Golden Day Sixty-Four: Chiaia, Napoli with Bonnie Alberts
The website Napoli Unplugged: Visit Naples, Discover Napoli and Napoli Unblugged Blog are Must Clicks if you’re headed to Naples or dreaming of Napoli. They’re created by Bonnie Alberts and her gang of contributors. Bonnie is a freelance writer and photographer with a degree in Historic Preservation, who is passionate about her adopted home. She generously shares her take on the sights, sounds, and flavors of this beautiful city–from up to the minute schedules of events, to fabulous recipes, touring and restaurant recommendations, entertaining stories, and always beautiful photography. Shc even has a Napoli Unplugged Photo Blog, where you browse by subject and get drawn into such places as Napoli’s pizzerias…
I’m so grateful she’s joined in to share her Golden Day in Chiaia. Here’s Bonnie:
Ancient and modern, shabby and chic, chaotic and… well chaotic, Naples Chiaia district has a vibe unlike anywhere else in the city. Tailor made for strolling, shopping, sipping and sampling, call me biased, but I absolutely love this neighborhood. I wouldn’t live here if I didn’t.
I love how Chiaia has reinvented itself and continues to reinvent itself. The tiny “bassi” of the past transformed into upscale shops and wine bars. Contemporary art museums and galleries tucked into ancient palazzi. A modern city wrapped up in ancient accommodations, it reminds me of all that is good and all that is possible.
Along Via dei Mille, gorgeous 19th and 20th century palazzi play host to street level store fronts with names like Fendi, Bulgari and Hermes. Nestled in between, local shops and restaurants keep Naples traditions alive. Tarallificio Leopoldo (Via Vittoria Colonna, 46) is home to some of the best taralli, pastries and fresh pasta in the city. And at Pizzeria Mattozzi Cucina Tipica (Via Filangieri Gaetano, 16) you’ll find mouth-watering Neapolitan pizza and pasta dishes.
If you’re a contemporary art fan, check out PAN Palazzo delle Arti in the beautiful 17th century Palazzo Rocella (Via dei Mille, 60) or ISI Arti Associate (Vico del Vasto a Chiaia, 47). Ask for Marina Romano who is one of the founders of ISI. She’ll pour you a glass of wine and give you a personal tour of the gallery in English of course.
The top of Via dei Mille in the area around Piazza Amedeo bustles by day, is quiet by night and is a great place to stay. The Hotel Pinto-Storey boasts an excellent location and the reviews to match. While you’re there don’t forget to take a quick look up at Lamont Young’s early 19th century Castello Aselmeyer on the stunning Corso Vittorio Emanuale.
At the other end of Via dei Mille look for the “V” in the road and the Gran Caffè Cimmino. High above it is another great place to stay, Casamone B&B (Via Gaetano Filangieri, 11). Not only does it have fabulous views of Chiaia from its two roof top terraces, but Giorgio and Celina are fabulous hosts. They speak five languages fluently and a photographer by trade, Giorgio will be happy to arrange a Naples photo tour or workshop for you.
Duck into Chiaia’s quaint cobblestoned alleys to find smaller stores and smaller price tags. Stroll along Via della Cavallerizza a Chiaia, Vico Belledonne a Chiaia, and Via Albardiere and don’t forget to check out the even smaller alleys in between.
Filled with shoppers by day, come back at night to experience the Naples Wine Bar scene. Young professionals and University students pour into the streets, meeting and greeting until the wee hours of the morning. My favorites, Enoteca Belledonne (Vico Belledonne a Chiaia, 18) where you’ll find Ciro chatting customers up in French, English and Italian. Across the alley check out Bros (Vicoletto Belledonne a Chiaia), where the wine flows, the snacks are plentiful and the owners will make you feel at home.
For lunch on the go try Lo Focaccia di Caccavallo Vincenzo (Vico Belledonne a Chiaia, 31). If you’d like to take things more leisurely, lunch at Umberto Ristorante (Via Albardieri, 30/31) or any one of the seafront restaurants along Via Partenope. A long stroll after lunch along lungomare, Napoli’s seaside promenade will help clear the wine from your head and treat you to breathtaking views of Vesuvius, Castel dell’Ovo, Sorrento and Capri.
Then head back to Piazza dei Martiri where you’ll find more upscale stores like Louis Vuitton and Salvatore Ferragamo and the “La Feltrinelli” Book Store. With a vibe like Barnes & Noble, it is one of my favorite places to while away an afternoon. End the day sipping a well deserved glass of Prosecco at Gran Caffè La Caffettiera (Piazza dei Martiri, 30).
GRAZIE for the inspiration Bonnie!