Italy is a popular summer destination, attracting tourists from around the globe. While cities like Rome and Florence are flooded with Americans, Naples remains somewhat overlooked. But let us assure you, missing out on this vibrant city would be a mistake.
Naples, the birthplace of pizza, should be reason enough to visit. The local pizza embodies the perfect combination of a thin, soft, and chewy crust without ever being soggy. Topped with a simple yet delicious sauce made from San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and fresh basil, a mouthwatering pizza in Naples should cost no more than 7 Euros.
After thorough research, we have determined that the best pizzerias in the city are Antica Pizzeria di Matteo and L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele, renowned for their appearance in the famous book and movie "Eat, Pray, Love." Pro tip: if you want to avoid the long lines, head to the bar across the street for a quicker order (they have an arrangement with the pizzerias).
Naples offers much more than just its culinary delights. The city exudes a rare energy and passion, embodying the essence of real Italy. Life happens on the streets, and the compact apartments reflect the intimate nature of daily living. Naples may be crowded, loud, smelly, and colorful all at once, but it is undeniably authentic.
During our visit, we witnessed the city adorned with blue and white streamers, celebrating Naples' victory in the Serie A soccer championship after more than three decades. This palpable joy is emblematic of the spirit that permeates Naples.
So, while Americans flock to other Italian destinations, consider exploring Naples to experience its true essence beyond the famous pizza.
Naples: A Fascinating City with a Soccer Obsession
Naples, a city famously obsessed with soccer, is home to Diego Maradona, the Argentine soccer star. In many Catholic street shrines, you'll find photos of Maradona alongside religious figures, highlighting the significant influence he has had on the city. Maradona joined Naples in 1984 when the city was still struggling, and his presence helped inspire the locals to believe in themselves and their potential. Even today, he is referred to as the God of Naples.
In addition to the shrines, Maradona's face can be seen all around the city – on street art, socks, shirts, and magnets. This constant reminder of Maradona's impact on Naples emphasizes the city's deep-rooted connection to soccer.
But Naples offers more than just soccer. Located on the Mediterranean, the city provides stunning views of the sea from the vibrant Caracciolo promenade. In the backdrop, you can spot Mount Vesuvius, a volcano that adds to the city's charm.
Naples is conveniently situated just fifteen miles from Pompeii and accessible from Rome via a two-hour high-speed train ride. With its UNESCO World Heritage Site status, the city is filled with medieval churches, ancient Roman walls, four castles, and the catacombs of San Gennaro. Those passionate about history and culture will find solace in exploring these incredible sites.
For museum enthusiasts, Naples is home to the National Archaeological Museum, where you can spend an entire day immersing yourself in archaeological wonders.
However, Naples is not just about visiting specific attractions; it is a city that thrives on its vibrant streets. Taking a leisurely stroll through the city allows you to absorb its unique atmosphere and truly experience its essence. As journalist Lilian Whiting eloquently puts it, “Rome is stately and impressive, Florence is all beauty and enchantment, Genoa is picturesque, Venice is a dream city, but Naples is simply – fascinating.”
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