A second letter: Napoli...chaotically beautiful!

Dear Friend,

During our trip to Europe, we spent about two days in Napoli (Naples). While visiting this unique city, I discovered that Napoli is the third largest city of Italy and also one the poorest places in Europe. I have to admit that this was particularly obvious when walking on the back streets of Napoli, a very unique experience. 

But, Napoli is special and I place it at the top of my list of all the cities that we visited during our trip. It's messy, chaotic, noisy...but, it's a city that is really alive.  People are friendly, but curious. Our taxi driver told us that Neapolitans are proud people who feel different from other Italians. Napoli is a very old city with lots of history and a very unique culture and dialect. Related or unrelated to this (you decide!), our taxi driver told us that Neapolitans still love deeply Diego Maradona who is still considered a hero and a legend for them. 

I am not certain where to start when describing Napoli because there is so much to say about it. If you are interested in history, the center of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage site with numerous churches, ancient monuments, and historical places to visit. Clearly, two days was insufficient to visit this amazing city, but we managed to visit places such as the Castel dell'Ovo and the Duomo di Napoli. Another fantastic thing about Napoli is that it has a whole city underground with incredible ancient Greek aqueducts and Christian catacombs.

Napoli is also a city that never goes sleep. When walking on the streets of Napoli, I had the impression that I was part of one of those old Italian movies where chaos dominates each one of the scenes. The roads were filled with motorcycles or scooters carrying 2-3 people....even worse, most people were not wearing helmets! You don't really see this in Canada...chaotic, unsafe, crazy! 

Traffic is completely crazy in Napoli. I am not certain why there is traffic lights since most people simply ignore them. You really have to be awake or mentally present when crossing the streets in Napoli...as we often say, you need to be in the moment! Interestingly, however, we never saw any traffic accident during the time that we stayed in Napoli. Perhaps, we were lucky...or perhaps, a certain order is actually possible within the chaos that characterizes Napoli. 

Pizza, pizza and more pizza!

There is no question that the best Italian pizza comes from Napoli. Margherita and Marinara Pizzas were just amazing in Napoli...even the gluten free versions! My stepson has celiac disease, so we often ate in pizzerias that offered both gluten and gluten-free pizzas.

The Ancient city of Pompeii

As it is often said, a visit to Napoli is not completed if we don't visit Pompeii. So, we took the train (which was more like a "bus-train") and visited the ancient city of Pompeii.

The first thing to say about Pompeii is that is a vast city, bigger that I expected. Apparently, Pompeii was a classic port town filled with sailor’s hotels, bars, public baths, taverns and brothels. Archeological work taking place in Pompeii give visitors to Pompeii the best look there is on ancient Roman life. We spent a few hours visiting the different buildings and sites in Pompeii...no need for a guide when you visit Pompeii, especially if you have children with you.

Next Stop, Padova and Venezia...

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