I heart Naples
My son and I went for a walk from Santa Lucia to Mergellina – about 4km return – along the sea front and had a gelato at the famous Chalet Ciro. Neapolitan ‘chalets’ are like little beach huts that sell coffee, cake, gelato, a drink etc. Mergellina reminds me of Cannes – gorgeous people sipping aperitifs in the afternoon sun surrounded by palm trees and million dollar yachts. It’s a beautiful spot.
Those who say Naples' metro stations are ugly, graffiti filled rat holes should take a look at the new metro Line 1 - particularly Toledo station which is on Via Toledo. I've never seen anything like it and the beautiful artwork and mosaics totally compensated for the tricky journey.
Hope you enjoyed Part One – this is the remaining four days in Naples and Procida. And we STILL didn’t cover everything in ‘the plan’.
We first went to the Galleria Umberto where he told us this really sweet story about the central floor mosaic which is all signs of the zodiac. He said if you stand on your sign, spin once and make a wish, according to the superstitious Neapolitans, your wish will be granted. I love that. So of course we spun on our signs and made our wishes. We then went to GESU NUOVO which, again is an oh my gosh over the top Baroque affair. It’s nothing to look at from the outside but wow – walk in and your jaw hits the floor. There is small chapel inside dedicated to Saint Guiseppe Moscati who was a doctor who looked after the poor. There are silver offerings to him covering the walls and photos of family members he’s healed. It was astonishing to see. We then went to the CLOISTERS OF SANTA CHIARA which costs 4.50 euros to enter – please don’t miss this place. The colourful tiles and water features are just gorgeous.
They could just ride along on their reputation and jack up their prices but we paid 14 euros for two massive pizzas, a beer and a coke. If you don’t already know, they only serve two varieties – Margherita and Marinara and you will have to share a table with someone else but hey, that chewy crust, that cheese, that fresh tomato sauce. You won’t care. So now I’ve had the best pizza on earth – bucket list item duly ticked.
We returned to Naples and had another wonderful couple of days.
Back to Naples on the ferry and a surprise for Sam – I booked us into the EXCELSIOR HOTEL for the night. This is one of those five star places where celebrities from years gone by have stayed. The foyer is all chandeliers, plush carpets, marble, uniformed door staff, grand pianos and look who that is coming down the giant staircase – it’s Sophia Loren (no, not really…). This place is heavy duty glamour. I booked through Venere.com and got a good deal – 215 euros for a seafront room which was almost as big as my house and which was recently renovated. It even had a little balcony so we could pop outside and marvel at the Bay of Naples in front, Vesuvius to the left and Castel dell Ovo to the right.
It was worth every single last euro I paid. It was a great way to say goodbye to Naples and the breakfast buffet even had champagne so I had a glass and toasted all my blessings thus far in this utterly beautiful city.