Bella Travel

The Beauty and Squalor of Naples

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My second visit to Naples is turning out to be more beauty than squalor.This time I don’t feel like I’m about to be murdered and no one has swept dog poo on my head (yet).
 
This time I’ve gone more upmarket and my hotel, the Fiorentini Residence, is in the historic centre and takes two hours to get to by the metro.  It probably should only take 20 minutes but I’m initially confused by the way the metro system runs.  By the time I arrive at my hotel I’m so dirty I leave a black smudge on the prisitine white chair in reception.
 
After checking in I head to Galleria Umberto I which is about ten minutes  walk away and is an incredible glass and steel dome shopping mall, 57 metres high.  After the busy streets it’s an oasis of quiet although it has a glass-house effect when it comes to trapping heated air and has claimed one poor victim.  A dead stray dog lies in the centre of the mosaic zodiac, as if it had chosen its final resting place on purpose, right in the middle of the evening passeggiata.  I’m not sure who will remove it, no one seems to be that bothered.

Further on inside, there are clothing shops and a restaurant.  I sit down at one of the tables but I’m not sure who the waiter is, as there are a lot of youths hanging around looking purposeful but dressed in t-shirts and shorts.  Finally a waiter dressed as a waiter appears and I order pasta but he says the kitchen is closed.  Due to a power cut this morning there is only salad or pizza.   It is unfortunate as the pasta looked good. 

Outside there is a sea breeze which moves the humid air around slightly.  It feels like walking through a sauna.  I’m glad I left the air conditioning going full bore in my room. 

I finally get pasta at a tomato restaurant  ‘Pomodorino’, which has a lot of waiting staff and not many customers.  The owner is very tanned, wearing the typical pink shirt and looks rich, he says in rapid Italian ‘Are you alone?  If so I will be your friend for your stay in Naples, do you understand?’ 

Surprisingly I do, my Italian must be getting better.  He’s harmless enough though and leaves me alone to be tended to by the waiting staff.  I order some pasta dish with swordfish and aubergines and a meloncello.  ‘It is a liquor’, says the waiter.  ‘Yes, I know’, I say expertly, then realise it is probably not the done thing to have liquor with your main course but nevermind.  When it arrives it’s lemoncello and it’s so strong it makes my toes tingle. 

The pasta, which I had low expectations of, is amazing.  When you order fish in the south sometimes you’re not sure if you’re going to get a whole fish on top of a pile of pasta but this was tiny pieces chopped up with roasted aubergines, in tomato sauce with olive oil.  Simon Gault would approve.

Afterwards I head back to my hotel replete, and slightly woozy from the lemoncello.   It’s like stepping into a refrigerator when I get to my room, perhaps I went a little overboard.  I want to feel like I am in Naples after all, not Antarctica.

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Author: Angela Pearse

Bella Travel is a travel blog by Angela Pearse, an Auckland based freelance copywriter, providing copywriting, editing and SEO copywriting for travel & tourism businesses & more (www.angelapearse.com). Angela is also the creator of Bella Italia (www.bellaitalia.co.nz) for travel tips, accommodation and locality reviews about Italy. Visit Bella Italia on Facebook (www.facebook.com/bellaitalia.co.nz) or Twitter (@bellaitalia_nz) for photos and news about Italy.

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