Our Secret Places: Napoli
Dear friends of The Fleece Milano,
Whenever we travel to a new city, we always ask our local friends for recommendations on what to do and see, to avoid tourists’ traps. And we bet you do the same. We prefer to live like locals and to experience the true soul of a city, rather than its artificial and globalized aspect. We come from the South of Italy, specifically from Napoli and Palermo, cities full of history, mix of different cultures and holders of a timeless and esoteric charm.
For today’s article of the Journal we decided to take a little detour from our usual menswear topics. We set ourselves a challenge and managed to shortlist some of our favourite places in Napoli. We imagined a one-day trip that would merge history, gastronomy, landscape and art. So wear comfortable shoes and let us walk you through Napoli. Just like a local would do.
Whilst many of you might be well acquainted with Giuseppe Sanmartino’s “Veiled Christ”, a marvelous sculpture hewn from one single block of marble and dating back to 1753, not as many will know the “Bourbon Tunnel”. The underground viaduct was commissioned in 1853 to architect Enrico Alvino by Ferdinando II di Borbone. It served the purpose to join the Royal Palace and Piazza Vittoria, and it was conceived as a safe escape route for the monarch after the riots of 1848. The tunnel represents a description of the last 500 years of Naples’ history, including when it was used as a shelter from the bombs during the II World War and when it served as a car pound for the Police until 1970s. A must see if you are in town.
It's lunch time. From Centro Storico we get a cab to the Central Station. It’s not time to leave yet. Our destination is just beside Piazza Garibaldi and since 1943 it is one of the oldest temples of the Neapolitan genuine cuisine. We booked a table at Mimì alla Ferrovia, where Salvatore Giuliano aka Sasà, son of the founder Michele, welcomes us with his typical smile and positive mood. In a familiar atmosphere, surrounded by newspaper articles hanging on the walls and photographs of celebrities who dined there, don’t miss their “bao alla Genovese”, a mix of Napoli and Asia. For main we will have linguine with mussels, basil and zucchini flower. Just Delicious.
After sipping an espresso rigorously served in a boiling cup, we head to Via Partenope for an after-lunch stroll. Castel dell’Ovo one of the oldest castles of Napoli. Built in 1st century by Roman General Lucius Licinius Lucullus, it played a strategic role thanks to its position, overviewing the bay of Napoli. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, it became a monastery. Legend has it that Roman poet Virgil hid an egg inside the castle and the safety of the whole city would depend on that egg. Today the castle offers free entrance. Our tip: take the stairs to the top and reach the highest terrace: from there you will get the best view over the bay of Naples, as if you were on a boat on its way back to the port. We are pretty sure that the scenery will be printed in your memory.
It's almost sunset time. We walk along via Posillipo and turn down a narrow street that leads to a former fishermen village. It’s Rivafiorita. The destination is definitely still off the beaten track of mass tourism, with few houses overlooking the Gulf and boat rents. During the hot months, rent a kayak and visit Parco Sommerso della Gaiola. For today, just get a drink at the local bar and sip it on the rocks whilst waiting for sun to set behind the Vesuvius. There is just one restaurant there, where you can stay for dinner to end your perfect day in Napoli.