There was one last “must do” on our Naples list – a perfect outing on our only morning in the city. A short walk from our B&B, we took a funicular up San Martino hill to explore a neighbourhood that feels a lot different than the historical centre. It’s a neighbourhood a lot less congested and much less hectic than down in the centre of Naples. This big draw for us to scale San Martino was its view over the city. How’s this for a way to start your morning?
Not only a spectacular view of the city, but that is Mount Vesuvius over on the right. Even the morning haze on another scorcher of a day couldn’t diminish the experience of standing here looking out over the city.
Getting up here was about getting some perspective on Naples, something that is very difficult to do down at street level. From San Martino, you can just how large and sprawling the city is. I loved all of the pastel colours of the buildings and roofs and spent some time tracing the narrow streets and lanes we walked the previous day with my eyes.
Being up here gave us a chance at some space and some peace, both in very limited supply at the bottom of the hill. Normally this would be somewhat crowded with tour groups and buses, but on this mid October morning, we had it mostly to ourselves.
As we lingered here, I was already starting to reflect back on the visit. I had very low expectations for Naples, yet the city dazzled me. Even in just one short day, I felt a spirit and energy from this place that was unmistakable. It was a city unlike any I’ve visited – loud, chaotic, rough around the edges, and perhaps best of all a bit wistful of its previous place in Italy’s pecking order yet proud of its uniqueness today relative to the more idyllic locales just to the north and south of it. Personally, I’ve always been attracted to cities that have a bit of a chip on their shoulder (I’m looking at you, Philadelphia) and I will always smile when I’m reminded of the spirit and feeling of Naples when I think back on my short time there.
Aside from a trip back down the hill into the historical centre of Naples for one last delicious pizza, the time on San Martino marked the end of a whirlwind twenty four hours. I’m so glad we visited Naples and wished we had more time to explore this one of a kind city.