Southern Italy, Caravaggio, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Napoli, Street art, Napoli Centro Storico
Last week, after 33 years, SSC Napoli won the Series A title and the 2022/23 Scudetto. The last time they won was 1990, when Maradona played for the team. This is a big deal! The streets of Napoli are always vibrant and exciting, but I would have loved to see the celebrations. The stalls of San Gregorio Armeno likely sold more Napoli team figurines than Presepio pieces this week!
In honour of the big win, I am writing about Napoli-the city. If you have already read my post Un giorno a Napoli, this one is a continuation…..another day in Napoli! In June, I took a spontaneous trip to Santorini, flying in and out of Capodichino, Napoli’s airport. On the way back, I stayed the night and took the bus back to Orsara di Puglia the following afternoon.
My primary objective was to finally see l’ultimo Caravaggio, the artist’s last painting, which up until 1990 was attributed to one of his followers. Read about my adventure seeing the ‘wrong’ Caravaggio in the post.
Since it was close to the new location of the painting, I stayed on lively Via Toledo, near the award winning Toledo metro station and in between the port and Quartieri Spagnoli. Read about the new exhibition space and my visit in Gallerie d’Italia Napoli. There is still 1 Caravaggio painting left for me to see in Napoli on my next visit-at the Museo di Capodimonte!
The Chiostro di Santa Chiara is another place I missed on previous day trips. The church was built starting in 1310 and the chiostro or cloister is well known for the addition of Rococo style majolica tiles in 1742.
Santa Chiara is located on the 2km long street known as ‘Spaccanapoli’ meaning ‘cut across Napoli’ because it cuts the centro storico in half. It is one of the 3 Decumani, east/west streets in the grid layout of the Greco-Roman city of Neapolis.
Napoli has the largest Centro Storico in Europe and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. Think of it as an open air museum. Via dei Tribunali was decorated with a lot of laundry for some reason!
Nunspotting on Via San Gregorio Armeno. I did not buy any Presepio accessories or Napoli team figurines, but perhaps these sisters did?
I walked past the Duomo just in time to see a dramatic wedding kiss. The bride was clearly satisfied! The Duomo Santa Maria Assunta was built over the site of a temple to Neptune. It was damaged in a 15th century earthquake and repeatedly renovated, resulting in a mishmash of styles and a Neogothic facade.
Walking down Via Toledo to the end, passing Piazza Plebescito, I ended up at the waterfront and a view of Vesuvio. Hopefully I will be back here at the port in a few months to take the ferry to Procida.
Sfogliatelle were consumed, of course. This crunchy layered pastry, filled with sweet ricotta, lemon and candied peel is amazing. Sfogliatelle in Napoli are delicious and inexpensive. I had one served hot from the oven at Antico Forno Attanasio, Via Ferrovia 1-4 just a few blocks from Piazza Garibaldi. At €1.30, why stop at just one? I bought a whole bag to bring back to Orsara! I also had one from Pintauro on Via Toledo 275, the oldest sfogliatelle place in Napoli. It was heavenly!
More street food heaven… I had a cuopo friggitori Napoletano. This is a paper cone filled with fritto misto-a mixture of fried stuff-fish, vegetables and pizze fritte. Yum!Graffiti is elevated to a fine art form in Napoli. I wrote a post on Napoli street art, and saw some new stuff. ‘Consumerism Street’ was taken on Via Toledo. The small print under the sardine can says ‘Alla fine siamo tutti uguali’/In the end we are all equal.
In a tradition of pay it forward, Napoli has ‘caffè sospeso‘. This is a ‘pending caffè’, paid for in advance as an anonymous gift. Someone asking if there is a caffè sospeso available would receive it for free. This is actually an old tradition that has recently had a resurgence.
Still haven’t visited Napoli? What are you waiting for? To quote myself …’Napoli is underrated, misunderstood and does not get the love it deserves, except from fans of Elena Ferrante novels. News of corruption, the Camorra and ongoing garbage crises give it a bad rep. It it ironic that everyone-including many Italians- fears for their life and thinks it is just a crime pit, when Napoli is actually safer than most large North American cities. It is vibrant, wonderfully chaotic, full of life and passionate, friendly people. Napoli has an ‘edge’ to it and is anything but boring’.
According to an old saying ‘Vedi Napoli e mori’. I hope you enjoyed un altro giorno a Napoli! When you go, have an extra sfogliatella for me! Buon viaggio, Cristina