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NAPLES

Naples was not the subject of my dreams, he went “train” to the excursion in Pompeii. So due to lack of education I thought about him: at the same time and without any expectations. And when, at the turn of the mountain road below, the city opened, stepwise rising from the Gulf of Naples, I was simply stupefied by its beauty!

Actually, the city did not start here. The Egg Castle, or Castell del Ovo, on the “song” island of Santa Lucia in the Tyrrhenian Sea, is the place where in the 5th century BC Naples was founded. By the way, the Greeks from Father Rodos.

By the 17th century, it was inhabited by 300 thousand people: the second largest city in Europe. More then Naples was only Paris. Now it is the largest city of a poor but picturesque South, and the third largest city in Italy; its large administrative, cultural center and cruise port, the sixth in terms of passenger traffic in the Mediterranean.

But for curious travelers, the main interest is its Old Town, protected by UNESCO. One of the symbols of which, the New Castle, a spectacular favorite of the tourist public, is located near the port.

Another name for the castle is Anjou: in the 13th century, Charles of Anjou, who transferred the capital from Sorrento to Naples, began to build his own residence. Now it is a museum, although 10 years ago the Council of the City sat in the medieval halls. From the New Castle we went to Naples Municipality, the largest in Naples: watch the Royal Palace.

Erected in the 17th century, it was the residence of the monarchs of the Bourbon dynasty. During its long history it has been repeatedly damaged, restored and expanded, therefore it cannot boast with authenticity. But it still looks monumental. And inside the palace, among other institutions, is the Palace Apartments Museum, and now this is an impressive sight. We, alas, didn’t see it, but the guide admired the refined interior of the Central Hall: pastel colors of the walls and an incredibly graceful staircase made of stone.

I readily believe, because here the covered gallery of shops can be a work of art, like the Umberto I Gallery. What a shopping experience! I looked around, afraid to miss something, and admired everyone, including the wonderful marble floor panels. Erected in the 19th century instead of alleys with a dubious reputation, the gallery is a kind of “red carpet” leading to the famous opera house in Naples, San Carlo.

In the 18th century, it had direct communication with the Royal Palace and the world’s largest auditorium with an unrivaled interior. San Carlo was opened before the legendary La Scala and is one of the oldest theaters in Europe.

Well, he has his own “skeletons in the closet” too: in 1901 Caruso booed in the opera “Love potion”. After such an insult, the singer never came to his hometown …

They say that Naples, in addition to monuments, is “famous” for the mafia, thieves and mud. And for this reason does not deserve a full day of excursions. I did not think so. I was not in the halls of the Royal Palace; only briefly saw the castle star of the 14th century Castel Sant Elmo, which hid Tsarevich Alexei from the wrath of Peter I; I didn’t have time to admire the Church of St. Clara, with tiled benches and columns that resembled the Spanish Pavilion in Seville … I simply didn’t see a huge number of temples, palaces, castles, parks and other colorful places. How she did not visit the underground Naples, did not go to the island of Capri and did not even compare the local Gambrinus to Odessa!

It was possible to try only the famous pizza, and even then in a hackneyed tourist spot; no less famous coffee, desserts and snacks remained “uncovered” … And then, there is another opinion: it is the South, not as well-groomed and prosperous, as the North, living not like a volcano, but just on it (Vesuvius is the only active volcano Europe) – this is authentic Italy! And Naples, distinctive and ambiguous, is his uncrowned king!

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