Piazzas and pizzas
‘First see Naples, then you can die!’ This is how Neapolitans describe their city. They have every reason to be proud, because Naples has 3,000 years of cultural history. Squares, churches, castles and theatres are widely represented in this atmospheric port. And as for food, an old friend is on the menu…
Once upon a time Naples was the capital of the kingdom of Sicily. Castel Nuovo still reminds of this period. This ‘New Castle’ is now centuries old but still impressive. The mighty walls accommodate the Barons Hall where once a power struggle between the nobility and the king was decided.
The Duomo has a bloody past as well. In this cathedral two ampoules are kept with the coagulated blood of Saint Januaris, who was beheaded by the Romans. The altar holds a bust in which the skull of the saint has been placed. Twice a year, the ampoules are held next to the skull, whereupon, in a mystical way, the coagulated blood liquefies. It is a crucial moment, because according to legend this means that disaster is warded off for the time being.
Just outside of Naples you will find the world famous ruins of Pompeii. This Roman city was covered by a layer of lava during an eruption of the volcano Vesuvius. For centuries, the city remained untouched, which is why it is extremely well preserved. The city walls, various temples, bath houses, theatres and houses offer us a glimpse of a different time.
Subsequently, a visit to the Museo Archeologico Nazionale is worthwhile. Here you will be introduced to a large collection of archaeological highlights, but also to an animation that shows how suddenly and destructively the Vesuvius struck.
Italian cuisine has derived quite some dishes from Naples. Unquestionably at number one is pizza Margherita. This delicacy with tomato, mozzarella and basil was first made in 1885 in honour of Queen Margherita of Savoy. The ingredients were not chosen randomly, because together they form the colours of the Italian flag. Besides pizza, Naples is also known for its spaghetti, Italian ice cream and espresso (with sugar). All the more reason to pleasantly dine in a ristorante or trattoria. Buon appetito!
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