Although this is my sixth trip to Italy, it is the first time I am spending any time in Naples. The only times that I have been here previously were on cruises, when Naples was a port stop. And on those occasions, rather than explore Napoli, I opted for shore excursions to Pompeii, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast.
In fact, I made a point to avoid Napoli, because I had heard so many negative opinions about this southern Italian city. It was said to be dangerous, dirty, and to be avoided. And since the only areas I had seen were the port and the train station, I too believed that all of Naples was dirty. Even my Italian friends viewed Naples with disdain. "Schifezza,” they would say with looks of disgust.
So it was not until I had met Tina, the owner of Discover Napoli Destinations, that I changed my opinion and decided it might be worth a visit to discover Naples.
Tina, as some of the readers of my blog know, actually rescued me in Pompeii last year when I was stranded during a train strike. I had never met her except on Twitter, yet she drove to Pompeii from Sorrento, picked me up in her car, and then escorted me around Sorrento and the stunning Sorrentine peninsula for a full day.
I didn’t know how I could ever repay her for her generous Neapolitan hospitality, but she did. She made me promise to return and let her show me the best of Napoli. So here I am and I am no longer afraid. Instead I am eager to explore all that I can during the five days and nights I will be in Naples. What more can anyone want than to have your own personal Italian concierge and escort who knows Naples inside and out?
I want to know what makes Neapolitans so passionate and so determined to live their lives to the fullest. I want to understand why ” See Naples and die” is their mantra. I am determined to find out.