My second trip to Italy was to Naples. I took a few days off work and decided to fly on Friday evening after work. As I arrived, I took a bus into town. It rained heavily and I got wet socks. Should have brought another pair of shoes instead of the Nikes. It would be the first time I tried AirBnB. I’d stay with a couple in an apartment in some area outside the center. It was a bit hard to find, especially because I had come without getting a map. I asked around and eventually got to the apartment. ‘To the third floor!’ a guy yelled from above. It was my host, Rosario. A friendly man with a huge moustache and, judging the apartment, a good taste. I was told I could do anything I wanted and that we are free men. I got a good espresso and then went into the center. A beautiful city, I can say. It had stopped raining and I could walk downhill to the center. Whereas Rome felt organized and polished, Naples felt raw and honest. It has a soul that you slowly fall in love with. It’s narrow streets and scooters speeding around the corners. Small bars to have coffee and living rooms right at street level. Open doors and people living in the street. You can look right inside people’s lives, see them have dinner in brightly lit rooms. People screaming about anything. It’s a cool city and it made me feel alive. It has the rush that many mediterranean cities do. It’s addictive. And so is the coffee.
Naples has hundreds of churches. They are stunning. In some streets, you can see four just looking around you. The architecture is impressive. Just walking around the city, you get a sense of the Italian life. Or, perhaps I should say, the Neapolitan life. I met some proud Neapolitans whom speak their own language, Neapolitan, and were incredibly proud of their city. I can only imagine the stories the people in this city have, it’s alive day and night. I found there not to be too many tourists. Certainly less than in Rome. This all changed when I went out of the city, for example southwest to Sorrento. A lovely city on the coast, easily reachable by train. The train passes the Vesuvio volcano and the ancient city Pompeii. I didn’t get off there, due to a lack of time, and continued to Sorrento. The train was full of tourists, mostly going to see Pompei. Sorrento itself has a nice center and offers some good walks along the coast. Besides, you can see Vesuvio from the other side. Naples is visible but is far away. I had the impression that most travelers don't spend much time in Naples at all, and tend to focus on the area around.
All in all, Sorrento is an excellent day trip. I enjoyed the walks along the old port, called Marina Grande. I also enjoyed a limoncello on a sunny terrace, then took a train back. Naples is a hectic but intriguing city. It can be overwhelming at times, and, because of the many sights around, it's easy to take a few breaks.
Another interesting day trip; I visited the Campi Flegrei volcanic fields. These can be visited by train; the place can be found in Google Maps. It's about 2,2 kilometres walking from the Pozzuoli train station. The fields are certainly interesting and you'll get to enjoy a nice train ride as well. Likewise, I can recommend the Palace of Caserta. It's reachable by train and even though I haven't had the opportunity to visit, I've seen the pictures and it seems very impressive. I also took a train to Bagnoli, west of Naples. I saw the pier Pontile Nord. Unfortunately it was closed but in summer it's said to be a lively place. In conclusion, Naples is a perfect city to visit. Even though I found the accommodation to be somewhat expensive, in general, your other expenses should not be too high. That said, there's a lot of choice in restaurants and such so you can easily spend money on some extra splurge.