THE TRUE NAPLES
We arrive in Naples from Palinuro around 10 AM, by train it takes less than two hours, it’s a hot day with a great sun kissing the city.
The appointment with Peppe is in the central via Chiaia, we get there in less than five minutes by taxi, we’re a little early so we decide to treat ourselves to a coffee at the Gambrinus, a historic cafè in Naples and among the oldest and most historic Italian bars, delicious coffee and impeccable atmosphere.
Peppe arrives punctually and since we are right next to piazza Plebiscito he delights us immediately with some gems concerning one of the most famous squares in Naples, they would be only the first that he has in store for us.
We move towards via Toledo, populated with tourists from around the world, Peppe points out the symbolic places of this historic street to us, he tells us anecdotes about characters who have lived here, explains the changes which have taken place and how this part of the city has been trasformed, it’s now a pedestrian area so it’s a real pleasure to walk among people, moreover Peppe also advices us where to eat the best ice cream or what pizza fritta Neapolitans choose, those are very valuable tips for us.
But our real tour begins now, in the Quartieri Spagnoli.
From a side street of via Toledo, Peppe guides us towards the entrace of this area so famous yet often misrepresented and misunderstood, we don’t know it yet but we’ll leave there a piece of our hearts.
We haven’t walked a hundred meters when Peppe stops in what at first glance appears to be a simple fruit shop, but a more careful eye will immediately notice the many photos which portray the owners together with prominent personalities from politics and television.
Peppe explains that this is a very well known place in the Quartieri, in fact, the owners, other than selling fruit, which, by the way, looks delicious, allow tourists to choose their own produce once a week and then, in the back of the shop, teach them how to cook typical Neapolitan dishes.
As confirmed by the owner, a fantastic woman who communicates an extraordinary joie de vivre, this is more than a fruit shop, it is a meeting place for many and a point of reference for the whole area, reluctantly we salute her, promising to come back soon and to attend one of her cooking lessons.
Peppe, meanwhile, doesn’t stop telling us about these alleys, this web that resembles a true urban jungle, every corner has a story to tell, it brims with art, even the graffiti have a story to tell, we are fascinated by the alley dedicated to Totò, overflowing with drawings of the face of the Principe della risata and quotes taken from his films, his songs and, of course, his beautiful poems.
Peppe makes us understand that many of the stories told about these streets are exploited and that’s why many avoid this area, he explains how life is here, a life made of people proud to populate these streets that live between myth and street reality.
We visit the corner dedicated to Maradona, the famous giant graffiti depicting the Argentine champion, we can’t stop for long because it’s getting late and we have booked a table at a pizzeria.
Needless to dwell on the goodness of the pizza, Peppe proves once again he’s a fantastic guide, he knows everybody and introduces everybody to us, he makes us feel at home here too, unfortunately we must go back home, so, after lunch, we thank him for everything, he has shown us a true and beautiful side of Naples, we promise to come back and we bring home an enormous amount of beautiful sensations, don’t miss the tour through the Quartieri Spagnoli when you pass by Naples!