Pronounced ‘Na-po-li’ by the locals, it’s the city that blends the old with the new. It’s where kings and paupers have lived side by side for centuries. A great getaway, It’s also where the dawn of the Italian Renaissance began. All through the city, there are stone sculptures that look down upon the passersby; some with glee and some with glare. The city still has the ruins of the Roman Empire laden all over the city. Naples is the little-known birthplace of the pizza that we love and enjoy. It was originally peasants who made an open pie because they needed it to cool quickly so that they could eat on the move. The city is adorned with skyscrapers, yet the buildings from the Middle Ages still stand strong and have been opened to the public as viewing galleries and museums. There’s only so much you can do if you’re staying for a short while, so here are the best activities you can enjoy.
Contrary to popular belief, some of the best Italian cooks in the world were born in Naples, Italy. They may have traveled to Rome to make good of their talent in gastronomy, but their families taught them first and taught them well. A Florence cooking class will teach you the Neapolitan technique of making pizza. Simplicity is the key, after all, it is a food that comes from the poor peasant farmers who still to this day live in the hills surrounding the city. The classic, passata, mozzarella, and basil leaves pizza by far the best in the country. The quality of ingredients are unsurpassed even by the capital. You’ll also learn the humble version of ice cream, known as gelato. Silky smooth, but thick and rich, this is the treat every wants at the end of a meal. You’ll learn just how carefully the milk needs to be treated, and how fine the flavors needs to be ground and purified. It’s an art in itself, but you’ll have great teachers to help you.
The world will never forget the might of the Roman Empire. Despite all it went through, it lasted over 1500 years, which has no doubt left its mark on the city of Pompeii. It’s thoroughly Roman; the people are hardy, the rocks that were laid all those years ago, are still tough as they ever were. The UNESCO World Heritage site that is situated just outside of Naples takes customers from the outskirts of the city by bus and train. From this site, you’ll be able to witness the Mount Vesuvius volcano. You’ll then travel down to the ancient piazza and the Forum, where politics and culture were once discussed by men dressed in togas.
Italy was one of the hotspots of Europe during the Middle Ages, and here in the 15th century, Naples, was the artistic place to be. Away from the politics in Rome, here is where culture and art found a warm home. By visiting Castel Nuovo, you’ll witness the craftsmanship that went into this coastal keep. At the San Carlo Opera House founded in 1737, you can hear the breathtaking agony of the woman who lost her husband to muggers and the anger of his brother, in the opera tragedies showcased most days during the week.
Naples is a city that doesn’t boast and doesn’t claim to be the center of Italy like Rome might. But, it’s got the most unique blend of ancient and modern that all other cities envy. From the Roman Empire to the Middle Ages and to present day, the timeline of the city has been preserved and celebrated by both the poor and the rich.