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Artena & Naples (Days 8 – 10.5)


Vedi Napoli e poi muori! — See Naples and die!”

– Johnny quoting countless visitors, artists, poets smitten with the beauty of Napoli.

The expression is not meant to be morbid, but rather convey the notion that once you’ve seen the beauty of Naples, you will be able to die happy! Despite the notorious crime and pick pocketing reputation, the scenic vistas are undeniable! We were so excited to leave the old fashioned hotel in Tuscany that in the rush I forgot to pack my scarves! (If only I had opened those drawers!) It was too early in the morning and I just wanted to continue sleeping on the bus. Johnny told us we were making a pit stop in the hills of Lazio at a restaurant in Artena called Sapori del Borgo. I vividly remember the most delicious flaky pastry topped with raspberries. Dana and I both ate a second one since we missed out on indulging in another helping of the lamb ravioli! We were on the outskirts of Rome, but forged on with our bus ride with more mandatory Autogrill breaks in between. Rome was our last stop on the trip! (You definitely don’t want to miss that post, since I will have a separate one dedicated solely for the hotel itself. Especially if you haven’t heard my illustrious description of our experience.)

naplesbusOnce we arrived in Naples we immediately saw the stark contrast between the lovely parts and the rougher areas. Johnny gave us a map of the town and instructed us of the areas to visit and to avoid. Our last moments with our Bus driver Stefano were not without last moments of fun. He somehow managed to SQUEEZE through a very narrow passage way with cars parked on BOTH sides to park in front of our Royal Continental Hotel. Johnny even got out of the bus to help direct him! I swear we were centimeters away from the vehicles on either side! Once he dropped us off we had to say goodbye. We’ll never forget our time in Montecarlo around that endless rotary!  Our new hotel was right across from Castel dell’Ovo and I couldn’t wait to check it out. Unfortunately we ran into some issues again with the twin beds! No one but the first hotel got the message we were on our honeymoon. Also the AC was not working. My darling husband offered to stick around until they sent someone to the room to fix the situation while I wandered the mean streets of Naples solo. He was slightly worried, so I didn’t even bring my wallet. (It wasn’t bad at all aside from the aggressive street vendors! I’ll even say they weren’t as sly as the ones in Venice.)

Enjoy my solo photo journey and questionable selfies without a stitch of makeup. I should have read up on more of the history of the Castle, but all of the wine exposition posters were extremely distracting! Apparently legend has it that the Roman poet Virgil, placed a magical egg into the foundations to support the fortifications. In some way the egg was tied to the survival of the castle as a fortress. It was a quick walk through all the steps and slopes probably would only take 10 minutes if I hadn’t stopped to take so many photographs. It’s very romantic as well with the fresh sapphire waters in the Gulf of Naples. Sadly they closed the place when I returned to the hotel since the sunset soon after so Dana only got to experience it from the outside and second hand through my (award-worthy) #iPhoneography. We joined the rest of our group in their fish bowl dining area which has a clear glass view of the picturesque gulf. We also dined there every morning for breakfast and on our last night there celebrating with some Lemoncello.

The second night after our Amalfi Coast trip Johnny lead a complimentary casual walking tour of the city. (I know my posts are unchronological, but it’s easier to lump the same location together than skip around.) We found our HOLY GRAIL OF PIZZA on the trip. Let’s trace back our steps where Johnny lead us through the main streets and squares. We saw many live performers and some strange event going on where they had igloo-esque structures barricading the center area. We even went through a sad shopping plaza (half of the store fronts were vacant) with a McDonalds and a sizeable Sephora. As a recovering makeup addict I dragged my anti-drug hubby with me into the beauty store as well as the Kiko Milani down the street. We started to get hungry as everyone else had disbursed for dinner plans. One of the sales gals recommended us a restaurant around the corner down a dimly lit street. I’m not sure if we ended up at her recommendation but we found the unassuming beacon with a cartoon caricature beckoning us called Nu Murzill’ Sapurito. Now this probably isn’t the world’s best pizza, but it was the best value and meal we had on the trip so far! We even added liqueur and a drink and the total bill for us with tip only was about €20. Plus free WiFi!

 

On our final night in Naples, Dana was adamant about finding a working ATM. Very strange that mine worked even though we have the same bank. It turns out his PIN was far too long for Europe since most places only accept 4 digits! Once we sorted that out we felt relieved there wasn’t anything wrong since we had both placed travel notices. We capped off the night with more wine and our final meal at the hotel fish bowl restaurant. I had a lovely time people watching from my window seat of these children learning how to ride a bike in the busy street in front of our hotel with their dad. The little girl fell numerous times but nearing the end of our dinner she took off without assistance as her father hovered near by to catch her when she inevitably fell.

Well Naples you did not disappoint! We accomplished our main goal to get quality pizza in the birth place of one of our favorite foods and soak in the beautiful scenery.

Rating: 4.5/5 ★★★★1/2

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Categories: Review, TravelTags: , ,

34 comments

  1. The castle is amazing ,the best part it is free .Naples sound delicious I want to try them.. Pictures are amazing

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The castle is amazing .Naples sounds delicious. your pictures are amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am obsessed with Medieval architecture and everything else from that time period, so I would definitely love to visit that castle. Your pictures look great!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well Naples sounds fab… and delicious! (If a place can be delicious). This “Johnny” sounds pretty invaluable too…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Italy is on the top of my bucket list. hope to visit soon. Loved the post, specially the pasta looks just delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow…. Lovely photographs. You seem to have enjoyed your trips (Though you forgot your carves in excitement)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The food pictures made me so happy. I hope to visit this place as soon as possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve been to Rome and had a serious carb overdose there (and espresso). I’d really want to do Naples as well. To experience if the pizzas that I ate in Rome could get any better, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anna that sounds like my entire trip to Italy haha I avoided the scale for awhile afterward. So sad that we can’t find coffee like that in the US. Apparently it has something to do with the calcium level in the water too. Hope you get a chance to visit Naples! I was surprisingly not super impressed with the food we tried in Venice & Rome.

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  9. Mmmmmm I want some of that pizza! Naples sounds wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. the “holy grail of pizza” sounds amazing! Great read! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Most of the countries I wanted to visit up to this date are in Asia. Maybe it’s because of money and time constraints(Oh the disadvantages of a traveler living in a third world country). But maybe when I grow older, I can try Europe then! Rome will be a good idea. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂 I’d love to taste that pizza too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pizzas are the best I feel like I’m always in the mood for that as default. I’m sure you have a lot of insights though about Asia! Hope you get a chance to explore Europe as well. I’ve seen a lot of budget guides for backpackers too which kind of intrigue me to actually try solo traveling!

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  12. I’ve never been to Naples or ever even considered it a holiday destination, but maybe I will have to now! Looks like you had a great time and the food looks lush! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I have heard mixed reviews on Napped do liked reading this😊

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This all looks gorgeous and I loved all the food photos! You must have been so full and happy!

    That bus driver REALLY earned his pay that day!!

    Liked by 1 person

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