Naples, Napoli in Italian, is often overlooked when it comes to Italy’s roster of incredible cities and shies down in the shadow of Rome, Florence, Milan and Venice. But this Southern sea-side metropolitan has plenty to be boastful of its own. Naples is one of the purveyor of epicurean heavyweights of Italy, which is a lot to say. The birth place of Buffalo Mozzarella, pizza and too-good-to-be-true food, the rich volcano soil, the abundant sea and acres and acres of farms do contribute to Napoli’s decadent food choices.
One of the most celebrated spots in the whole city, Caffe Gambrinus located on Piazza Trieste E Trento, is perhaps one of the oldest cafe’s in the city boasting a fantastically rich history dating back centuries with politicians and diplomats and royals coming here for a coffee-break. Stop by for a couple of pictures and an espresso or an aperitivo or two.
Also accessible from Piazza del Plebiscito is the Palazzo Reale. One of Naples’ main monuments, this sovereign spectacle should not be omitted from your itinerary. Dating back over 400 years, the palace is something to behold. The French are responsible for the neoclassical interior thanks to their rule in 19th century, the hanging garden and statues of Neapolitan kings came later on in that century.
The imposing apartments house a collection of paintings, chandeliers, tapestries, frescoes and furniture from the 17th to 19th centuries. The Palace also includes within its grounds the Biblioteca Nazionale, containing masterpieces which date back as early as the fifth century.
If you don’t want to pay admission but can’t wait to hear more historical tales, don’t forget the Castel dell’Ovo. Its current appearance doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to how the site looked under the Romans in the first century BC when it was part of general Lucullus’ estate.
The castle has been occupied by the military for 1,000 years and its current look is due to work by the Aragonese in 16th century. Visitors should cross the bridge, pass through the portal and stroll over to where the gun emplacements used to stand, all the while painting an imaginary picture of historical military action.
For a romantic dinner that you’ll cherish as a couple, book a table at Al Faretto/Al Faro to enjoy a well-prepared dish of seafood or pizza with a quality bottle of wine in the tranquility of the secluded restaurant looking out from its terrace.
For a hearty traditional meal, try Antica Trattoria da Carmine which is located near the ancient church of San Lorenzo Maggiore and specialises in pasta, patate e provola as well as beef fillet. It also leaves you with some money remaining in your pocket.
For interesting recipes, great sea food, a pleasant setting and good quality service, eat at Poseidone. One dish combines fresh mussels with aubergine, and they offer a baked white chocolate dessert which you’d be silly not to try.
On a short trip abroad, every traveller wants to top off the break with an evening activity that entertains and remains in the brain. A fine choice would be the Tam Cabaret which comes to Naples every weekend and is a hit with both locals and tourists. Timeout.com’s review of it labels it “cosy, colourful and lots of fun”, and it includes the option for dinner and bar service.