‘Nuts About Naples’
Art, History and an almost chaotic beauty, combine to make Naples more surprising than Kale not tasting like cardboard. My first trip to Naples was on my honeymoon en-route to the island of Capri. Having eaten and shopped our way through Rome, my husband and I were eager to get to Capri and went straight to the boat, bypassing a chance to explore Naples, which in hindsight was madness! This time with a couple of days spare on the end of a European Vacation it was time to experience Naples.
Italy’s third largest city is the birth place of pizza, Sophia Loren, has one of the world’s most stunning backdrops of Mount Vesuvius overlooking the bay of Naples and the history, shopping, geography, art and mind blowing cuisine all combine to make it straordinario! (AKA`^Extraordinary!)
The Grand hotel Vesuvio has that quintessential old world charm that has you feeling like you’ve stepped into a Fellini movie. Located right on the waterfront, the prestigious Hotel overlooks the Gulf of Naples, the island of Capri and Mount Vesuvius. It’s Grand entrance filled with original antiques, chandeliers luxurious Italian fabrics and parquet floors made the thought of donning a cocktail frock at check in not completely out of the question.
Afternoon cocktails with a panoramic view from the famous Caruso Roof Garden restaurant seemed like the only professional way to kick off our stay in Naples. The view from the roof across to Castel del’Ovo is a sublime backdrop for sunset cocktails and making a battle plan for day two.
The rooms are big with traditional decor and an antique charm that is impossible to go past. Even the Deluxe rooms have French doors opening on to Juliet balconies or for a bigger balcony the one bedroom suite with separate dining room and lounge overlooking the water is the way to go.
Indoor pool with a spa, turkish bath, gym and many mod cons are handy to have but with so much to explore it seemed our time was better utilised out and about exploring. Grand Hotel Vesuvio’s elegant cabin cruiser, Vesuvietta is ideal for transfers to the islands and to the Amalfi coast as well as luxury mini cruises which all seemed like a terribly sensible idea to me.
The Veiled Christ
Placed at the centre of the nave of the Sansevero Chapel, the Veiled Christ is one of the most famous and impressive works of art in the world. A wonderful friend with great knowledge of Naples took us to see the beautiful Sansevero Chapel, a noble mausoleum, which admirably reflects the multi-faceted personality of its ingenious architect, Raimondo di Sangro, seventh Prince of Sansevero. The veiled Chris is one of the most emotional and moving works of art I’ve ever had the privilege of viewing.
Perched majestically on the tiny island of Megaride is this 15th century structure was the seat of power in the area for many centuries. Originally built in the 12th century by the Normans, the castle has been renovated many times over the course of history. Now, the twin-towered castle grants visitors with breathtaking panoramas, while the Museum of Prehistory it houses, tells a tale of the area’s people.
Ciro a Mergellina or Da Ciro
It’s a crime not to visit Naples and a tragedy not to have lunch at Ciro a Mergellina. Throw a stone in any direction in Naples and you can be assured of getting great pizza but the cuisine at Ciro’s is on a whole other level. It takes it’s name from the neighborhood in Naples where it is located, Mergellina.
Aside from smart looking waiters, crisp white table clothes and a light bathed room that has long lunch written all over it, the extensive menu makes ordering the only dilemma. Stunning local seafood with special mention to the Bass with green olives, melt in your mouth Burrata, Swordfish, lobster and char grilled baby octopus make it a must dine experience in a setting that’s superb. The wait staff were so welcoming we felt like visiting family.
If you’ve been exploring Castel del’Ovo then an early dinner at Transatlantico is the ideal place for a delightful bite and pit stop for your walk weary legs. At the front of the castle by the marina opposite the Grand Vesuvius it’s just a short stroll to bed after a big day of exploring. Tables out the front overlooking the water of the marina at days end is a serene place to sit and enjoy a glass of vino with dinner for two. The pasta with prawns and the caprese salad with a vino bianco is a nice idea. Loads of menu offerings including fresh prawns, BBQ squid and simple classic pasta dishes make a perfect punctuation to an afternoon at the castle.
My advice is just head out and walk around as what you will experience along the way and the accidental shopping you will find far out ways the tips of where to go. That said …Via Toledo is one of the longest shopping street in Naples, where you will find numerous boutiques, a department store, and branches of big chains. Located in this street, which is for the most part a pedestrian area, is also the Galleria Umberto I, which impresses by its neoclassical architecture.
My best finds were from wandering around and exploring without guidance. (except from my husband who gently steered me away from the really dangerous areas like the Gucci store and Prada)
Grand Hotel Vesuvio
The Veiled Christ
The Castel del O’vo
Ciro a Mergellina or Da Ciro
Mrs Walsh (& MR!) X