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Day 2: Naples

I didn't wake up very early this morning, still pretty tired after the early start yesterday, so it was around 10am before we set out to explore Naples. Because our apartment is in such a good location, we weren't too far away from the centro storico (old town). In fact we didn't have to go far at all to get our first glimpses of some of the many churches which line the streets of Naples.


The biggest landmark in the old town is the Duomo, so we headed there first.


The cathedral is known as the Cattedrale di San Gennaro after the city's patron saint. It's a really beautiful building :) 


Once we had passed the cathedral, we went deeper into the old town, on increasingly narrow streets.


If you thought these streets were so small they must be pedestrianised, you'd be wrong! Everywhere we went we kept having to dodge out of the way as mopeds and little Smart cars whizzed past us.


After a while we emerged into a square, which was home to the church of San Lorenzo Maggiore.


It was a really pretty location, but I was surprised at how busy it was. It was difficult to take photos because the main street running past the church was overrun with large groups of tourists on walking tours.


The side streets were quieter - if you could avoid the mopeds!


It felt like you could wander around the old town for hours and never find your way out. It also felt like it wouldn't necessarily be a good place to get lost at night! There were some beautiful old buildings though.


And so many churches!


Eventually we emerged into a wider, leafy square.


We were now in the more modern part of town.


We passed through the Port'Alba, one of the old city gates into Naples.


We were then in Piazza Dante.


The square is dominated by a large statue of Dante.


From here we walked onto Via Toledo, a long shopping street which leads down towards the sea. There were lots of beautiful churches here too...


I have no idea what this building was, but we loved the view through the archway.


Once we'd been walking for a while, we caught sight of a castle on the horizon.


This is Castel Nuovo... and this isn't a great photo of it because of the enormous crane... but if you look to the left you'll see the reason why the centre of Naples felt so busy this morning; an enormous cruise ship sitting in the port!


As we walked towards the castle, our attention was caught by this very striking yellow building.


Believe it or not, this is actually a shopping mall! A little bit more scenic than the Bullring in Birmingham :) 


We had to cross a very busy road, but eventually we managed to get a photo of the castle which wasn't obscured by a building site.


Although this is called Castel Nuovo, it was actually first built in 1266!


A few minutes after passing the castle, we reached the sea :)


From here we went through a park...


...and then climbed up a bit of a hill along a road which gave us some amazing views out to sea.


I was particularly excited when I got my first proper view of Vesuvius :)


It's really huge!


We also had a view out to sea, towards some of the islands in the bay. My geography of the area isn't good enough yet though to know which island we were looking at.


We continued to follow the road around the coast.


We were walking towards another castle- Castel dell'Ovo - which is situated on a little peninsula.


This castle, which is the oldest fortification in Naples, is free to walk around and explore :)


As we made our way across the walkway to the castle there were some more wonderful views of the bay.


Then we began climbing up inside the castle.


Soon the views were even better :)


And when we got up to the highest viewing platform, the views were really superb.


It looked like we could see for miles around the coast...


...and also back towards the centre of Naples, with yet another castle perched on the top of the hill.


It was after midday by this point so we decided to try one of the restaurants near the bottom of the castle for lunch. We were in a touristy area this time so the prices were more expensive than yesterday, but I had another amazing pizza so it seemed worth it :)

After lunch we walked back inland and ended up in Piazza del Plebiscito, which is one of the biggest squares in Naples.


The square is home to the church of San Francesco di Paola, which is quite an unusual shape.


From here we also had a good view of the Castel Sant'Elmo on the top of the hill. That was where we were heading next.


There are several funiculars which run from the centre of Naples up the hill towards the castle and they're part of the normal public transport network. We found the nearest station not far from the square and were lucky enough to arrive a few minutes before the next funicular was due to depart. We were soon at the top of the hill, walking through what felt like a slightly quieter and calmer bit of Naples, in search of the castle.


Up close, it turned out not to be a very exciting castle.


It was worth coming up the hill for the views of Naples, though.


From up here it was obvious quite how big the city is.


We decided to walk down the hill, following a series of staircases and steep little streets.


Before too long we were back at ground level...


...and walking back towards our apartment, via a route which enabled us to admire some more of Naples' churches.


We wanted to go back to the apartment for a bit of a rest before another excursion this evening; the owner of the apartment had promised to come and pick us up at 20.30 to show us some of the city at night...

Edited by Clare

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