Grandes Obras

Our Italy Adventure: Naples – Southern Hospitality

Our Italy Adventure: Naples – Southern Hospitality

Where do I begin to describe the wonderful visit to Italy we had on our recent vacation? Come along with me to our first stop in Naples and I’ll show you around on a walking tour of part of the city, exploring the National Archeological Museum of Naples, strolling through the vast expanse of ancient Pompeii, and enjoying the food. Oh, the food! It was glorious and my only regret is that I didn’t have room to eat more every day! There were so many delectable temptations around every corner and I ate as much as I possibly could! We sure enjoyed our trip and this was a part of Italy I had never been to before, so Mark and I experienced it together for the first time. He loved Italy too and I don’t think I’ll have to talk him into going back next year, when I hope we will go again. Andiamo! Let’s go! 

As I mentioned, we did a group tour with Go Ahead Tours *This is an affiliate link in case you want to check out their group travel trips yourself.  An additional note: They didn’t sponsor this trip for us. They did pay me for some social media shares, but we paid for this trip ourselves. They have been in business for over 50 years and so I felt very comfortable signing up with them and going on this trip, especially after I heard from friends and many of you who have experienced their group travel trips before. A group trip may sound daunting, but to us it makes perfect sense. We are not highly ambitious as far as planning out all details of a trip like this and I actually prefer traveling with a group instead of just ourselves, so group travel is great. I would highly recommend it if you want someone else to do all the planning and you just show up with your bags, ready to go. We knew exactly what was going to happen each day, as the itinerary spells it all out in advance. The only thing that can change that is the weather or something unexpected happening and we had that one day, which I’ll share later. Overall, our trip with Go Ahead was completely seamless and we loved every minute of it!

The above collage is hotel Palazzo Turchini, which was our first hotel we stayed in after arriving in Naples. It was small, but very attentive to detail and our room was spacious and clean. We had a balcony overlooking the street and breakfast was included, which was delicious. Cappuccino upon request, as well as so many options for breakfast: fresh fruit, pastries, croissants, jams, cheese, meats, fresh cut tomatoes, boiled eggs, and lots more. There was more than enough to choose from. You haven’t lived until you eat a slice of Italian rustic bread with fresh tomatoes and a little basil for breakfast. It was magnifico! That tidbit came from our tour director, Carmen (or Carmela, her given name), who was a delightful, fun young woman who we loved getting to know. She was so good at her job, I’ll share more of her below. She dropped off that bread and tomato to our table and I loved it! It’s not my normal breakfast fare, but I would do it again.

Carmen took those of us who had some energy left out for a walking tour that first afternoon of arrival, so we geared ourselves up and went for it. It’s best to just stay awake in my opinion and power through the first day, getting a good night’s sleep that first night. Your body will slowly adjust to the time change. Be sure and take comfy shoes for walking as you will be doing a lot of walking, at least 2 or 3 hours a day. I opted by comfy sneakers and one pair of comfy flats (3 pair total and I wore them all). There were only 5 of us to opted for the walking tour, but it was a great start to Italy and we saw so much along the way. The weather was in the 60’s for the most part, so chillier in the morning, but afternoons warmed up more. I did take a lightweight jacket and wore it most every day, since I can tend to be cold sometimes. Layering is the way to go this time of year in Italy. We strolled through the Galleria, which is a huge spacious shopping area filled with shops and food options. Isn’t that ceiling beautiful.

We could hardly contain ourselves after seeing all of these tempting pastries everywhere we turned. I wanted one of each and sadly, I only had one of these.

Aren’t they beautiful? They all look so delicious and now I wish I had just crammed more in even if I wasn’t hungry at the time. YUM!

This is the one I tried and I don’t remember the name of it, but wow was it delicious. Mark had some others too and we both loved them.

There were photo opps at every turn, so I cajoled Mark into taking lots of pics with me and he obliged with smiles. That’s Mount Vesuvius in the background and we traveled that direction over to Pompeii on this trip as well.

Italy is such a charming country and I fell in love with it over 30 years ago when I was there. If you didn’t read my travel post about my first time in Italy, check it out here. I have been an Italy fan for so many years and that feeling has never gone away. I’m happy to say Italy hasn’t changed a bit since I was there last and it has even more charm this time around. I love everything about Italy, to the people, the food, the architecture and their vibrant way of life. They definitely know how to slow down and enjoy life!

Naples is a very walkable and pretty town by the water. It was nice to see all the people out enjoying the spring weather.

The city is beautiful and I just adore the Italian architecture and how they build their buildings. We could take a few pointers from them.

Venus of the Rags is a huge art installation in Naples of the classical goddess. The original artwork was created by Michelangelo Pistoletto back in 1967 and the artist created a much larger version for Naples. It seems to be a commentary on waste, was what we heard about the pile of clothing. It was certainly eye catching!

I really love the architecture of the old buildings and that’s the beauty of Italy.

The crusty patina of the old buildings have a charm of their own and I was so happy to still see hanging laundry on the balconies of the cities. That’s exactly what struck me over 30 years ago when I was there. They love to hang out their clothes to dry and there’s a certain feeling about that sight that evokes nostalgia for me. My mama hung out our laundry for years before they got a dryer and became used to the modern conveniences. Hanging laundry is everywhere in Italy! And I’m happy that hasn’t changed a bit in all these years.

We so enjoyed walking around Naples by foot and taking in the water views.

We walked over 2 hours that first day and then it was time to head back and enjoy our welcome dinner.

We all gathered in the breakfast area of the hotel for a meet and greet that first night with Prosecco toasts and then headed across the street for dinner at Trattoria Medina where we ate our fill of Naples pizza! We hit it off with two couples that first night, Dave and Cindy from FL (and WS) on the left and also Joe and Michelle from Long Island, NY (sitting to my right). We ended up going out to dinner with them a couple more times during our free evenings and hanging out together  a lot and it made the trip so fun to have this camaraderie right off the bat. Everyone we met was so nice and we enjoyed meeting them all.

The pizza was delicious and they kept bringing out more and more, with plenty of red and white wine as well. We did get pizza a couple more times and that was fine with me, since I’m a huge pizza fan. We got a few more meals out as well and again, my only regret was that we didn’t have more meals available to try more food at the restaurants. I could eat my weight in pizza, pasta, pastries, and gelato! Oh Italy, you are good!

Meet Carmela or Carmen to her friends. She was our Tour Director and such a pro. We loved her beautiful Italian accent and the way she herded us around like little ducklings was a feat in itself and it was obvious she loves her job and is great at it. She taught us Italian words on the bus and I already knew most of them, but it was a fun reminder of all the words I learned the first time in Italy. I told her if my group trip next year to Italy comes about that I want her to be our Tour Director and she was all for that.

Our next day brought a visit to the Naples National Museum of Archeology. It was a very interesting and informative museum, full of Naples and Italian history. I took so many pictures, it was hard to decide what to share, so I’m sharing as many as I can.

The exterior of the building is beautiful, but the interior even more so. All of the places we visited were busy, so I couldn’t help but be glad we were there in  April and not later in the summer. I hear summer is so hot and really crowded, so I think April is a great time to visit Italy.

Each excursion that Go Ahead puts together is hosted by a local tour guide and they are locals who know their history and are skilled in sharing it with their groups. We had headsets that we were given the first day and we kept them until the last tour was finished, so we could hear everything said by the local tour guides.

It was all very informative on what we were seeing as we walked through the museum. The mosaics area was completely fascinating to me and I loved the intricate details of these stone works of art. Isn’t this amazing?!

This one of a dog is world famous and the detail is stunning.

Even these columns that were rescued from somewhere are works of art. It’s just mind boggling how this was done.

Loved this one of the fishes and sea life. Truly works of art!

The museum had all of these beautiful blown glass vases and bowls that had been recovered and displayed for all to see. Works of art, every one of them.

Of course, Italy has statues everywhere and marble everywhere. That’s something we don’t see here, marble is used in so many areas of Italy, on the streets, sidewalks, stairs and so many other venues. The marble is breath taking, all the colors that are there.

The halls of the museum had so much to look at and take in. We sure enjoyed this trip to the museum and I’m glad we got to experience it. I’m not always big on museums, but this one was amazing.

Next stop, ancient Pompeii. I’ve heard about Pompeii my whole life and so has Mark. He even wrote some papers as a young boy about Pompeii and ancient Rome, so he was spellbound at seeing all of this in person. When he got to Rome, he was like a kid in a candy store!

I had no idea what to really expect in Pompeii, but again, it’s awe inspiring. This ancient city that was buried in volcano ash in 79 A.D. has been uncovered and opened up for the world to see how they lived and just what their world was like. It covers hundreds of acres and we heard there is still more to uncover in this old city.

It sure was inspiring to see how much of the old city was left, from the iconic columns to houses, baths and more.

Their outdoor amphitheater was jaw dropping beautiful.

So many photo opps inside Pompeii. We were so happy to get to see it in person.

Our local guide strolled through and shared highlights with us through our headsets so that was nice.

Can you imagine living on these cobblestone streets?

And so many of the old columns are still standing.

What a treat it was!

We went in the small museum that Pompeii has to offer and saw more relics and casts of real people who were found. You’ve probably seen pictures of the people and animals who were found intact and they used a special poured cast to capture the shape of each person found. Amazing!

Relics of their cooking utensils were displayed.

It was pretty warm that day so I was glad I wore my hat. We headed to a local restaurant, La Gare, after the tour for a delicious lunch of yes, pizza for us.

I loved watching them build the pizza which then went into the big ovens for fast cooking. We are fortunate here in our little town of Acworth to have an authentic pizza joint with a real Italian wood burning pizza oven, plus they have gelato too!

I forgot the name of the one we ordered, but it was outstanding! There was a hole in the middle of the crust where the mozzarella and buratto sat on arugula and wow, was it good! Now that’s a pizza!

Castle in Naples.

Views of Mount Vesuvius across the water.

The bus to Mount Vesuvius.

It was beautiful leaving Naples too.

The houses on the cliffs are jaw dropping gorgeous.

We sure enjoyed Naples a lot!

On one of our free evenings, our new friends and us headed to dinner by the water. We had walked by here earlier and we all thought having dinner down here would be memorable and it was. This restaurant was Antoino Antoino, the perfect spot for us to chill out and enjoy Napolitan cuisine. This is part of what we had below in the photos. I had the delicious pasta, Mark got risotto, and Mark and I got Caprese salad. The pizza pictured is from Trattoria Medina, from our first night there. Ended with cheers of Limoncello, an Italian delicacy. We all enjoyed our meals!

As I mentioned, I just wanted to eat more every day and I almost had a gelato a day. Actually, when one day got skipped, I made up for it by getting 2 the next day!

When in Rome as they say and I tried my best to keep the gelato stores in business. We all did! I hope you enjoyed this recap of Naples, Italy. We sure had fun here and there are many more adventures to come, so stay tuned!

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