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Five Things I Love About Naples

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It’s been over a year since I’ve traveled to Naples, and I can’t stop thinking about how much I want to go back…

Surely, there must be a reason for this!

1. The Pizza

Margherita Pizza from L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele in Naples.
Margherita Pizza from L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele in Naples.

Obvious choice, I know. Neopolitan pizza is world famous! Though there may have been similar dishes throughout history at other locations, the classic Margherita version was first created on June 11, 1889 by the Neopolitan pizza maker Raffaele Esposito. The story says that he wanted to honor the Queen of Savoy, Magherita of Savoy, with a pizza topped with tomato, mozzarella and basil, the national colors of the Italian flag, later becoming a symbol of the Italian unification.

The people of Naples take great pride in their pizza, developing the Vera Pizza certification that has become a worldwide association.

2. The Sea

Naples harbor at sunset.
Naples harbor at sunset.

Southern Italy is famous for it’s beautiful beaches, and Naples is no exception. While we didn’t end up going to the beach proper, we sat by the harbor, watching the locals swim, relax and, of course, sell the daily fresh catch of shellfish. With a bustling city such as Naples, it can easily feel overwhelming. Mix that with the hot summer heat, and it can be unbearable. Luckily, the sea offers the perfect balance and respite, offering beautiful views and a refreshing place to unwind.

3. The Balance of Old and New City

The core of Naples is essentially divided into two parts: the inner, old city and the more modern harbor area. The more modern harbor area consists of a long promenade lined with cafés, restaurants and small shops. It was a bit more expensive than the inner area, but I suppose you’re paying for the view! You can find people going for a jog, walking their dogs or simply just strolling along hand in hand. I loved both equally and the balance between the two was really unique compared to other places I’ve been.

Walking by the harbor in Naples.
Walking by the harbor in Naples.

The old inner city is like something out of a movie: you’re walking down winding, cobblestone streets, smells of delicious baked goods coming from every direction, laundry hanging between homes and all while dodging Vespas zooming past! I could have spent hours just walking through the streets, with interesting and cool new things to see behind each corner. Plus, it feels so authentic and lived in.

The old city in Naples. Taken by Jeroen Bennink via Flickr.
The old city in Naples. Taken by Jeroen Bennink via Flickr.

4. It’s So Cheap!

Price list Da Michele, Naples. (Even a bit more expensive than most places!)
Price list Da Michele, Naples. (Even a bit more expensive than most places!)

In northern Italy, you could expect to pay 2 euros for a coffee, in Naples, you can expect to pay 3-5 euros for an entire pizza! I was so surprised by truly how inexpensive everything was. It was good for my wallet but terrible for my diet, as the low costs were just an added excuse to eat more pizza (as if I really needed any more motivation!). You can really live like a king on a student’s budget!

5. The Relaxed, Chill Vibes

Hanging out by the harbor in Naples.
Hanging out by the harbor in Naples.

It would be hard to make the argument that Southern Italians don’t know how to truly relax and enjoy the moment. Naples is the perfect example of this! The overall feeling of the city is really calm, no ones in a big hurry (except when they are rushing past you on their scooter of course), and you can absolutely feel it. People gather in the plazas, whether it be for a casual social meet up, an intense game of futbol or perhaps to dance the night away for a local festival. Everywhere we went, it just felt so welcoming!

These were my five favorite things about Naples, though the list could really go on forever! Anything I’m missing?

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