I play this game every time I visit a big city – I imagine what kind of person this city would be. Would it be male or female? Young or old? What kind of personality would this city have? What would it wear? What would it do for work?
If Naples was a person, it would be a guy in his late 30s. A little douchy, loud, obnoxious.
He drinks house wine, light beer, and Aperol spritz. What’s up with these anyway? Cheap prosecco, and a splash of Aperol results in a headache inducing Mimosa-like concoction one might drink in his teens. Blech. But, back to Naples…
He’s wiry, high energy. Dark hair, olive skin. Medium height, medium build. A little shady, a little sleazy. Disheveled.
He wears worn out formerly white Adidas shoes with now grey laces, which are dragging on the floor. Faded and ripped jeans hang at the knees, and bunch up at his ankles. He pops an olive in his mouth distractedly. He sticks a cigarette in his mouth with one hand, while biting the nails on the other.
He eats street pizza for lunch. One euro and fifty cents, and the best pizza in the world is handed to him on a paper napkin, folded once and then again.
Dinner is often a drink or two at the local bar, with the spread of snacks, as most bars do here. Olives, fava beans, small pieces of cheese on a toothpick. Throw-everything-in-the-bowl salad – with lettuce, ham, corn, feta, and white beans. Potato croquets, and rice balls.
My first visit to Naples two years ago lasted four hours, and did not leave a very good impression. We were in transit between Milan and south of Italy, and Naples was an intentional pizza stop. We walked from the central station to the historical centre, and I spent the entire time clutching my wallet.
Of all places, I do not actually mind Napoli Centrale itself. The area surrounding the station is super sketchy, but once you get inside (or, perhaps, never get outside, if you are simply going through Naples), you get a fairly spacious modern space, more reminiscent of an airport. So what if there are needles in the bathrooms? The coffee is probably the best coffee you will get at any train station anywhere.
Second visit is very different – we intentionally aim to spend more time in the city, and have time to see the beautiful main piazza, the busy shopping streets, and the waterfront. From all the places I visited, Naples is perhaps the most runner friendly – I have seen more runners here than in any other city in Italy, and the long waterfront makes it easy to settle into some sort of pace without having to dodge tourists.
All in all, forty eight hours seems like a good amount of time to spend in Naples – have a great sit down pizza dinner, the best sfogliattelle you’ve ever had in the morning, walk around the shopping streets and waterfront, and grab some street pizza for lunch. In the evening, little narrow streets are full of cozy bars that serve cocktails and spreads of snacks – buy a drink and eat all you want.
Come for the food. That applies to Italy as a whole, but Naples especially. ????
See more of Napoli on my Instagram feed: