Wednesday, September 4, 2013

One week in Naples, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast || Things to do in Naples when visiting for a day

This summer I spent a glorious week in the beautiful Amalfi Coast. I had heard the rave reviews from friends who had been there, read the guidebooks and seen the pictures but still, nothing prepared me for how magnificent the Amalfi coast is - I have never seen such beauty like that before. We couldn't get enough of the views and I think this is the first vacation where going to the beach or finding a nice restaurant to eat was not a priority at all. All we wanted to do was visit as many pretty towns as possible, wander around winding paths, soak up the Italian sun and let our eyes feast on the views.


But first, the easiest way to get to the Amalfi Coast is to go from Naples and so we ended up spending a day in Naples. I wasn't expecting much but the short time I spent there had me changing my mind. There's more to Naples than just pizza and we really enjoyed our time there. Here are the things I recommend you do if you're there for a short visit:

Via Toledo



1. Walk around the Historic Centre

Wander around Centro Storico - the historic centre to get a feel for the heart and soul of Naples. We had heard so many stories that Naples was a 'rough' city -but I found walking around to be rather nice and pleasant - sure it wasn’t as picture perfect as the streets of Rome or pretty as Verona but there was a sort of dark romantic film noir element to it and all the things that people warn you about are just same precautions you should take for any big city. In Naples, be aware of your purse, watch out for the scooters that zip past you and you’ll be fine.








2. Take an evening stroll down the Marina


If you walk all the way down Via Toledo – on the main roads of Naples, you reach the marina. The road along the marina closes after 7 pm and becomes a freeway for the locals to wander around with children or go running with their dogs. Sit at one of the restaurants over looking the marina, order a plate of pasta and a glass of wine and spend a pleasant hour or so people watching.









3. Eat classic Napoli pizza from a pizzeria on Via dei Tribunali

Of course you have to eat pizza in Naples and some of the best joints are on Via Tribunali in Centro Storica like Di Matteo, Lombardi, Sorbillo, We picked Di Matteo which supposed to one of the best and most famous in the city. We entered the tiny pizzeria and for 3.50 euros, you get an amazingly large pizza dripping with cheese and sauce that at first glance you think you might not finish but trust me you will! My absolute favourite was the Melanzana Margherita. A classic combination of mozzarella  basil and tomato with aubergines added to it. The pizzas in Naples were light, flavourful and tasted so fresh. If there is only one thing you do in Naples, then has to be to eat the pizza.





4. Eat a pastry from Sfogliatella Mary

This tiny little pastry shop, located right in front of Galleria Umberto on Via Toleda, has some of the most decadent Italian desserts I have ever seen. It took a lot of willpower to limit myself to two choices. Extremely cheap and very popular with the locals, grab a pastry or two while you’re wandering down Via Toledo one evening.




5. Stay at Spaccanapoli Comfort Suites


Our hotel was fantastic. It's too bad we were only in Naples for one night. More like a B&B, its set right in the heart of Naples between the Spanish quarter and the historic centre in a beautifully restored old building, from where we could just step outside and start exploring the city. Our room was clean, spacious and full of light. And though the bathroom was not en-suite, it was just outside our door so it wasn't an issue for us. Breakfast was such a spread – cereal, croissants, cold meats, different types of breads, fruit, yogurts  jams…the list goes on! I even got served a freshly made cappuccino.

But the best feature was probably the people who run it: Umberto, who was warm and friendly and very responsive to emails we sent full of questions and Adrianna, who helped us plan out our day in Naples. She marked out routes and stops and things we should see and eat, we didn't even need to take out our guidebook out thanks to her! I highly recommend staying there. We spent 80 euros for a double for one night. Here are the details in case you’re interested:

Spaccanapoli Comfort Suites
Via F. Girardi, 37 - 80134 - Napoli



Coming up next: 6 days in Sorrento to explore the Amalfi Coast

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