Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Naples, I love You

A lets us in on the secrets of her love affair with Italy's most unique city

It's fair to say I'm a tad biased when it comes to Italy. As someone once remarked, it's like me and Italy were meant to be. My love for Italy has been a lifelong affair, from my devotion to Italian art as a child, to my obsession with coffee, and in recent years having been blessed enough to visit Florence, Sienna, Milan, Calabria and Naples. 

Of late, I've fallen for Naples. This rough-round-the-edges, vibrant, crazy city has captivated me completely and has earned itself a very special place in my heart.

A typical street in central Naples, so bursting with life, it spills right out onto the street.
The city itself is a multi-layered mystery. An ancient city, build by the Greeks, it's been built, and rebuilt, layer on top of layer, time and time again. The city is a labyrinth of tiny streets all littered with remains of Roman theaters, huge baroque cathedrals, just bursting at the seems with stories.

The ancient abuts the new, the old, the beautiful and the ugly. This is Naples – honest, ugly beauty.

One of the many breathtakingly beautiful churches in Naples.

The many ages of the city overlap and collide, resulting in stark contrasts in architectural style.

The people are beautiful. Maddeningly obstinate and proud, they are completely charming, infectiously passionate and – once they get to know you – wonderfully welcoming!

I like to think Naples loves me back.

Rather than detracting from it, the graffiti somehow adds to the beauty and authenticity of the city.

The food, oh the food! Being right on the coast means fresh seafood is two-a-penny in Naples. The fishmongers are like sweet shops. And the sweet shops aren't half-bad either. And, being Italy, good food is everywhere. I've eaten in city centre cafes, chain restaurants, and out of town surely-this-is-someone's-front-room places, and in all of them, the food was exquisite. In true Italian style, simplicity is honored in cooking, as is time, and tradition.

Fresher fish you couldn't find.
A classic Neapolitan dish, spaghetti alle vongole, done very, very, well.
Like a kid in a sweetshop. Neapolitans really do sweets well, there are so many I've yet to try!
The coffee really is all it's cracked up to be. Every street corner guarantees a perfectly poured espresso, with the right balance of bitter and sweet, topped with a beautiful créma.

Un caffè. Enough said.
There are so many stories to tell, idiosyncrasies to explain and sights to share, but there's just not space for them in one blog post! Naples is an otherworldly city, just waiting to be discovered.

This was in a tiny, hidden-away restaurant in the historical centre of Naples that served only ragu and four types of pasta. Oh, and the most divine wine for less then ten euros a bottle.
Cheers, Napoli - see you soon, my love!

A x

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