The easiest stroll in Naples is also one of its most beautiful. From Piazza del Plebiscito to Mergellina, it’s almost all flat and even terrain (although I can’t promise you that you won’t run across some cobbled stone along the way). No maps, travel books or agendas are required. Let the mountain be your compass, the curve of the bay be your guide.
On sunny days I like to head west in the morning for beautiful views of Mergellina and Posillipo. In the afternoon I head east for the panoramas of Castel dell’Ovo and Vesuvuis. But rain or shine, east or west, it’s a great stroll any day of the week, any time of the day, any day of the year.
Yesterday however, was particularly stunning. One of those rare days when the stars align and everything just seems to fall perfectly into place. Everything that is except for the 3 inch heeled boots I bought on Saturday that were not only too hot for this warm October day but that left my feet a blistery mess.
But I digress.
We started our stroll at the Piazza Vittoria entrance to Villa Comunale where we found the park was already in full swing. Lining both sides of the main promenade, bright yellow Coldiretti Market stands were filled with seasonal products from the Campania region.
Nearby, families wandered in and out of the Anton Dohrn Zoological station to visit the oldest aquarium in Europe.
And kids and dogs, bikes and balls, skates and skateboards added to the din.
Outside the park, motos lined up to take in the sun.
And the little engine that could carried happy little passengers around and around.
Closed to traffic, joggers and walkers, strollers and miniature electric cars, and bicycles built for one, two and four jockeyed for position along Via Caracciolo.
Down by the water, a few lone fisherman were left selling their daily catch.
And there were plenty of antiques, art and collectibles at the twice monthly edition of Naples Antiques Market – Fiera Antiquaria Napoletana.
Yes the city was out in force to enjoy this unseasonably warm October day. Indian summer is what they used to call it. Maybe they still do. One of those rare October days when the brisk autumn air turns warm again giving you one last taste of summer.
Yet no matter how warm it gets, no matter how bright the sun is, there is something inherently different about an autumn day in Naples. With the summer’s haze burnt away, the sea, the sky and the mountain, eight shades of grey in the winter, white-washed in the summer just seem a bit clearer, a bit more alive.
The water turns a brilliant shade of blue with deep green veins swirling around. The sky becomes frosty blue with fluffy white clouds hanging high, giant cotton balls hugging the horizon.
And the mountain. Sometimes just the sight of it on a day like today, it’s velvety browns and lush greens so often obscured by clouds and haze can bring tears to my eyes.
The perfect Napoli day. The perfect stroll, be it Saturday, Sunday or any day.