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I only wrote one piece so far on Vocal, so I don't assume you know that I am from Naples, Italy. At the moment I live in the UK.
I miss living there as hell, so I am planning on writing about it a lot!
Right now, these are the top five of my favorite places!
Number 5: The City Center
I moved to Naples when I was 18, I had just started university and life was a big incognita.
I had always lived in a small town nearby and spent in Naples many Sundays at my grandparent's house before moving there in 2008.
To be honest I didn't even like it. I didn't hate it, but I wasn't really fond of it either.
It took me a whole year, but one day I had my epiphany.
It was raining and I was walking through the ancient center, you know, that maze of tiny little streets that was established by the Greeks and was the center of the city at the time of the Romans. It was almost Christmas and there were all these little market stalls, figurines from the nativity scene and tiny Christmas lights.
All of a sudden, I was happy and in love with it.
So the city center and Via Dei Tribunali, definitely in my top five!
If by any chance you stop by (and you really should), don't forget to visit San Gregorio Armeno and its world-famous nativities!
The city center is a compulsory stop every time I go to Naples, even if only for few days: I have breakfast, walk around (always keeping my nose up, you never know the treasures you can find in the open palazzi), enter all the open churches, and have a pizza for lunch. The pizza there is compulsory too!
(I promise I will write about the food one day.)
Number 4: Sant' Antonio a Posillipo (or 13 scese)
I don't think you will find this place on many touristic leaflets, or even websites, but it is definitely one of my favorite views of the city. Indeed, I have a canvas of it in my house, here in the UK.
I am sure you have seen it though, this is the most famous panorama of Naples, it is the typical postcard picture.
You may need a car or a cab to get there but then, I assure you, it is absolutely worth it! It looks at East so the sunrises are amazing, with the sun that appears behind the Vesuvius. It is incredibly beautiful at night time as well, with the lights of the city that are in contrast with the darkness of the sea.
During my years at uni, we have celebrated many birthdays and graduations, just hanging among friends, with glasses and wine bottles. Sometimes we had cake too. I am sure I have learned there an Eastern European dance half drunk during the celebration of my bachelor degree.
This place makes me happy, it fills my soul with beauty.
I believe there is a food cart parked there to fill my stomach as well!
Number 3: Parco Virgiliano
Close to Sant'Antonio, from the Virgiliano you can enjoy a breathtaking sunset (better with no clouds).
It took me six years to bring my partner (Alessandro) here at sunset. We tried many times but always failed and arrived there at dawn. So, last Easter we set really early, and I could finally take the picture at the top of this paragraph. Of course, it was cloud—With my incredible luck, I bring the rain from UK every time I go back.
The park is in the middle of the Gulf of Naples on the hill of Pausillipon (from the greek "respite from worry"). On the East side, there is the Vesuvius overlooking the city and on the West one, Bagnoli, Nisida and the other islands. In front of you, like a beautiful sleeping princess, Capri.
Again, Neapolitans just hang there, have a drink, take a coffee, sometimes a picnic. Someone takes a book, more often a SuperSantos (very famous brand of football).
People from all social backgrounds hang there because if there is something that keeps us together, that is the beauty!
Number 2: Lungomare
If you haven't noticed, most of my favorite places look at the city from above or are related to the sea. I love it so much, I don't even know why. I like to think that it is because I was born in a room facing the sea, really close to via Caracciolo, on the seafront.
I believe the lungomare (n.d.r. seafront) is one of the most visited attractions in Naples, and definitely in my top five.
The castle in the middle of the sea and the island where it was built (Megaride) are filled with mystery and legends.
Here is where the city was founded: after the corpse of Partenope (mermaid from the Odyssey) washed ashore. Here is where marine and vegetal nymphs used to live freely before the Roman Lucullus built his own villa. Here is where the magician Virgilio hid an egg (ovo), whose faith was entangled to the city itself!
Neapolitans often go for a slow walk (passeggiata) to enjoy the sun, the noise and the smell of the sea, and to eat something.
Indeed, everything has to do with food here!
This is another compulsory stop of my touristy days in Naples.
Number 1: The Staircases
The truth is: I couldn't pick only five places, so I am including three in one.
The city is built on multiple hills, thus it has staircases everywhere connecting the top with the bottom.
Any time I find one I have to see where it goes (only if it is downhill though, I am crazy but not that much), because eventually, I know, it will lead me to the sea.
All of this while catching glimpses of this panorama I like talking about so much!
So, if you like stairs, panoramas, the smell of clean clothes drying out in tiny streets, you should check out La Pedamentina, Il Petraio, and Calata San Francesco.
This last one is where I brought Alessandro on our first date, almost seven years ago. We had a beer and walked all the way down to the Lungomare and the Castel dell'ovo. It was a warm spring night, and probably the reason this is my favorite place!