Naples Scenes In A Few Steps

by Rebecca Price Butler of A Love Letter To Rome (…and Naples)!

photo by rebecca price butler
Naples shopping area – photo by rebecca price butler

I love walking down the little market walk ways under Renaissance awnings. There’s nothing on earth quite like the scenes of Naples. I’ve heard it said certain spots in Napoli hearken back to the ancient world, only a few other spots in the world like Calcutta can recall another time so long ago.

Neapolitan cafe and archway - photo by Rebecca Price Butler
Neapolitan cafe and archway – photo by Rebecca Price Butler

Naples has one of my favorite cafe scenes in the series of connecting pedestrian streets of the picaresque Spaccanapoli. I love the coffee of Napoli; the rich, strong demitasses of espressos, the sweet nuttiness of a nocciola (espresso, sugar and ground roasted hazelnuts), or a frothy and properly hot cappuccino.

children in Napoli - photos by Rebecca Price Butler
children in Napoli – photos by Rebecca Price Butler

The children of Naples play in the grotty, wonderful streets against the backdrop of statues and paintings and colored walls peeling for centuries; of tiny fiats and citroens and three to a vespa. They find their games anywhere and everywhere, cheerfully kicking their “footballs” under the feet of passersby, in front of store windows, around fountains and niches of ruins. There is such a sense of play underneath it all.

the historical center of naples - photos by Rebecca Price Butler
the historical center of naples – photos by Rebecca Price Butler

From the moment I first walked these streets a few years ago I became enchanted with the market trinkets hanging from stalls, the smell of cheese and bread and tomatoes and fish wafting out of trattorias, the cobblestones, the gorgeous archways, the warm colors, enchanted with the best people watching in Italy.

graffiti and street art - photos by Rebecca Price Butler
graffiti and street art – photos by Rebecca Price Butler

Old world art, architecture and pop culture kitsch mix in any given corner of the historic center of Napoli. Amazing street art graffiti, a sticker of a carefree Einstein placed prominently over a cafe, a quiet tea shop tucked up in the most unlikely of places, an empty neighborhood chair left leaning against a wall, an array of inexplicable traffic signs, even a post-modern Madonna under the auspices of a revolver.

Street art and the cloisters - photos by Rebecca Price Butler
Street art and the cloisters – photos by Rebecca Price Butler

Near to the beautiful garden Cloisters of Santa Chiara, is a street art Eve with Eden’s snake, underneath an old Campania tree. The hand painted Spanish tile, fountains and arched windows of the cloisters are a near silent oasis in the heart of the city. Lemon and orange trees and flowers line the green, manicured gardens of the inner courtyard. It is a private, clean and calm spot to pop in for a little bit, for a lovely walk or a sit on a bench with a book or a friend.

Naples, a complicated, beautiful, historical city in the Campania region is worth a day’s visit … or two or ten days! For a great insider’s guide to the city one should "see and die" – visit Espresso Break: Napoli Naples Guide.

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