I recently visited the city of Naples in Italy and I was greatly surprised to find such a beautiful place.
Naples is located in the south of Italy and it goes back to the 9th century B.C, for many of you who might not know (don’t worry I was one of them too) Naples means new city, and during WW II it was deeply bombarded. Naples holds a lot of historic wealth, which you can find in its buildings, architectural and archaeological treasures.The historic centre of Naples and its people belong to UNESCO’S World Heritage list, but let’s cut the boring history lesson and focus on the most important aspect of the city (at least for me): Its culture.
When you dive deep into the city and its centre you can’t help but find a very rich culture. Food markets in the middle of the street, merchants selling tombola (a very important game for the Neapolitans), Napoli fans supporting their soccer team, coffee places full of people drinking their espresso, people dancing in the street and overall just a great joyful atmosphere.
We decided to see the Centro Storico di Napoli (Historic centre of Naples) in there we visit Chiesa del Gesu Nuovo, Monastero di Santa Chiara, Via Toledo, Statua del Nilo, SpaccaNapoli Street, Mercato di Montesanto, Via San Gregorio Armeno, Il Corno a San Domenico Maggiore and Piazza Bellini.
One of the most impressive things for me this day was visiting the Via San Gregorio Armeno, in the street you will find a variety of artisanal nativity Christmas decorations, as well as handcrafted little sculptures of famous people around the globe. This street is very lively and during Christmas time it gets crazier as many people are browsing around. Be sure to immerse yourself in the street of San Gregorio Armeno, this is a once in a lifetime experience.
I was highly surprised to see how narrow the streets in old town were (Centro Storico), but even more surprised to see how is very common for every family to hang outside their house (normally in their big windows) all their laundry. According to my boyfriend and his sister (true Neapolitans), this is quite a common thing and every family does it.
Neapolitans have a lot of superstitions and one of the most important ones is the horn or Il cornetto. This amulet must be given to you, you can’t purchase it and it provides good luck for those who receive it. You’ll find several merchants selling it to you all over the Centro Storico.
Another day we decided to visit the catacombs of Saint Genaro, in this place the ancestors of Napoli are buried. Saint Genaro is the patron of the city and they keep his blood in the Duomo di Napoli (Naples Cathedral), every year the blood melts three times, in May, September 19th and December 16th and it is believed that if his blood doesn’t liquify then something bad will happen. Last time it didn’t liquified was in 1980 and that year the Irpinia Earthquake happened. It also didn’t liquified on December 16th, 2016 and I’m not saying anything else other than Trump.
VIsiting the treasures of Saint Gennaro is a great experience, it is said that its value is bigger than the value of the British crown jewellery. Though you can’t take pictures you will be glad to walk along these treasures and see the marvellous and exquisite jewellery from different parts of the world. (Even my home country, Colombia, contributed with emeralds to this treasure)
Now I’m not gonna talk about the food in Naples because that deserves a post for itself so I’ll promise, a second part, just about food. But what I can tell you for now is that you have never eaten pizza in your life if you haven’t been to Naples.
Lastly, we visited Castel di Sant’Elmo and Cimitero delle Fontanelle, the latter is a charnel house and holds an enormous amount of skulls and bones. It is a place of great devotion as Neapolitans still visit this place to pray for the souls and receive miracles from them.
I’m sure I need to go back and see some more things because this city is so rich and culturally diverse that you can’t see everything in a week, especially if you want to digest and really appreciate what you are seeing and I’m also sure I’m leaving out many things I saw these days but I hope I was able to put in writing the most remarkable pieces of this trip.
All I can say is Naples is a lovely place to visit, it has great food, great people, Neapolitans are heart welcoming and they will make you feel at home. So if you are not sure where to go, visit Naples, I’m sure you won’t regret going to a place that holds such an authentic culture.
if you have any comments or questions please don’t hesitate, I only intended this post as a tribute to this beautiful culture and I hope I was able to pay back with it all the wonderful generosity of the Neapolitans who showed me around. Special thanks to Rossana, Ciro, Danielle, Luciano and Ana.