In the shadow of the volcano

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My first impression of what an Italian city should be like is back from the old Disney movie the lady and the tramp. The two dogs sitting outside eating pasta with meatballs in the narrow streets of an Italian city with clothing drying between the houses. When I got to the old town of Naples I felt like I was walking through the scenes of the Disney movie.

The streets in the old town are narrow with cloths hanging between the houses on each side of the street. Some of the streets in the old town are pretty dead but others are very crowded. It appears everybody is congregating on just a few of the narrow streets – which ensure you will have to walk slowly through the town taking in the old houses and churches of the center.

One street is particularly busy it is a very narrow street where you can buy figurines for Christmas displays. Apparently it is the most famous place in all of Italy to go and shop for those essential knickknacks for your display of the scenes from the birth of Jesus. After walking down the street there really isn’t any way to get through the street quickly it is overcrowded with tourist who seems more interested in taking pictures of the nativity displays than actually buying any of the stuff. The street is narrow so it takes ages walking the distance from one end to the other – which you sort of have to do since there are no easy escapes on a side street anywhere.

Most of my time in Naples is spend in those narrow streets and the immediate surroundings since I am using the city as a base for exploring the area around the city. It is a pretty good place since there is good connections from the central station in Naples down along the coast to the ancient sights destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius back in 79 the most famous of course is Pompeii but there are several more interesting spots. And there are other great attractions dating back to the ancient Roman period out at the Campi Flegrei where you can easily go on a day trip and heading back for the good cheap food in Naples at night.

On the very last day I decide to actually venture outside the narrow streets of the old town and go explore the area down at the water. Walking outside the old town mean I am leaving the narrow streets behind – out here the streets are wider and they are congested with cars trying to race to whatever destination they so urgently need to get to.

Out here in the new town the houses are bigger and more impressive than the cramped buildings in the old town. And there is actually a lot to explore out here. I only got time to have a quick look at some of the major churches and a big castle from the outside. I guess I just need to come back here one more time in the future spending more time in the city to explore the parts I missed this time. Off course I will also take advantage of the fact the food down here in Naples is excellent and a lot cheaper than the more expensive Italian cities further to the north.

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