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Hardwood Furniture from Sustainable Sources


Sandro and Marg in Naples: Part Two

March 2002

Friday 15th March


Friday Morning we awake and realise the room is considerably less comfortable than we’d expected.

What we didn’t know was whether the price was fair for the area and standard, so after a meagre continental breakfast (OK, the cappuccino was quite good) we determined to check out some hotels while we walked towards the city.
We walked along the Via Francesco Caracciolo towards St. Lucia and the Castell dell ‘Ovo, passing little stages on the sea front where fishermen were offering their morning’s catch – fish, calamari, octopus, clams, all live and squirming!.

We didn’t see many hotels on the front until we got to S. Lucia district – this is because there’s a park (with aquarium) running parallel to the sea front for most of the way – where we dropped into the “Royal” hotel. We were thinking we’d see “how the other half live” when we asked for the tariff - €282 per night for a sea-view double – a little out of our league.

Nevertheless, we also went into the “Continental” hotel next door. This happened to be the “sister” of the Royal, but the management was much more accommodating. They also quoted the same price for the room, but volunteered a reduction if I could book there and then for five nights. The price reduction was sufficient to interest us, and we asked to see the room.

What a difference! The room was enormous. A beautiful view over the Castell dell ‘Ovo, the Marina, Borgo Marinaro, the sea, the Sorrentina peninsula, Vesuvio and the Isle of Capri. Large marble bathroom, two balconies, a small ante-room for the wardrobes. Even the walls were padded and covered in silk-like material! (Next door is the famous Vesuvio hotel, where Bill Clinton stayed for the ’94 G4 summit!)

We agreed, handed over the Credit Card for a security deposit, and then started worrying about what the legal situation was regarding the booking we’d agreed to at the Canada. I consoled myself with the considerable differences between their brochure and actuality and prepared mentally for a slanging match the following morning!

Feeling elated that the rest of our holiday would at least be comfortable, if more expensive, we headed off toward the city, stopping at the Piazza Plebiscito to admire the architecture and absorb the heat. We also called my Dad in Rome and arranged to visit for a day. From Plebiscito we headed across the square to the Galleria Umberto, a magnificent glass-domed shopping arcade with top fashion shops and so on. No matter how I tried, I could not justify spending that much on a suit!

By this time, we were getting hungry, and as we were in Naples we had to have a Pizza. Surprisingly, we found there were few places to eat. This is in stark contrast to, say, Rome, where there are myriads of cafes, pizzerias and restaurants. We found the same to be true of bars: there are plenty where you can stand up for a coffee or beer, but few where you could opt for a table. Back to Plebiscito, then the square next to it by the Theatre, and we try the Rosati pizzeria restaurant.

We enter on the ground floor and go past the large wood-fired oven up stairs to the restaurant. The restaurant is quite busy, with a mixture of tourists and locals. The pizzas were quite tasty, perhaps a tiny bit doughy in parts, but boy, was the service quick! I know these ovens are hot, but the speed with which they can cook a pizza is impressive.

I am interested in motor yachts – I’d love to have one – and I know that there are several makes of boat named after localities near Naples: Baia and Posillipo are two of them, and I’d heard of the area Posillipo, so we took the bus from Naples centre out to Posillipo, which was in the direction of our hotel. The drive was interesting, and we passed an area famous for its private villas (Villa Laura?), but the terminus, at Posillipo, overlooked an abandoned steel works (which I think is being considered as a renovation project as a holiday resort). It looks as though the bus route didn't take us past the sights we expected to see.

From there back to the hotel, and prepare for the evening meal. Less than 200 metres from the Hotel was Ciro’s, the pizzeria we’d seen the night before. The meal we had there was simply wonderful – the food, the drink, the atmosphere and the service were all superb. We retired after a brief walk along the quays to clear our heads and “get the digestion going”, slightly concerned about checking out the following morning.




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