So, why on God’s green earth is a country’s legacy a weird ice cream flavor? The reason is that Naples made badass desserts. One such was called spumoni, an ice cream dessert usually with pistachio, cherry, and chocolate. It has little fruit and nut bits. I hate pistachio ice cream so I’ve never tried it. Apparently earlier Americans hated it too, because the three most popular flavors (chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry) became the popular ice cream Neapolitan. Blue Bell does it best, but that’s neither here nor there.
Naples is not like Rome. It’s dirtier and a tad seedier. The people are a bit more reserved, but the overall feeling is festive. It’s right on the coast, and near gorgeous places like the island of Capri. It also has some great buildings.
One of our drivers in Rome made the comment, “Ah, Naples. The people there are very…unique. They’re always looking for a way to make money. If you see someone with three cups and a ball, don’t play. You’ll lose.” I didn’t notice any cups, but I did learn more about a caricature associated with the city — a streetsmart scamp, like Gavroche in Les Miserables.
People say it’s very easy to get mugged in Naples. I had an excellent defense: I left my wallet and phone in the hotel safe. Ha, just TRY to pick my pocket. You’ll get a sexy piece of chapstick, right before I box your ears.
My dad and I arrived in Naples in the late afternoon. We walked down one of their big streets, Via Toledo, before settling on a place for dinner. The hotel recommended Hosteria Toledo. It was a cozy, tucked away little place. The menu was big, but I settled on a veal dish topped with Parmesan and an egg sauce.
One of the best things I put in my mouth the whole trip! It was juicy and rich, meaty but a bit tangy from the cheese. We divided our Naples stay between tours and our own exploration. Striking off, we hit up the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. The statues there were amazing. The level of preservation…wow, awesome.
There’s some snippet of lore that says in the old days women who weren’t hardworking peasants were all chubby and soft and this was much preferred to “fit” chicks. I think this statue disagrees. There was a model somewhere that looked like that. What a hottie.
Eventually I came to a special room that houses a lot of artifacts taken from Pompeii. Remember how I said the Romans were fiesty? I was underplaying it. These Romans would have had frequent shopper cards at Smitten Kitten. Exhibit A! Warning: Naughty, titter-inducing artifacts.
A Japanese tourist group wandered in, led by a person speaking in English. Another person in the group translated her words into Japanese. Anyway, the English speaker is talking all about various artistic features. None that have a thing to do with the fairyland of penises. These tourists were chomping at the bit to know more about the statues and paintings but alas, deprived. It was cruel. Anyhow, Naples has more to offer than ancient reproductive organs.
Naples invented what we consider pizza. It was a cheap dish that could be made with random ingredients. We get Margherita pizza because an Italian queen ordered this queer peasant dish and the cook doctored it up with basil, so that the red sauce, white cheese, and green herbs made it the colors of the Italian flag. He named it after the queen.
This is the Italian version of Hawaiian pizza, at a charming if noisy place called Fratelli la Bufala. This pizza was serious, delicious business. We also ordered calamari.
As we left, I gave my compliments to the chefs.
We also booked a tour to cover the city. I love to walk but Naples isn’t the easiest to access purely on foot. Our guide, Michael, took us up to the high class part of Naples, which coincides with the highest points of the city. This is where Sophia Loren used to prowl around once she became a film star.
Naples has gorgeous areas and seedy areas. The prevailing vibe, however, is very festive. If you like cities like New Orleans, you should definitely check it out. I think I might have preferred Venice, but it was too crowded this time of year. Naples was a fantastic time though; the surrounding areas have a ton of cultural significance. Pompeii is mindblowing.
After this, we had one big day left in Naples. We decided to see the surrounding areas. More on that soon.