It’s become something of a tradition for me recently to try and ‘do’ a city in a day when visiting. Often – such as my trips to Dusseldorf, Cologne and Berlin – it’s down to time constraints, however in Naples it was more down to the fact that I wanted to do a lot of stuff out of the city in places like Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Unsurprisingly, I left the research to a quick browse of Wikitravel and Google Maps and made a very loose plan of things to see. I was a little shocked to see just how close together everything in Naples is; whether that’s down to it being a small city or just the fact that anything worth seeing is close to something else worth seeing is up for debate!
As luck would have it, I bumped into Luis from my pizza adventure the previous night and it turned out he had a similar plan to mine. Two heads are better than one as they say, so we headed out together to explore the city without much of an idea what to do!
The first stop was Castel Nuovo which, as is the standard for my sightseeing trips, was surrounded by construction. Luckily though it wasn’t intruding on the castle which, despite its name, is hundreds and hundreds of years old.
Unsurprisingly, it’s no longer the home to royals and the like and these days acts more as a cultural centre and museum. I’d love to say we went in and learnt a lot, but my mum brought me up not to be a liar. Still, we got some cool pictures, and that’s the real quiz.
The shopping centre across from Teatro di San Carlo
Not exactly a tourist sight, but it looked pretty cool. Cutting edge stuff here, guys.
Piazza del Plebiscito
A huge, grandiose plaza with loads of open space. On the one end you’ve got the Basilica di San Francesco di Paola (rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?) which looks startlingly similar to the Pantheon in Rome, and opposite that you’ve got the Palazzo Reale. No prizes for guessing whether we went beyond the courtyards of these places or not.
The sheer scale of the place is impressive, but perhaps the most important thing is its proximity to the Bay of Naples, where you can partake in such cultural activities like drinking Aperol Spritz in the sun and realising you’re a pasty white English man who’s forgotten to put suncream on. Thank god for hats. If only they stretched down to my arms.
The Bay of Naples
Speaking of the bay, it’s a nice place to kick back with a drink as I said, but plenty of people were lounging about sunbathing on rocks (for some bizarre reason) and swimming in the sea.
Unfortunately, I’m the type of person who can go on a two week beach holiday and not even look at the water, so this didn’t float my boat. Oh, and speaking of which, there were plenty of people blasting shite music from boats in the water too. So if terrible tunes and swimming are your thing, head on down to the bay for a great/awful day!
The egg castle of Naples is not even remotely egg-like. Not sure what you might be expecting it to look like with a name like that. I’m no architect, so I’m not sure if it’s even plausible.
It’s a pretty cool sight, as it’s located directly on the bay and stands on a peninsula. Unfortunately, it was a Sunday so it closed early in the afternoon so we couldn’t go in. To be honest though, I’m not too sure we would’ve done anyway.
This place has a good few names, so delete where appropriate.
As I’ve said in the past, I find such places a case of once you’ve seen a few you’ve seen them all, yet I still find myself visiting every time I’m in a city with a ‘famous’ one. Nope, I don’t know why either.
Thankfully this one was free to enter, as I vowed after Verona I wasn’t paying to enter a cathedral again. It was as impressive as most cathedrals are. Make of that what you wish. I also got told to remove my hat – may God strike me down and all that.
While all these places are good to see, I found the beauty of Naples to be in just wandering the streets and watching the madness unfold. A better place for people-watching you could not wish to find. I’ll do anything to justify my lack of planning.
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Castel dell’ovo is called like this because of a legend. An alchemist called virgilio put an egg in the fundations of the castle, and predicted that when the egg broke, the city of Naples would be destroyed. I don’t remember the exact date, but at some point the rumour that the egg was broken star running in the city, causing widespread panic.
How interesting! Thanks for the comment, Silvana!