Naples is a city to be discovered, especially when it comes to ancient legends or stories not really "official". The peculiarity of the city is in fact that of combining imaginative stories with real stories, as well as representing one of the most "Italian" cities where you can perceive culture in all its forms. Naples is unique in its kind, and there are some features that are not entirely present in the tourist guides that can be found online. Inspired? Read our article here!
The city of the seven castles
In ancient times, Naples was called like that because of the seven castles built in the city: Castel dell’Ovo, Maschio Angioino, Castel Sant’Elmo, Castel Capuano, Castello del Carmine, Forte di Vigliena and Castello di Nisida.
The Maschio Angioino is located in Piazza Municipio. It was built upon Carlo I D’Angiò request in 1279. Due to some of the renovation works wanted by Alfonso of Aragon, the castle became a modern fortress. It includes two section, the crocodile pit and the prison of the Baron’s plot.
The Castel Sant’Elmo is located in the beautiful Vomero’s hill, and it overlook the entire city. The castle was built between 1336 and 1343. Soon, the castle became a prison and some of the promoter of the Neapolitan Revolution were jailed such as Francesco Pignatelli and Luisa Sanfelice.
The Castel Capuano is located near Porta Capuana and was built by the Norman King Guglielmo I. The castle was initially used as a royal residence, but the nit became an hosting point.
The Castello del Carmine, also known as Sperone, was built in the Mercato district in 1382. It had only a purely military function. It was later covered for practical reasons.
The Castello di Nisida is connected to mainland by a bridge. It was built in 1300, and its purpose was to serve as a powerful defense system from Baia to the Sperone. The castle was used as a hospital during the fever epidemic. The castle is at the moment not visitable, because It hosts an underage penal institute.
The Forte di Vigliena is located in via Marina dei Gigli, near the San Giovanni a Teduccio district that is not exactly in Naples. It was built probably in 1706. It is very short in height and for that reason it was invisible from sea. Here, It took place the battle between Partenopeans and Sanfedists.
The Castel dell’Ovo is located in Caracciolo Seafront, opposite via Partenope. It is known thanks to the legend of the poet Virgil who placed an egg enclosed in a little cage into the castle’s basement.
The historic center of Naples
The historic center of Naples is the largest in Europe. It is it is almost obvious, since inside it contains artistic and architectural beauties ranging from the Greek era to the Roman era up to the Spanish period with the Borbone. Did you know that Naples was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995? There are more than 1021 hectares recognised by UNESCO, each of which carries with it an unprecedented history and value.
Naples is divided into three Decumani: the Decumano Superiore that goes from Via Sapienza to Via Anticaglia; the Decumano Maggiore that goes from Piazza Miraglia to Via dei Tribunali; the Decumano Inferiore that goes from Piazza del Gesù to Via San Biagio dei librai. The Decumano Inferiore is also known as Spaccanapoli, a long road that divides the city into two perfectly equal parts. In 2017 the BBC defined the city of Naples as the city with too much history to manage. Here history is lost in the hundreds of streets that perfectly preserve the influence and presence of Greek art, and not only.
The Gulf of Naples is a treasure trove of beauties to see, live and remember. The best way to explore these places is through a boat ride, so you can fully enjoy all the wonders that we have mentioned simply by navigating the endless seascapes.
The Island of Gaiola, among all, is one of the most interesting destinations to reach. It is a protected marine area, and thanks to the exhausting work of experts in the field is also repopulating marine fauna otherwise unavailable.
The Island of Capri, a treasure trove of rarities that holds beauties of all kinds. Taking a bath near the Faraglioni is the most beautiful and immersive experience you can do, at the same time visiting all the caves of Capri is suitable for tourists of any age. Capri is also famous for its caves, you can find many and all have completely different characteristics.
Like Capri, Ischia is a must for those who love clear water and white beaches, such as those kept in the bay of San Montano that contains the park of Negombo. Ischia is a very special island because it is equipped with natural stone hot water pools.
There is also the Island of Procida, the capital of culture of the year 2022 and therefore a must for a tourist who is worthy of the name, and especially for lovers of natural landscapes and breathtaking views of the entire gulf. The island of Procida is this and much more. The tufaceous stacks of Procida are an absolute rarity that is worth to see at least once in your life.
The unique street food
Naples is the perfect city to eat on a budget. The city can offer a lot of cheap and mouthwatering culinary specialties, for example the easy-to-eat street food under 5€! Can you believe it?
The most charateristic food is of course the Pizza a portafoglio, that can be translated as pizza margherita on the go. The name is due to the way it is served, folded so that you won’t mess up your clothes with the sauce.
The Neapolitan “Cuoppo” is one of the must eats in Naples. It is a paper cone filled with goodies of all kind, and it comes in different version. Usually, It costs around 3 and 5€. It is filled with deep fried fish and seafood, but also with zeppole (bites of flour, water and yeast) and panzarotti (made with mashed potatoes, mozzarella and eggs).
Another typical food are the taralli, usually eaten while drinking a cold beer. The traditional recipe requires a type of lard, ground pepper and almonds. It is possible to find a lot of new flavours with friarielli, sausages, tomato sauce, pesto sauce and so on.
It is often said that in Naples the food is good because it is fried. In fact, another typical street food is the “frittatina”, that is deep fried pasta combined with besciamella, green peas, baked ham or bacon. The frittatina is a very huge and heavy food, and it costs only 2€ or 3€. Speaking of the devil, you can’t talk about fried food unless you include the typical fried pizza. It is filled with “cicoli” (pork crackling), ricotta (cottage cheese) and sauce.
Do you think that this is enough? We don’t! At the end of this fried tour we have to say that one of the best fried foos is without any doubts the “frittata di pasta”, very similar to the “frittatina” but with a lot of differences… The traditional Neapolitan frittata is made with spaghetti, eggs, ground pepper, cheese. You should eat the frittata while It is cold and well rested.
Last but not least, the Neapolitan “babà” is a dessert filled with a mix of rum, water and sugar and usually topped by whipped cream and fresh fruit.