When a city is 2,800 years old, it’s clearly filled with a lot of different history. When a city is home to places like Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii, you know it’s a place that is worth seeing. Naples, Italy is as rich with historical facts as any in the world, and I haven’t even mentioned that the worlds’ first pizzeria opened here nearly 200 years ago. The only thing that was missing with regards to my love of Naples is that I had never been there. That all changed recently, when somehow I came across an opportunity to spend 24 hours here. The only obstacle in my way when I received that surprising offer was that I had mere minutes to find a hotel room in Naples. I wasn’t sure how I was going to figure that out, but knew I was going to do whatever I could to secure lodging.
I decided on HotelTonight, which I hadn’t used yet but know comes highly recommended by fellow travelers. I searched for Naples hotels and found quite a few options available. They were also very nice options with rates that were much more reasonable than I would’ve anticipated. I picked one that seemed to work for me and tried to reserve a room. Within a tap or two and a couple of swipes, I was all set–I had my Naples hotel room reserved and confirmed. It was an exhilarating feeling, as I now knew I was going to spend 24 hours in a city that I have wanted to see for as long as I could remember.
I started my day in the Centro Storico, or “Old Town” in English, as that seemed only logical. This is a part of town so historic and important to people who work to preserve things that parts of it have been declared UNESCO sites. I walked around the narrow streets and marveled at the gorgeous fountains, squares and overall architecture. It’s so old that the area seems almost rundown a bit, but that’s really not the case. This is a part of town that actually predates the Romans, as it was founded initially by the Greeks. It’s quite something to find yourself in such a center of history.
I decided to spend some time by the bay for my next stop, and found myself strolling along the water in places where only pedestrians were allowed. Across the bay, you could see the island of Capri, which is a famous destination in its own right. I crossed the bridge into Borgo Marinari, and once again allowed myself to be stunned and mesmerized by the colorful homes that were stacked up near each other. It was so much to see that I actually needed a break, so I found a little cafe along the way and stopped for a cappuccino. I enjoyed it immensely as I took in the entire scene.
Quartieri Spagnoli means “Spanish Neighborhoods” in English, which is another note on history as there was a time–about 200 years to be exact–that the Spanish ruled Naples. That rule ended in the early 1700’s. Walking through this area of town is a real window into the lives of people who live here. Balconies are close together, people are milling about and things are being sold in the street. I also found a nice restaurant, and I was more than ready for lunch. I could no longer wait to try a pizza, and when it came I ate it so quickly it almost made me nervous. It was incredible. I was now ready for the afternoon.
I took a funicular up into the hills that overlook the rest of the city to spend some time in Vomero. This is seemingly an upper-class neighborhood with all different types of housing. It was nice to see this portion of life here, but it was even better to see the views of the city from up high. To really top off this stop, I found a few stores that I made use of by purchasing several gifts for the people who are important in my life. I couldn’t wait to see their faces when they found out that I had been to Naples and that I had brought them something.
Chiaia was where I ended my day, as I wanted to do so along the water. I found this part of town to be fascinating in its own right, as there were a lot of different tailors and other clothing stores here. I really wanted to find a restaurant, though, and one that was local and that served more of that delicious local cuisine. I found one and nearly ordered another pizza, but this time I decided on some seafood that likely came from nearby. It was a memorable meal to say the least.
As I made my way back to my hotel, I allowed for a moment to congratulate myself. I had stumbled upon a random opportunity and made the most of it. I also had to take a moment to appreciate HotelTonight, as without this powerful app, this trip would never have happened, as it allowed me to find a hotel room in Naples within seconds. It had been quite a day, and I looked forward to a night of restful sleep.