Our cruise ship eventually set sail and my family and I were off to see the rest of Italy during the holidays in December. We soon docked in Naples, the third-largest city in the country and a prominent port town for cruise ships and other international imports to come through. We would have one day to explore the heart of the city and, to maximize our stay, we chose the included tour in our cruise package to check out what Naples had to offer.
Tour started at 9:00, and our tour guide gave us a brief history of Naples as we rode into town. Generally speaking, it used to be a powerful kingdom, filled with economic prosperity due to its location by the sea for international trading purposes. However, following the heavy bombardments during WWII, Naples fell into decline, and it lost its status in the 20th century. In recent years, it has experienced a revival, especially becoming a large tourist draw not only for its city center, but also as a base to Pompeii, which isn’t too far away. Other than that, people flock to have a taste of the famous Neapolitan pizza!
Weather was surprisingly warm for a December day: the sun was shining, and it was hard to believe that it was even winter to begin with. Our coach made a circuit through the extremely-narrow streets of the center before driving up to Posillipo, one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Naples. As we climbed the hill, we saw villa after villa perched along the edge of the cliff, with gorgeous views of the sea– it’s no wonder, then, that such houses cost an arm and a leg, considering that you’re paying for the views!
Stopping on the side of the road, we had some time to take some incredible, blue-sky photos of the Mediterranean and Naples’ shoreline. The villas might cost millions of dollars, but the views are completely priceless!
Our coach then descended back down to the city center, where we set out on foot to see the San Francesco di Paola, a building which had been inspired by the Pantheon in Rome (and bears striking resemblance to it). We were then given free time to explore on our own, so my family and I visited the inside of the San Francesco di Paola before checking out the interior of the Caffè Gambrinus, a 19th-century coffee house which had a lovely interior and the Galleria Umberto I, with its towering glass-and-iron frame. I bought a postcard inside before my family and I headed back to the coach. Before getting on, we snagged a photo of the Castel Nuovo, a 13th-century castle and fortress that’s the city museum today. Soon enough, we boarded our coach to head back to the port, returning just in time for lunch on the cruise ship.
The visit to Naples was relatively laid-back, as we only had a half day in town. Considering that we’d visited it over eleven years ago, it was a pleasant affair familiarizing ourselves with it again, all the while soaking up the winter sun’s rays. I can imagine that it’s even more lovely in warmer months, and I’d like to return then to see more of this city, along with the Campania region, in general!
Stay tuned for more!
— The Finicky Cynic
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