After the many stories (mostly daunting ones) I have heard about Naples, I’m glad that we did make a stop for a day to have a feel of this ‘interesting’ city. Never have I heard as much honking or seen as much graffiti on buildings and monuments in a place. However after spending the day here, I found that there was more to this city apart from the rugged side of Naples.
Setting off from Piazza Bellini, the square just right in front of Hotel Piazza Bellini, where we stayed the night before, we head down Via Santa Maria di Constantinopoli and take a right onto Via Port’Alba. This street is where one will find Naples’ oldest bookstores.
‘expressive art’ everywhere…
bookshops and bookstalls lined on both sides of Port’Alba
browsing through the books for sale
heading out of Port’Alba onto Piazza Dante
Port’Alba opens up into Piazza Dante, named after Dante Alighieri, an Italian poet of the Middle Ages.
statue of the poet Dante Alighieri the metro sign at Piazza Dante
locals relaxing on the benches of Piazza Dante
From Piazza Dante, we head towards La Pignasecca, one of the oldest markets of Naples, situated along Via Pignasecca and Via Portamedina. It is indeed a colourful sight of fresh fruits and vegetables, fishmongers selling a large variety of fish, and deli and pastry shops in every corner.
hustle and bustle…. and look at the huge loaf of bread!
locals in the midst of their daily marketing
(left) fresh green vegetables; (right) fruit seller head balancing…. & throw!
(left) giant chunks-of-cheese ; (right) sfogliatella pastry with ricotta cheese & fruit bits from Pastiecceria Scaturchio
widespread variety of fresh fish at Pescheria Azzurra
a busy fishmonger at Pescheria Azzurra
narrow streets off Pignasecca
Leaving the market and continuing south along Via Toledo, we enter Royal Naples. On the right is the Umberto I Gallery, a cross-shaped shopping gallery with a steel and glass interior which is said to be remarkably impressive.
dried red chillies at a souvenir shop along Via Toledo
entrance of Umberto I Gallery
taxis queued up outside the shopping gallery
Opposite the gallery is Castel Nuovo, built in the 13th century originally as a royal residence and fortress. Today it houses art paintings by Neapolitan artists. Just ahead is Piazza del Plebiscito, the largest of the city’s public squares used for major events and concerts. The Royal Palace stands on one side of the square, with the eight statues of past kings. Facing the Royal Palace is the San Fracesco di Paola Church, a neoclassical replica of the Pantheon in Rome.
open space of Plaza del Plebiscito
the Royal Palace and the row of statues of past kings
With the Royal Palace on the left, continuing on pass the square brings us to the port with the view of the Bay of Naples.
the Marina with Mt Vesuvius in the background
blue waters of the Bay of Naples
boats at dock