I arrived to Napoli Centrale from Roma Termini. The station is opposite Piazza Garibaldi, where a smiley Marco was waiting for me. We took Corso Emmanuelle I, one of the main streets, which was already crazy with cars & scooters.
Naples, like Rome, is full of churches, so we stopped at the first one! It was quite plain but had a very nice entrance which looked like ruins from an old temple, & that I liked.
From there we went to Il Duomo, their cathedral that if it is very nice from outside, wait to see its impressive interior.
It’s a mixture of gothic & baroque styles that I loved.
Underneath there the crypt of San Gennaro, a relic & a miracle! It seems they keep a bit of his blood & the 19 of September, the anniversary of his death, it liquefies! There’s your miracle!
The hall of the treasures is spectacular, there’s a bust with the saint’s skull in it. This country preserves many Christian relics, & it seems I keep finding them all.
What we found really beautiful was the baptistery, the oldest in the west.
It had some paintings that looked like they were there before it became a baptistery.
From there we took one of the most important streets of Naples, Spaccanapoli, it means “dividenaples” which it does, literally, from north to south.
It took us to the small Piazza Gerolomini, there we laughed as what we’re looking for was RIGHT BEHIND US, wonder what it was? Our friend Bansky & his Madonna con pistola (with a gun).
Every little street leading to that one is fabulous, a mixture of graffiti’s, old buildings & chaos, full charm.
This street is full of churches & basilicas. One of the most beautiful ones is the baroque San Gregorio Armeno, which also names a neighbouring alley.
This small, chaotic & charming alley is also known as the “street of the nativity scenes”, heaven for the fond of the Christmas celebrations.
At every step we were finding churchs like Santa Maria della Anime in Purgatorio, I loved every single one.
We fancied something sweet, luckily there were plenty, so we went to get the most typical one, the sfogliatella, filled with custard & ricotta cheese.
The narrow street led us to the Piazza del Gesú Nuovo, crowned by the obelisk of the Madonna Inmaculada.
There also lives the Chiesa del Gesú Nuovo, one of the most important churches of the city that holds, besides so much beauty, a great collection of art.
It used to be a palace that was confiscated & donated to the Jesuits, who converted it into a church in 1601.
During an earthquake the dome fell & the church closed for thirty years, when it was remodeled they substituted it for a false flatten dome.
In front of this church lives the pretty & plain Chiesa di Santa Chiara.
Attached to it there are the amazing cloisters. Walking its corridors was like being in a Star Wars movie, fabulous.
The central patio is decorated with columns uphosltered with tiles, its walls are covered with frescos, the whole ensemble is striking.
At some point hunger arrived, & in Naples, what do we eat? Yes, pizza! So we went to Pizzeria Brandi, where the pizza Margherita was born.
They say the Queen Margherita of Savoy wanted to try this dish made to feed the poor, so the pizzero in Brandi took a selection for her to try; she loved the Margherita, like I do, so that day they named it after her, & here we are, gobbling them down!
We picked up little Frida & headed to the grand Piazza dei Plesbiscito where the Royal Palace sits.
& the Basilica di San Francesco di Paola, with an immense & imposing exterior.
Its interior is circular & it very much reminds us the Pantheon, which the artist used as inspiration.
A few meters away there is the Galeria Umberto I. A shopping center which appeals to look up more than to the shops.
Of course Frida also gets a lot of attention.
From there where walked to the waterfront. Where we’re greeted by the Castel dell’Ovo & the volcano Vesuvius.
The legend says that when they built the castle Virgil hid a magic egg (hence its name) in its foundations, he said that without it the fortress wouldn’t stand. It looks like it is still there.
From its terrace we can appreciate the awesome views of the city & the Vesuvius in all its splendor.
Very close, overlooking the sea, is the Castel Nuovo.
The Cristo Velato in Cappella Sansevero & the Galleria Borbonica are two must, it’s a shame it was Tuesday & they are closed. On my way back to the station I passed by Pizzeria da Michele, made famous by Julia Roberts in “Eat, pray, love”.
This visit reminded me of the book “The Cathedral of the Sea” by Ildefonso Falcones. He narrates how the good people of a neighbourhood in Barcelona built a church for their madonna. They all colaborated either with money or giving a helping hand. The young Arnau, our protagonist, grows up carrying stones for the cause, but slowy he becomes someone more important, whose task will be to handle the construction & the conclusión of such a beautiful work of art. The novel tells us the intrigues & power of the Church & the influential people of that era, emphasing the great friendship between Arnau & his best friend.