We have arrived in Italy
Let's talk food ...
We knew when we landed in Italy it was going to be an amazing time, but we had no idea how amazing it was going to be, we hit the ground running and didn't stop.
We flew into Napoli, and made this our first stop. Napoli is a lovely little city on the water. Napoli takes all advantage of the sea in front of them. There are car ferries, people ferries and cargo ships that transport all over Italy and to other European cities but this is also a stop for many of the cruise ships in the Mediterranean. (The Captain and I stopped in Napoli a few years back and fell in love with this part of Italy). So if you are looking to visit Napoli there is definitely more than one way to get to here.
Our hotel, the Smart Hotel that we stayed at was right at the cruise ship dock/port of Napoli. The cruise ships were right outside our terrace when they were in port. It was also a convenient place to stay that was easy to walk to town as well as easy to walk to the ferry to take us to Procida, where we were going to pick up our sailboat. Since there was 6 of us traveling we wanted to take the least amount of taxis as possible.
We spent our first few days on land exploring what Naploi had to offer us. We began of course eating pizza and drinking wine, and it didn’t disappoint. Our first pizza was very non traditional and I am hoping to replicate one day on Añejo. It was a panozzo or Italian sandwich pizza. Our panozzo was stuffed with prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes, arugula (or rocket as they call it in Italy), olive oil and some seasonings (see the pic below).
Pic of panozzo, at the Ferry Dock
This area of Italy is famous for its margarita pizza, which is a simple red sauce, mozzarella cheese and basil thin crust, put in the brick oven for two - three minutes, for a perfect pizza. Every pizzas we ate were delicious, no matter where you ate it.
Margarita pizza, we added parma ham
Napoli is also famous for its Italian pasty called the sfogliatella. It resembles a clam shell and is made of many flaky layers of pastry on the outside and orange flavored ricotta and candied citrons on the inside. This is actually my favorite pastry and every cafe that had them in the case I wanted to try. It is also the same pasty Lobster Tails are made from, but in the case of lobster tails they are filled with a type of cream.
We did find a very cute cafe in Napoli that we got Aperol Spritzers and sfogliatella. The most wonderful thing about having a drink in a cafe or bar, is they don't just give you a drink. When a drink is served it arrives to the table with small bowls of goodies, such as chips, olives and nuts. Sitting a cafe is a social event, not rushed and very relaxed.
This was my first of many Aperol Spritzers
We decided to try two very different places for dinner the two evenings we were in Napoli. The first night we ate in the waterfront at a lovely seafood restaurant where they pretty much decided what we were going to eat. We ate small shrimp, octopus and local fish. The next evening we went to a small traditional Italian restaurant that was down a small alley. Where we at pasta based dishes with shell fish, clams, or bolonaise. Both were wonderful, and so different.
View up one ally
The allies of Napoli are where you find the most local feeling of all the places. What is very interesting is all the places we visited the deeper you go in the ally the more interesting it gets. We traveled up an ally and found lemons the size of my head, and laundry hanging from every balcony and it made me love Napoli more and more by each step.
The thing we learned early on is Italians eat late and stay up late. But not only that, shops and restaurants also stay open late. So every night after dinner we would find someplace to go, even if it was just for a walk to see the sights at night. It is like the city comes to life after dark, but it takes on a new role and shows a different side of itself. Everywhere you go you see families, couples and friends out for a walk late into the evening. If you think about it is the perfect time to take a walk, you have a had a good meal, dessert and drinks, and why not walk it off before going to bed.