A View with a City

November 10, 2011 / Places
Napoli, Campania

App or map, you have to orientate yourself in an unfamiliar city. In Naples the view from the Castel Sant’Elmo is an excellent place to begin.

The first thing you’ll notice is the large conical object across the bay. It’s often veiled in the pale blue of distance or swathed in summer haze, but we know it’s there and we’re keeping an eye on it.

Another striking feature of this view is the cheese-cutter line across the city. This street survives from the Greco-Roman city of Neapolis and is popularly called Spaccanapoli or ‘Naples-splitter’. This area has an noisy, chaotic and thrilling culture of its own and must be experienced. Eat pizza here, explore the mysterious underground of the city, buy a Christmas ornament, visit a Caravaggio.

Zooming in on Spaccanapoli you can see the green roof of Santa Chiara whose majolica cloister remains one of the many marvels of Naples. Throw a rock in the centro storico and you’ll hit a church. I’ll be interested to hear what else happens.

Turning a little, you see the Galleria Umberto with its dome and glass-vaulted wings – late 19th century elegance newly restored. And across the road is the San Carlo Opera House, part of the royal palace behind. Both have truly sumptuous interiors. The open space is the Piazza del Plebiscito, till quite recently a bus park but now once more a dynamic public space for civic celebrations, concerts and impromptu late night football matches among the local lads.

And who’s this? This is one of the wonderful works by Mimmo Paladino to be see throughout the city. If this fellow could turn around, he’d see another straight road, Monte di Dio, where President Napolitano was raised, not far from the Nunziatella military academy, the red building at the end of the street.

This covers about 90┬║ of the panorama and we’ve only just begun…

Penny Ewles-Bergeron

by Penny Ewles-Bergeron

Author, artist… celebrating the many good things in Naples.

19 Responses to “A View with a City”

  1. Fidelma Giancone

    Thank you for the wonderful journey! I was born an raised in Naples, (Posillipo). The bay of Naples was my everyday view. Everyone should experience the market area during Christmas.
    Thanks for the memories.

  2. Rosemary

    I love Naples – crazy, chaotic, ancient, crumbling, gleaming, wonderful Naples! You brought back all my memories of the days we spent wandering its streets when we lived in Vietri sul Mare and traveled there by bus to enjoy one area or another. Grazie!

  3. John Gardiner

    Having lived in Naples for five years about 35 years ago I loved this presentstion of the eternal city,(not Rome),that I explored with my family all those years ago. I like almost all of the presentations you put on the net. It helps me to relive some of my best years.

  4. Ciao Penny.

    What a great note about my favorite city in all of Italia. Great pix too from this fantastic vantage point.

    Mille grazie.


  5. What a fascinating read my friend. Full of great insights and I am fascinated at the splitter road – Spaccanapoli…wow…what an extraordinary feature!!

    Thanks for sharing all of these tips for my next visit to come and see you!!

  6. A fabulous note with photos to match! I was just there a few months ago, but did not go up to see the views, so this has put everything into perspective!

  7. Anne Robichaud

    Thanks, Penny for a wonderful kaleidoscope panorama of one of my favorite cities.
    If I have a free weekend, I head to Rome from here in Umbria.
    If i have 3 days or more, Napoli, here I come!

  8. Penny Ewles-Bergeron
    Penny Ewles-Bergeron

    Thanks everyone. Always happy to share lovely Naples with I.N. readers; if any of you are heading this way, get in touch and we’ll have a caffe’ or a prosecco…

    • Are you available for private tours? We’re going on a cruise in July and we stop in Naples for a day?

  9. Christine

    Penny, this is exactly why I just have to come to Naples, even if it just is for a couple of hours! Caffe, prosecco tutto pls!
    I left my heart in Naples!
    See you soon Penny!

  10. Anne Civetta

    I adore Napoli and visit as often as possible. What’s interesting to me is that, in addition to feeling comfortable due to my heritage (my family is from Campania near Benevento), Napoli feels a lot like my home town of Boston. I love the food, the music, the chaos, the language, and the danger of being in the shadow of Vesuvio. Thanks for awakening my wanderlust! I will visit next autumn and stay with a good friend/distant relative in Chiaia where we can see both Vesuvio and Capri… Sigh


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