If you haven’t moved by taxi in Naples, you haven’t lived your life in full. The drive from the airport to the hotel, emerged out of an action movie. The cab driver drives through the busy streets of the city, not giving a toss about pedestrians or even other cars. The man has a mission: to take us to our destination in a flash. There are no traffic lights at the crossroads, right of way is a game where the boldest driver wins and cars exhausts seem to emit mad gas. We paid quite a bit of money for that life-threatening ride, but hey, that’s us; we like it only when adrenaline hits red. Finally, we arrived at Grand Hotel Orente, laughing!
The hotel was right in the heart of the city, at the Armando Diaz pedestrian walk. Our first stop for coffee was Galleria Umberto Ι. At the Anna Bellavita café, we had a quick espresso along with the traditional canoli. After we regained our strength, we visited Borsa Mediterranea del Tourismo, the exhibition area. That was when we found out that no one there had ever received material from the client and of course, no one spoke English. After a three hour row with the coordinators, we were assured that everything would be up and running by tomorrow.
We met later with the rest of the team at Via Toledo and without too much thought, we ended up at Hosteria Toledo, in Vico Giardinetto, where we dipped into – what else – traditional pasta and local red wine.
The next day, the Italians had kept their promise and everything was functioning at the Promotion of Epirus as a Tourist Destination and Agricultural Producer. The high number of the attendees showed the rate of the interest. When we went back to the hotel, we were exhausted. After a quick rest, we got ready for the evening presentation to the Media and the tourist agents of South Italy.
Needless to say, our evening did not end there. We were women with the mission to experience Naples by night. This is how we ended up at Chandelier Café, in the busy Via Bisignano. We tried Aperol spritz, the traditional Italian aperitif, and cocktails based on gin. The area was full of a young crowd that every day turns this commercially busy – by day – street into a hot spot for drinks and flirting with strangers. Our walk back to the hotel convinced us that one of the characteristics of this city is… the accumulation of rubbish.
The next morning was booked for meetings with the industry’s professionals at the BMT. Anybody else would be too tired after all that. Not us. After the closing of the exhibition, we stormed out. To the grocery shops, the osterias, the clothes and miscellaneous items shops, the vendors and the street events, all that comprises the soul of this place.
Sadly, the third exhibition day was disappointing. Being open to the public too gathered a lot of ruckus without the commercial interest.
During the evening, we went out for coffee to the well-known Gran Caffè Gambrinus, at Via Chiaia, and tried their famous tiramisu and caffè latte, overlooking at Piazza del Plebiscito.
Last day in Naples. Task-free, we went sightseeing at the Certosa e Museo di San Martino. The view was magnificent from there. Naples at our feet with Mount Vesuvius on our left looking relievingly inactive.
Naples is the noisy and colourful city of the Italian South.
We rode the Funicolare down, from Piazza Fuga to the Vittorio Emanuele II – Funicolare Centrale, at the centre. As soon as we arrived there, we did the only respectful thing to the authentic pizza Napoletana. We ate it while walking the back streets. My way pizza, through Via Chiaia and window-shopping at Via dei Mille.
When others go for shopping and others to bed, we like going for coffee at Torteria & Co. in Via Gaetano Filangieri 75. At around 8, we met with our partners in Osteria da Antonio Via Agostino Depretis 143, for pasta and seafood risotto along with numerous selfies.
The next morning, we took a very early taxi to the airport. We waved Naples goodbye and promised to come back. Not for business but for dolce vita.