I cannot say or emphasize it enough if you are going to Italy please please PLEASE learn at least enough of the language to communicate! I studied for 6 months before our trip so I was not fluent but it made for a wonderful experience to be able to communicate. Some of the worst behavior I have ever seen was from frustrated American tourists who fully arrogantly expected the Italians to speak flawless English while they themselves did not bother to learn a word of Italian. I have found that if you show the respect of at least trying to speak the language, no matter how badly mangled you will receive a warmer reception than those red in the face who think that yelling is going to get their point across. Remember we're visiting their country, why not learn a little bit before you go? That said, in the cities English is more prevalent but where we liked to eat in the family run trattorias the only English you would hear was, "No speak English!"
My favorite nighttime spot
This place is soooo much fun. Dancing. Live bands and some good food. Order pitchers of sangria and have some fun. They now have dance instructors that teach Latin dances free. Don't be surprised to see families with young children there either. They may look small, but some of those kids can dance.
MAKE RESERVATIONS for a sure shot at getting a table on the weekends. Crowd picks up at around 11pm. Jeans to suits. You will see everything here. Also, watch your camera, as is the case in all of Naples. I think one of the waiters snagged mine after I left it there by accident. He could have kept it, I just wanted my film!
One great band - Nevada - plays here frequently. Check out my tip on that band for their website.
Castel Nuovo (Maschio Angioino)
Castel Nuovo, often called Maschio Angioino, is a castle in the city of Naples, southern Italy. It is the main symbol of the architecture of the city.
Before the accession of Charles I of Anjou to the throne in 1266, the capital of the Kingdom of Naples was Palermo. There was a royal residence in Naples, at the Castel Capuano. However, when the capital was moved to Naples, Charles ordered a new castle, not far from the sea, built to house the court.
Works, directed by French architects, began in 1279 and were completed three years later. Due to the events of the Sicilian Vespers, the new fortress remained uninhabited until 1285, when Charles died and was succeeded by his son, Charles II. Castel Nuovo became soon the nucleus of the historical center of the city, and was often the site of famous events. For example, on December 13, 1294, Pope Celestine V resigned as pope in a hall of the castle. Eleven days later, Boniface VIII was elected pope here by the cardinal collegium and immediately moved to Rome to avoid the Angevine authority.
Under king Robert (reigned from 1309), the castle was enlarged and embellished, becoming a centre of patronage of art. In 1347 Castel Nuovo was sacked by the army of Louis I of Hungary, and had to be heavily restored after the return of queen Joanna I. The new works permitted the queen to resist the Hungarian siege during Louis' second expedition. The castle was besieged numerous times in the following years, and was the official residence of King Ladislas from 1399. It decayed under his sister Joanna II.
sophia loren's birthplace
Pozzuoli (i hope i've spelt it right) is a quiet and homey port town along the Napolitan Riviera that apparently is often visited as a transfer location leading to the more famous attractions of Capri, Sorrento and Ischia as Pozzuoli has ferry transfers to the islands via the Golfo (Gulf? Bay?) di Pozzuoli.
Pozzuoli used to be a busy trading town and has a rich history that goes way back to 530 B.C. Its maritime tradition and seaside location means an abundance of fresh seafood (relatively cheap) in the many ristoranti and trattorie that can be found in the town. The town has a promenade and beaches that ive been told are great for relaxing in the summer. But I was there at the end of winter, and just walking along the promenade and feeling the chilly seabreeze bite into my skin was enough to make me turn back and run to the shelter of the warm, inviting restaurants nearby.
One of Pozzuoli's attractions is the Solfatara - a volcano, whose crater we walked on. I can't remember when its last eruption was but it seemed pretty ready to erupt anytime to me!! The yellow funes of sulphur cling to your hair and clothes long after you've left it.
Pozzuoli also happens to be Sophia Loren's birthplace by the way.
Castel Sant'Elmo is a majestic, six-point star-shaped building that dates back to 1329 and which was first used as a prison. It is surrounded by ramparts and forts and stands over the city: there is a spectacular view from its terraces.