With our time in Salerno passing quickly, we took advantage of the convenient railway system and took the 45 minute ride into the city of Naples. Unlike Salerno, Naples is very urban and has that fast pace that major cities all seem to share. With all the hustle and bustle it still manages to maintain it’s uniquely Italian charm.
Our itinerary for the day was only one item; EAT PIZZA. We arrived in the city at lunchtime so it was also the first thing we set out to do.
There are plenty of options for pizza in the city. I imagine that some are more authentic than others and all are delicious. We checked online and found a place with great reviews on same crowded street that we were headed down. This was also an incredibly popular and holy-cow-we’re-waiting-90-minutes-to-sit-and-eat-pizza restaurant. That must be a sign that we’re at the right place?
Needless to say, we devoured our Pizzeria Dal Presidente pizzas as soon as they arrived. We both got classic pies, one margherita and one white, and they did not disappoint. They had the airy, crispy, wood-fired edges and cracker thin crust that this region is famous for. The rich sauce left the pizza almost wet in the middle, and the flavors were better with every bite. Sitting outside offered us another benefit, as our table had a front row view of the Banksy artwork titled “Madonna with a pistol” on the wall of the restaurant. It’s definitely not a bad day when you’re in Naples, dining al-fresco, and scarfing pizza within arms reach of a Banksy mural.
After lunch we continued walking down Via dei Tribunali. We ran into a bronze sculpture of Pulcinella, a common “scamp” character in Italian tales. You can find statues/paintings/figurines all over the region. Kevin gave his nose a rub for good luck.
We continued on, trying to walk off that full belly feeling after eating an entire pizza, and ended up on Via Medina. This took us toward a lot of great sights.
First we saw Neptune’s Fountain in the Piazza Municipio, in front of City Hall. This fountain has been moved many times since it’s original construction in Naples. The last time was quite recent, in 2014, to allow for construction of a new metro stop.
Next, we passed the unmistakable Castel Nuovo. This beautiful ancient building looks to me like what you’d draw as a child attempting to draw a castle. The twin columns with the crown tops and central archway make up a very fairy-tale-esque facade.
We wandered around a bit more and ended up down by the water’s edge, as Naples is on the coast. We didn’t stay long, but long enough to enjoy the far-off view of Mount Vesuvius.
The day was going by quickly, so we quit wandering and made a plan to head toward the Royal Palace, or Palazzo Reale. Except for the unbelievable amount of pizza consumed, this was the best choice we made all day. This palace is one of the most extravagant and well-preserved residences I have ever seen. Since it was the end of the day, most of the crowds were gone. We actually had fun walking through here and admiring all the ridiculous levels of excess. I would recommend that everyone has this on their itinerary for a trip to Naples.
To end the day in true Italian fashion, we stopped for a treat at Fantasia Gelato on Via Chiala. We walked back to the train station to catch our ride back to Salerno. I honestly don’t think we could have had a better one-day experience in Naples. Not sure when, but we’ll be back for sure.