A couple of weeks ago, I spent a weeklong adventure in Naples, Italy, traveling during the day and attending my classes at night. This was also the first big trip that I had to travel completely on my own. I was a bit worried at first, when people told me that Naples was kind of a dangerous place to travel alone, but after I've done it, I can honestly say that I wish I had ignored that advice. Naples and the surrounding area is fine to travel alone, as long as you are a pretty independent and adventurous person that pays attention to their surroundings.
I'm going to start using a ranking system for my posts because I feel it will be a helpful guide. The key to the ranking system will be at the bottom of the post. For Naples, I am ranking the trip high for near a beach, big city, good food, historical/museums, photo ops, and shopping!
If you are staying near the Capodichino airport like I did, there are very easy ways to navigate the city and the surrounding areas. I took the Alibus near the airport to The Port of Naples for my first day. The Alibus only goes to two stops; the train station and the Port of Naples. Very easy. And the cost is 3-4 Euro.
I arrived at my stop and immediately I could see the port and sea on the right and The Castel Nuovo on my left. I had some key places that I was advised to visit. I had no idea where I was going, but I did have my phone activated so I used my iPhone GPS to guide me to certain points. I was advised to try the famous Napoli pizza. And the best place to do that was Brandi Pizza where supposedly the first Margherita pizza was invented. I made my way towards the pizza shop and it was pretty easy to find and not far from port. Unfortunately, the guy said the shop wasn't open for another two hours. Nooo. I couldn't wait that long to eat lunch so I walked a few blocks more and found another pizza place. Here is my lunch. I opted for a Diavolo pizza which has salami, cheese, and apparently one basil leaf. To be honest, I'd take a New York pizza over a Napoli pizza any day. The crust was too thin and flavorless and there was way too much sauce and not enough cheese or basil. But, I guess that's their style. You also can't really order just one slice so you get an entire pizza. And I won't even get into the whole "seating fee" thing.
I decided to walk over to what had turned out to be the shopping area. There was a huge row of stores with beautiful Italian clothing, purses, beauty products, etc. I actually ended up buying this gorgeous teal and gold leather purse by Valentina, which I guess is a popular Italian brand.
Not wanting to spend too much money, I walked through the Galleria Umberto. It's mainly a shopping and business area, but it's mosaic glass ceiling and beautiful architecture make it worthy of a stroll.
Another restaurant I was told to try was Gabrinus cafe which was actually right near the pizza place I had eaten at earlier. I was told to go there for the Conollo, so that I did. I also tried a Cappuchino Freddo or iced cappuchino. Maybe it's because I'd never tried a Conollo before, but I thought it was just so so. The creme inside was great but it was a pretty hard pastry. Maybe they are the same thing but does anyone know the difference between a Conollo and Cannoli? Is one the Italian name and one the American name?
I decided that I wanted to go and get a look at the Castel Nuovo known to Italians as the Maschio Angioino, which is the big castle I saw when I first pulled in to the port. It was only a few Euros to get in and it was very relaxing. I could see a lot of other solo travelers just walking around at their own pace. The building of this midieval castle began in 1279 during the reign of Charles I of Anjou. It was built by the French architect Pierre de Chaule. The castle has been renovated multiple times over the centuries and now stands as the symbol of the city of Naples and it is used for cultural events and a museum.
Here are some uncovered bodies, though I'm not sure what their significance is. Probably royalty that had inhabited the castle at one point.
There actually weren't that many rooms that one could visit because most of the rooms in the castle were blocked off for offices. I was actually surprised and didn't understand what all the offices were for. It seemed that half of the castle was filled with offices and people on computers.
I had a very enjoyable experience at The Port of Naples. Solo travel here might not be best for everyone, but I didn't feel that I was unsafe. It's certainly nicer than some of the places I saw as the bus was making it's way to the port; Like the train station. Though the port is nice, most of Naples is filled with crowds of people, too many Vespa's zipping all over the place, and trash EVERYWHERE. The trash is really a problem here. And so is the driving! I have never seen such bad driving in my life and I've been to a lot of cities. There is not rhyme or reason to how people drive, it's kind of like, pick a lane and try to get your car in there first. Pile ups are essential. Very dangerous, and I wouldn't recommend driving in Naples.
Next Stop: The Island of Capri (You don't want to miss this!)
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