I will admit that, initially , I did not want to go to Naples. At all. The city was allegedly dirty, noisy, utterly chaotic, and filled with petty thieves waiting to pounce on even the savviest tourist. According to the word of mouth on several travel boards, Napoli seemed to better fit the description for ‘Places to Avoid’. Nope, I was not interested at all.
But I wanted to go to the Archaeological Museum. Really wanted to. Badly. And that is in Naples.
I started to do research for the most painless, quickest, in-and-out way to get into the city; visit the museum and escape unscathed. Perhaps as a daytrip from Rome? That seemed very doable as the high-speed train takes just over an hour. We had been to Pompeii and Herculaneum in previous trips, and though we enjoyed them tremendously, there was no real need to extend our time in the area.
But when I really started reading, I found that there were a few adventuresome souls that claimed to have actually liked the city. Even -gasp!- loved it. Ha! Interesting…. So I thought that perhaps an overnight stay would be okay. You know, give it a chance. After all… I was maneuvering the itinerary so that I could finally squeeze in a visit to Capri.
So the plan evolved: an early(ish) train in from Rome’s Termini to Napoli Centrale, drop stuff at hotel, visit Museum, have a pizza for dinner, sleep, and go to Capri on the first boat out. Very doable.
But then, the serious research began. Why hadn’t I heard before of the masterpieces in the Capodimonte Museum? The Catacombs of San Genaro? The Sansevero chapel? The Caravaggio magnum opus at S. Pio della Misericordia?…. And the list just kept getting longer and longer!
That was how we ended staying in Naples for 3 nights at the end of April.
But before I launch into the story I will tell you something: Napoli is what it is. No attempt at disguising its imperfections. No desire to be picture perfect. They do not want to be Rome. The Neapolitans refuse to step back and let the tourists displace them from their beloved streets. Unapologetic.
Did we like Naples? I’m sure you want to know right away. But you will have to read along to find out…