No trip to Naples is complete without a walk along what locals simply call Spaccanapoli (literally, Naples splitter). Actually, it is probably the easiest way to take in quite a bit of what this amazing city has to offer, short of driving (most inadvisable!).
Along its length sit worthwhile sights: Santa Chiara and its amazing cloister, San Domenico Maggiore with its incredible mix of Gothic and baroque styles, the San Severo Chapel with Sammartino’s Veiled Christ marble statue, and Via San Gregorio Armeno, a side street where traditional presepio (nativity scene) figurine making is still alive and well.
All in all a nice afternoon’s walk which puts you in direct contact with daily life in the city, as well as… WAIT! 45 minutes into the walk and you realize that you have been heading in the same direction the whole time. As in NO BENDS IN THE STREET! Not even a sliver of a comforting degree or two, even slightly! Even the buildings are straight!! Compared to most other streets in Naples which are most definitely NOT straight, or at least not for more than 20 feet, this one is nothing but! Disoriented, dizziness begins to set in.
Not to worry! You are walking along the decumanus inferior, the southernmost of the three East-West running main avenues which were standard layout of ancient Greek settlements and Roman military encampments. Phew! Not an unsettling chance occurrence then, it is reassuring to know that this is 3000+ year old deliberate Italian urban planning at its finest. And there are some who think that’s an oxymoron… HA!