Alexandre Dumas, author of The Three Musketeers, called Naples Italy “the flower of paradise,” and a fellow French writer, Gustave Flaubert, referred to it as “a Mediterranean Paris.” The German author Goethe was so awestruck by the beauty and allure of the city that he could only sum it up by saying, “See Naples and die.”
Today, these two-hundred-year-old accolades are lost on many first-time visitors, who exit the Napoli Centrale train station only to be met by disreputable cab drivers, fast-talking hawkers, pickpockets, and more sophisticated swindlers. A glance beyond this rag-tag welcoming committee reveals traffic-clogged avenues, graffiti-covered buildings, and steaming piles of uncollected garbage. This first impression does little to counter the city’s shady reputation, and it’s no wonder that some first-time visitors to Naples turn around and get back on the train.
But not so fast. If you’re intrepid enough to pass this trial-by-fire initiation to Napoli, then you’re ready to peel back the city’s gritty layers to discover the charisma that so captivated travelers of centuries past. If you carry a sense of humor and adventure, you will embark on a journey to uncover the gems in the crown of Southern Italy’s artisanal traditions. Read on…
Have you discovered the unique beauty and history of Napoli? Drop a comment below. I love to hear your stories!