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Bruce and Marija go to Naples, Alba, Neive, Turin, Florence and Paris

Bruce and Marija go to Naples, Alba, Neive, Turin, Florence and Paris

Nov 14th, 2010, 02:47 AM
  #41  
 
Join Date: May 2005
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Great stuff!!

We were there for San Gennaro last year and actually saw the liquified blood, or something liquified and dark red in glass that was held up by the priest. It was quite a scene and all of the local ladies kept pushing me forward, elbowing others out of the way to make room for me beside the priest thinking, I guess, that the foreigner had come all this way to see the miracle...

ARe you still on the mountain? Must be getting chilly by now!
ekscrunchy is offline  
Nov 14th, 2010, 01:04 PM
  #42  
 
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LOL ekscrunchy!
TDudette is offline  
Nov 16th, 2010, 09:58 AM
  #43  
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What goes up must come down--Naples Day 5 (continued)

Having a Plan B is always good when you travel. Before we set off on a trip I practice my responses to possible problems: the karate chop to delicate parts, the piercing scream of Fire in the local language, the call to the embassy. Too bad I didn't have a Plan B in place for this situation.

Bruce was sitting on a concrete slab in the parking lot, probably thinking about the lunch we were missing. Before I had a chance to present my desperate let's-just-hitchhike proposal , he reported that the irate driver told him to sit there and await further instruction. Since I wasn't constrained to sit, I approached the driver in hopes of extracting more details. Still furious, the driver conceded that he would take us down but we would not have seats. That was the best offer on hand but "no seats" can mean anything from sitting on a handsome Italian's lap to being tied to the roof. The outcome was somewhere in between--we came down from Vesuvius sitting on the floor of the bus behind the last row of seats, giggling all the way. The driver, however, was still enraged. When he finally released us he ordered us to go inside to "headquarters" to apologize. Without the slightest hesitation, or look back, we bolted.

Our next stop was Herculaneum, an easy 15 minute walk from the train station. Despite being hungry and alternately annoyed and amused by the morning's outing, we wandered the streets of Herculaneum for several hours, marveling at how well preserved it is compared to Pompeii. But Herculaneum is still not without danger. As we approached the edge of the old city, where it meet the new city above, children were hurling substantial rocks at the tourists below. We took that as a sign to leave.

There are taxis circling between the train station and Herculaneum so for 5E we returned to the train station by taxi, minimizing our chance of encountering rock throwing urchins or livid bus drivers. The return to Naples was uneventful, our train didn't even make any stops along the way.

Our attention now turned to food, since we hadn't eaten since breakfast. The nearest restaurant on my list was Mimi alla Ferrovia, (http://www.mimiallaferrovia.com) , somewhere on Piazza Garibaldi, and supposedly open all afternoon. I didn't have my books or notes so I didn't have an exact address and my attempt to locate it by walking around Piazza Garibaldi was a failure. I looked for the tourist information at the train station but couldn't find that either. Hungrily we transferred to the Metro, hoping that we'd find food as we walked between the Metro stop and our B&B but that wasn't the case either. We settled for some unremarkable pastry and coffee on via Duomo.

Dinner was at Hosteria Toledo (www.hosteriatoledo.it), another Slow Food selection. In our weakened state walking was not an option so we hailed our first taxi in Naples. Although we had an exact address and even a map, the driver had a difficult time locating the restaurant which is tucked on a small street in the Spanish quarter. He stopped several times to ask for directions. Of course we didn't mind since it gave us a chance to see the area in the safety of a taxi and without relying on our feet.

At Hosteria Toledo we were seated on the second floor in what appeared to be the English speaking section. This was the only place in Naples where we encountered predominantly tourists, perhaps because the restaurant is conveniently located to several hotels. (The notable exception was a stereotypical camorrista who arrived late and embedded himself among the innocent tourists, hiding next to a solidly built refrigerator.) The food, including a sfizietto Toledo, an assortment of fried items, and a porcini pasta, was very good. Exhausted from the day's adventures I neglected to note all that we ate, though I do know it included a bottle of wine.
Marija is offline  
Nov 16th, 2010, 10:45 AM
  #44  
 
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So... you ate at Hosteria Toledo on that Monday night? So did we! Were you at the table closest to the stairs?

We liked it very much... even though it was touristy, and the woman serving us was a little distant, the food was awesome. That is so funny we were there in the same room on the same night.
rialtogrl is offline  
Nov 16th, 2010, 10:58 AM
  #45  
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Yes, rialtogrl! We were at the table closest to the stairs. Which table were you at? I think the table behind us said their hotel recommended it and I know you were in an apartment, so that couldn't have been you, and you weren't that odd guy eating alone, so you were either across the aisle from us or the camorrista. Do you know who I mean? Or did he come after you left? He sat behind you on the other side of the refrigerator.
Marija is offline  
Nov 16th, 2010, 11:11 AM
  #46  
 
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It was me and my friend Colleen... I think you were drinking white wine? Don't ask me why I remember this. We were across from you on the side of the fridge closest to the stairs. So yes, across the aisle. I don't remember the camorrista... at one point the server sat at the table next to us to add up some checks. I think.

We had some of the salt and pepper calamari then pasta... and we were drinking red wine.
rialtogrl is offline  
Nov 16th, 2010, 01:05 PM
  #47  
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Do you think we can consider it a Fodor's GTG even if we didn't know it was taking place?
Marija is offline  
Nov 16th, 2010, 01:18 PM
  #48  
 
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LOL! I can't even imagine, sitting in the same restaurant at the same time, how cool!!

...Maybe we Fodorites should come up with some discreet way of identifying ourselves -- kind of like how Canadians often will put a small pin of their flag on their backpack or purse strap. (I have a bright orange Fodor's tote I was given at a GTG, but IMO that's waaay too obvious a thing to be carting around, especially to a nice dinner.) Imagine the GTG opportunities!!
ggreen is offline  
Nov 16th, 2010, 01:45 PM
  #49  
 
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"Do you think we can consider it a Fodor's GTG even if we didn't know it was taking place?"

Absolutely
rialtogrl is offline  
Nov 18th, 2010, 05:02 AM
  #50  
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So little time, so much of Naples yet to see---Day 6

Although we'd been in Naples for five days, we hadn't made much of a dent in our "to see and to eat" list, though we did make a point of stopping in at churches as we passed them and were fortunate to find Monte de Pieta open on Saturday. With only two days remaining, we had lots of ground to cover. Our first stop was to be Pio Monte della Miserecordia church to see Caravaggio's Seven Acts of Mercy. We knew it was right around the corner from the Duomo on via Tribunali, and we had an exact address, but we just couldn't locate it, despite asking locals. Thwarted we decided to move on and return after we got more information.

Before moving on to the second destination, the acclaimed Capella Sansevero, we made a quick espresso stop at Bar Nilo (Via San Biagio del Librai 129), one of Bruce's favorites. We weren't surprised to find Scaturchio on Piazza San Domenico Maggiore still closed so we substituted the excellent gelato from nearby Scimmia. (Scimmia seems to have locations other than the main one on Piazza Carita.)

Capella Sansevero (http://www.museosansevero.it ) is easy to find and well marked-- too bad today it's closed on Tuesdays. We'll have to return tomorrow. One of the perils of a longer stay is the tendency to delay too long visiting places that you routinely pass. Next stop: Vomero. The funicular to Vomero is surrounded by many shops, a market and an open branch of Scaturchio. Although I'm ready to pounce on a sfogliatelle, Bruce reminds me that we're heading to lunch at Osteria Donna Teresa, so I agree to defer a stop until our way back.

We take the funicular all the way to the end and start our search for Osteria Donna Teresa at Via Kerbaker 58, which is about a 10 minute walk from the funicular station if you keep going straight when you exit, instead of following signs for Castel Sant' Elmo or Certosa di San Martino. Since we were unable to visit both the Caravaggio and the Capella Sansevero and found the Osteria reasonably quickly, it was almost too early for lunch. The Osteria doesn't take reservations and appeared to be filling up so we decide to just go ahead and have lunch at an unfashionable hour. With our luck today they may close it for a private party while we're debating when the right time is to enter.

There are only 8 tables in the tiny room and turnover is quick--definitely not a place to linger. The fixed price menu is around 12E and includes an appetizer, pasta, a fish/meat dish, vegetables and dessert, as well as a quartino of house wine. There were two choices for each of the courses and we had one of each. Bruce ordered the red wine, I ordered the white, thinking that inexpensive white is sometimes better than inexpensive red, but I was very wrong. For the first, and only, time this trip, I didn't finish my wine. As expected, the food was simple but well prepared and we enjoyed watching all the activity. The main draw here is seeing vestiges of "old" Naples and sampling traditional home cooking.

From the Hosteria we walked to Castel Sant' Elmo which was clearly listed in both Cadogan and Fodor's 2007 as open on Tuesday. Not open--chiuso. The closing day must have changed since the two books were printed. (Note to self: In Italy, always stop at Tourist Information and get current hours and closings, especially for places that don't have websites.) With trepidation we continued walking to the Certosa di San Martino, around the corner from Sant' Elmo and surprisingly found it open. (My understanding is that one ticket covers both Castel Sant' Elmo and the Certosa.)

The views of Naples and the Bay are stunning outside the Certosa and we lingered quite long before actually going inside. It seemed almost a shame to wreck our perfect record of misses for the day. What's inside? The monastery contains a magnificent Capella del Tesoro as well as a museum with holdings that range from precious art to mega-sized creches. The Certosa is one of those places you wander not knowing what's going to pop up next. It was a delightful conclusion to the series of failures.

At ground level we pause at Scaturchio but they're out of sfogliatelle frolle, so I settle for some other pastry which isn't exceptional, despite all that built up anticipation, or maybe because of it. On the way back to the B&B we stop again at La Stanza del Gusto hoping for a snack but we're again told that they are closed, despite the sign proclaiming that they're open. So we sit at one of the cafes on Piazza Bellini, drink wine, and marvel at how unsuccessful we've been today.

Dinner is pizza at Da Michele, http://www.damichele.net , a short walk from the B&B through a rougher neighborhood. Once again we give our names and wait in the throng. We're lucky and the wait is only a half hour or so. The choices are limited: pizza marina, pizza margherita and beer, no wine. We order one of each. While the pizza cooks we stare at the posters of Julia Roberts in "Mangia, Prega ,Ama " with the heading "Con La Nostra Pizza" emblazoned on them, since the pizza scene was filmed at Da Michele. I find the pizzas too soupy, Bruce marvels at the crust. This is probably our least favorite pizza, from the serious pizzerias. We pass Pizzeria Trianon, one of the places on my pizzeria list, on our way back and strangely it's almost empty.

We have lots to see tomorrow to make up for today.
Marija is offline  
Nov 18th, 2010, 05:23 AM
  #51  
 
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Hope you were able to see everything you wanted. What an amazing hoot that another Fodorite was in the same resto.

"they are closed, despite the sign proclaiming that they're open"-This is one of the things my DH and I loved about this country. Italy, thy name is quirkiness!
TDudette is offline  
Nov 18th, 2010, 06:20 AM
  #52  
 
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Ah, Marija I was about to be jealous that you were able to view the Caravaggio. But it seems you had the same bad luck as us as regards whether or not things are chiuso. (For us, it didn't help that we weren't paying very much attention to the timings *before* heading out for the day...) I hope to hear you made it into Pio Monte della Miserecordia the next day!

Oh, and did I mention that Scaturchio was also closed the day we tried to go there? I'm beginning to get déjà vu - even though our trips were months apart!
ggreen is offline  
Nov 18th, 2010, 06:45 PM
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We ate at Trianon and it is fabulous... wine on the menu, but when I asked for it got a firm NO VINO. Most of the seating is upstairs so maybe that is why it looked empty... they have a nice, big dining room. Next time.
rialtogrl is offline  
Nov 19th, 2010, 01:41 AM
  #54  
 
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If looking for a definitive take on opening times and days, it's almost always best to telephone the place directly.... and hope you get someone who can tell you!

However you'll find lots of Naples "what's on" information - and the answers to a host of "How do I..." questions - in the 'Qui Napoli' magazine, which the tourism people bring out every two months.

Mostly it's in bilingual English/Italian, and a PDF version is available by clicking on the word "download" here....
http://www.inaples.it/eng/quinapoli.htm

Trust you'll find it as useful as I do!
Peter

PS: Apologies for breaking the flow - more please...
A_Brit_In_Ischia is offline  
Nov 19th, 2010, 04:19 AM
  #55  
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That's a great resource, Brit. Thanks for including it here. And thanks for telling us where the people were at Trianon, rialtogrl. Since it doesn't serve wine I'll have to toss it off my list. One more day in Naples.
Marija is offline  
Nov 19th, 2010, 10:44 AM
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Keep it coming, Marija, I'm all ears!
NanBug is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2010, 04:57 PM
  #57  
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Departure leads to desperation---Naples Day 7

I didn't have to actually consult my list of 30 recommended restaurants, 23 awesome pizzerias, 9 incredible friggitorias , not to mention all the gelaterias, pasticcerias and cafes to realize that there's no way we can sample even a little bite from each of them before we leave tomorrow, especially with the leftovers from yesterday-- a still unseen Caravaggio and Capella Sansevero--that need attention.

Google showed us an image of the elusive octagonal Pio Monte della Miserecordia where Caravaggio's Seven Acts of Mercy rests. Yesterday we had walked too far down via Tribunali in search of it, since we hadn't seen the side door entrance which is the only access to the church. Admission to the church and painting is free. You have to pay to see the museum. We were alone in the chapel, except for one other couple.

The next stop was Capella Sansevero, definitely a high point of our visit to Naples. The Veiled Christ sculpture is astounding. Don't miss it. Besides the chapel at ground level there are some anatomical displays down the staircase from the chapel. We rewarded our efficiency with early morning espresso and pastries at the Gran Caffè Aragonese which is round the corner from Sansevero. (The neighboring Scaturchio was still closed.)

I wanted a little Pulcinello to remind us of Naples so I made my way to Via San Gregorio Armeno (click on my name to see what it is and what I bought), while Bruce sampled some gelato. Since we were only in week two of a five week trip with carry-ons, I was severely restricted in what I could reasonably buy.

We had also not been to Museo di Capodimonte, Naples' major art museum in a beautiful spot overlooking the city. It was clear that the Museum should be our next destination but we succumbed to the siren song of a leisurely Neapolitan lunch. Our before-lunch sfogliatelle was to be at Pintauro, http://www.pintauro.it, a noted pastry shop. Unbelievably they were out of sfogliatelle. Nearby we spotted Ciro a Santa Brigida, recommended by both Plotkin and Capalbo http://www.ciroasantabrigida.com/il-ristorante , so we eagerly entered, afraid that if we lingered too long looking for other lunch possibilities, places might run out of food or seating.

We were happy with our window seats on the little enclosed second floor. Although there was a special lunch menu we decided to order a la carte: mozzarella di bufala, octopus, pasta, and, of course, wine. The food was well prepared and we enjoyed watching the activities on the street from our perch.

Our last dinner had to be pizza but we weren't sure where to go. The host at the B&B recommended the Ischiana pizza at Il Figlio Del Presidente on nearby via Duomo 181-183. Too bad it was closed. Since we still had to organize ourselves for an early morning departure, we headed to the nearest pizzeria, probably belonging to the same family --Pizzeria Il Pizzaiolo del Presidente, where Bill Clinton ate before embracing low cholesterol foods http://www.ilpizzaiolodelpresidente.it . The place looked deserted but that's because everyone was in the large basement. We were a little disappointed that we were going to finish our exploration of pizzerias in an ordinary pizzeria that's not the recipient of lavish praise. Fortunately, that wasn't the case--to our untrained palates, the pizzas here were as good as those we had at the more highly acclaimed places.

Since we had to leave at 7 in the morning for the airport we pre-ordered a taxi the day before. The next morning, it arrived at the appointed time and for 20E we were back at the clean and modern airport to wait for our Air Italy flight to Turin, sad to be leaving Naples, a most fascinating city.

I'll continue with Piedmont on a separate thread.
Marija is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2010, 05:57 AM
  #58  
 
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Hi, Marija --

Curious to know what your impresssions were of the Capodimonte Museum...

And, out of all the pizza joints you sampled, what was your favorite?

Thanks!
NanBug is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2010, 12:54 PM
  #59  
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Nanbug--we never did make it to the Capodimonte Museum. We had a leisurely lunch instead and wandered around Naples. Sorbillo and di Matteo both have excellent pizzas, as did Il Pizzaiolo del Presidente. I agree with those who say Da Michele's pizza is very soupy.

Have a great time in Naples. I'll be waiting to read your report and thanks for reading mine!
Marija is offline  
Nov 24th, 2010, 07:22 AM
  #60  
 
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Thanks for the info! Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your adventures...
NanBug is offline  

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