sta ca". I'll try Tutino's next time I go to Napoli. Am still looking for the best pizza and it's a long quest ^^
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Old Feb 22nd, 2017, 11:39 PM
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OK we have the best pizza now for the best dessert in Naples please Waldo.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2017, 06:24 AM
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Adjacent to the Piazza Garibaldi, on a side street, I can only remember that I recognize the street by seeing the camera shop on the corner, there is a place called Attanasio's. There is always a line there because they continually bake real fresh pastry there and they are still hot when you buy them. They make all sorts of pastries. The name of the pastry they are famous for eludes me, but they make two types of this pastry, the curly type which they call "--- Rici", which means curly,and the straight type. Buying one and eating it on the spot is out of this world. They also make fabulous cannoli and others. You cannot go wrong buying pastries there. For full desserts, there is a restaurant by the Castel d'Ovo, right in it's shadow, which has a fantastic Tira Mi Su.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2017, 06:34 AM
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ToFuryFluffy--The easiest way for me to describe how to get to Tutino's is this-- Go to Piazza Garibaldi, and find the large statue of Guiseppe Garibaldi at the end of the square ( maybe it's the beginning of the square, who knows). You are now on Corso Garibaldi. Look towards the water, which is clearly visible.Walk toward the water till you reach Porta Nolana, you can't miss it, there is a large archway there. Walk towards the arch, and turn left at the first street. Make another left at the street and walk a short distance till you see Tutino's. You will be delighted.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2017, 06:36 AM
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I remember, the pastry is SFOGLIATELLI!!
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Old Feb 23rd, 2017, 08:20 AM
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Sfogliatelli is worth a trip to Naples but don't buy it at Gambrinus. Looks good tastes not so good. You want the whipped ricotta filling, not the custard type.

The best pastry I had was in a little side street coffee shop, no need to go to the big name places.
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