giovedì 5 febbraio 2015

“Vedi Napoli e poi muori” / “View Naples and then die”

The name of this article is taken by a famous phrase by the German writer Wolfgang Goethe who loved Naples so much when he visited it that for him you didn’t need to see anything else in your life and you could die in peace. During the Romanticism many European intellectuals traveled to Italy and they found it beautiful. Stendhal too said that Naples was the most beautiful city in the world and that only Naples and Paris were worth a visit in Europe.

Effectively, Naples is a beautiful city in the South of Italy. It is the county town of the Campania region and for me it owes most of its beauty to the sea. Living in a seaside town is so pleasant to me because you both have all the benefits of a big city and the healthy presence of the sea.

It is a city rich of art and history; it has a lot of important monuments and its old town centre has been included in UNESCO’S world heritage site. Its buildings have a lot of different architectural styles so that Naples and the surrounding area can be considered an open-air museum.

You can reach Naples by train or by car. It’ll take you approximately 2 hours to reach the city from Rome by car and 1 hour and a half by the high-speed train (from Termini Station).

These are some important spots in Naples you can’t miss:

Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo in Piazza del Gesù Nuovo / Gesù Nuovo Church and Square
This beautiful Church raises on a square with the same name (Piazza del Gesù Nuovo). It is an important example of the Baroque style while the façade is made of a particular kind of stone (piperno), typical of the Campania area. These stones were cut in a pyramid shape so that all the facade gets a strange and esoteric appearance. It is absolutely worth a visit.

Piazza del Plebiscito / Plebiscito Square
It is a big square positioned between Toledo Street and the seafront so it has a beautiful position. It is one of the biggest square of the city and it is surrounded by important historical buildings such as: Basilica di San Francesco di Paola and Palazzo Reale. If you glance up from the square you can also see the Vomero hill with the “Certosa di San Martino”.

Galleria Umberto I / Umbert I Arcade
Not far from Piazza del Plebiscito and going up to Via Toledo you’ll find the Umberto I Arcade. It is a beautiful example of the Liberty style and it’s an important trade point of the city (on the first floor there are a lot of shops).
When you go inside don’t forget to glance up and note the glass dome. A curiosity: the gallery was the place where once worked the so called “sciuscià” (shoeshine) of the city, all the rich people used to go there to have their shoes cleaned.
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the Arcade during Christmas holidays
Maschio Angioino (also called “Castel Nuovo” - New Castle)

It is an ancient medieval castle and a symbol of the city. It is very big, so you have to plan a visit when you have enough time available. Inside you can visit many halls, three small churches, the prison and the civic museum. From its bastions you will enjoy a beautiful view over the sea and the Vesuvio volcano, so that you can become aware of the beauty of the Naples Gulf.

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Castel dell’Ovo (The Egg Castle) also called “Castrum Lucullanum

It is the most ancient castle of the city. It rises on the small island of Megaride where in the 8th century B.C. was founded the first town centre called “Partenope”. Its name originates from a legend: the latin poet Virgilio hid an egg inside the castle (“ovo” in Italian means “egg”) which had to support the entire clastle. If the egg had broken, the castle would have fallen down and a series of disasters would have happened to the city. As it is so ancient, it has a lot of history and you can visit its halls where sometimes some exhibitions take place. Outside the castle there is a very nice small port where you can find restaurants and bar.

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Cappella Sansevero / Sansevero Chapel (Cristo Velato/ The Veiled Christ)

Inside the Sansevero chapel there is a sculpture masterpiece “Cristo Velato” sculpted by Giuseppe Sanmartino in 1753. It is a marble sculpture representing Jesus Christ dead, lying down on a mattress and covered with a veil. It is so beautiful because it seems real: it is a full-size statue and the artist succeeded in giving a suffering expression to it working on a single block of marble. You cannot but be amazed and moved when you see it!

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For more information visit the official site


Naples is famous not only for its history, art, for its palaces, buildings and castles but also for its food. You’ll find a lot of typical products and  tasty dishes famous all over the world. Are you curious? Read below ;)
If you travel to Naples you can’t miss to taste its tomatoes, they are so tasty! You’ll find different type of pomodori*:
pomodoro sammarzano
pomodorino vesuviano

The Neapoletan pizza is famous because it has a large border (often filled with ricotta *cheese). The most famous pizza in the world is “Pizza Margherita” with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil* (these ingredients have the colours of the Italian flag: red, white and green).
pizza margherita
Gragnano pasta and paccheri (kind of pasta)
pasta di Gragnano

Among vegetables* we find friarielli (broccoli rabe) and scarola (endive) served with black olives (olive nere)

scarola con olive
Mozzarella di Bufala (buffalo mozzarella)

mozzarella di bufala
Insalata caprese (caprese salad) made with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil and sometimes Gaeta olives* (olive di Gaeta)

insalata caprese

Among desserts we find: sfogliatella riccia o frolla (pastries filled with cream), babà, torta caprese (made with almonds and chocolate).

from left to right: babà, sfogliatella riccia, sfogliatella frolla

torta caprese

At last, you can’t finish a lunch or dinner in Naples without tasting a good Neapoletan coffee (una tazzulella ‘e cafè)! and a shot* of limoncello (a liqueur* made with Amalfi lemons).


caffè e caffettiera napoletana*

Now a little bit of  dictionary (the words with the symbol * are mentioned in the text):

*Tazzina da caffè

Small cup


Coffee maker





Piatto di pasta

Pasta dish

Piatto da frutta

Fruit dish










Small glass, shot glass

*Pomodoro / i

Tomato / tomatoes









Olio di oliva

Olive oil


Liqueur , spirit

*Verdura, ortaggi





Starter / Appetizer

Primo piatto

First course

Secondo piatto

Second course


Side dish


Dessert, cake








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