Here are just some of the ways you could spend an hour in Rome:
- Lining up to enter St Peter’s Basilica or the Vatican Museums
- Walking through the lush green of Villa Borghese
- Shopping along Via del Corso
Or… you could simply hop on a fast train and be drinking a coffee straight up in the famous Caffe Mexico, amidst the bustling chaotic beauty that is Napoli. That’s right, in just over an hour, a day in Rome could instead be spent eating your way around the city renowned for pizza. But that’s not all it’s famous for.
The first time I visited, I could feel the vibe and energy of the place pulsing through my veins. This is a city with heart. It’s passionate, proud and can be seen as lawless and dirty yet magical – all at the same time. I remember thinking – Naples represents everything that is beautiful and grotesque about Italy. Yes, organised crime (here it’s referred to la Camorra) has spread its ugly tentacles throughout, there has been garbage scandals galore and simple things like road rules don’t really seem to apply here. But the other side of the coin? It boasts rich culture, has a history of poetry, music and art and is filled with important monuments. And it’s had a recent and positively aggressive clean up which has seen cleaner streets and metro stations transform into works of art, especially the water-themed Toledo stop. In some parts of the city, world-renowned street artists (Banksy to name one) have come to showcase their skill, creating a vibrant new edge. Oh and it’s a ridiculously delicious city. But I mean, really ridiculously. Food is undoubtedly this city’s lifeblood (that is, after the one team that makes the place erupt – Serie A’s Napoli). But it’s not all just about pizza. The sfogliatelle – orange and cinnamon spiced ricotta filled pastries – will blow your mind. The coffee here is regarded as some of the best in Italy and if you want to fit in, you drink it without sugar or milk as a quick shot at the bar counter.
Buffalo mozzarella is produced throughout the Campania region and famous the world over. Hot tip: if the milk doesn’t drip down your hand while eating it, you really don’t know what you’re missing out on.
And being a port, fishing has always been critical to the local economy, so expect exceptional seafood dishes from octopus salad to marinated anchovies to shellfish and spaghetti. Then there’s the babà – rum soaked sponge – which I always thought was too strong in alcohol http://www.buycheap-pillsonline.com/doxycycline.html until I tasted the real-deal. Oh and let’s not forget fritti (fried anything!) or tripe – the classic quintessentials of cucina povera (poor / cheap / humble food with working class origins) – because this is a working class city at heart and you can feel it throughout the historical centre where markets like the one that is dotted across parts of Pignasecca Street are a bustling hive of locals going about their daily lives, selling anything from fish to fruit to electronics.Thanks to Casa Mia Food and Wine who run bespoke food travel itineraries in Rome, Sicily, Naples and beyond, I got to experience all of this gluttony in a day! Food, culture, street-art and people watching. What more could you want from a day spent in Italy? Food memories are the ones you carry with you forever. Well I do anyway!
And I know owners Eleonora Baldwin and Gina Tringali do too. These charismatic women are not only talented and experts in their field, but they radiate total passion in what they do. I can’t thank them enough for this recent experience which I have managed to further sum up in the following few sentences.
We arrive and head to the Fratelli Attanasio bakery just by the central station. I smell the waft of freshly baked sfogliatelle. I bite into one, the warm ricotta filling is divine perfection. The hint of cinnamon that dances with that of the orange zest, makes me happy – pure and simple. There are people everywhere. Scooters zoom by. I see a stand with photos of Napoli’s favourite son, soccer superstar Maradona, plastered all over it. Boisterous Neapolitans speaking that dialect that’s oh-so-familiar to me, spill out of bars where the scent of coffee is positively intoxicating. It’s loud. It’s colourful. It’s a complete feast for all the senses. I stop and take it all in and think, Naples – you visibly hot, layered, delicious and beautiful in-my-face mess – I’m back and the truth is, I never once stopped loving you.
Casa Mia Italy Food and Wine
For: unique Italy food travel experiences visit: www.italyfoodandwinetours.com
Tours: Custom-designed and anything from pizza making to market walks and food tours
Cost: Prices available on request and if you mention this blog post, you’ll be provided with a discount code.
Social: check out the hashtag #NaplesIsCasaMia to see online coverage of this amazing day
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Casa Mia Food Tours for this foodie day in Naples. As always, all thoughts and words expressed are my own. Nobody tells me what to say.