Based on my limited experience, I would say the old parts of cities that were established before we became obsessed with time (my! that was a long time ago!) seem to all have a few things in common.Gates. It's like a front door. You respect the gate to a city like a person's front door. You don't just walk in. You pause. Even today. You realize you aren't on your home turf. You are entering someone else's domain.
Lots of tiny alley like streets - many of them dedicated to one subject - like this one that was book crazy.
Places for people to live - some glitzy - some not so much.
Little tiny shops selling everything from flowers to flours.
Churches - really old ones. Some for sheltering women. Some for cloistering them.
And, always, bell towers poking themselves into the business of trees.
Now, graffiti is a different kind of horse. It is usually absolutely taboo in old towns I have visited. In Rovinj, a person would be hauled before a judge for painting an obscenity on an old building. Here in Naples it seems to be an acceptable part of the scene. Here are some examples of what I saw on our walk.
But this one took the cake . . .
Oh, well . . . to each individual and to each city its own.
We had a great walk through the old part of town. No one hassled us or tried to sell us anything. A gentle drizzle served to keep everything just a little misty and Renoirish. But as happens from time to time, hunger set in.
As we stood at the end of Corso Umberto I, looking at Castel Nuovo, and the construction of a new subway system which would completely transform surface transportation in Naples, I was hard pressed to concentrate on the past or the future. The present growling in my stomach was a huge distraction.
Lucky for me we found Osteria Da Antonio.
Antonio looked at us and knew we needed food. Not something that had to be created from scratch, but something ready right now.
He went to a counter all shrouded in white lace curtains and came back with this:
a delicious assortment of cold seafood and a plate of tomato and mozzarella - all drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with basil. Plus a basket of bread, more olive oil and a bottle of Prosecco.
When it was all gone, he looked at us and knew we needed more - something hot.
He disappeared into the kitchen and returned with a plate of lasagna just out of the oven. Yummy!
The chef was all smiles at our compliments!
And my two favorite men in the world - at least on Monday afternoon - were all smiles, too! I'm so glad they seem to get along.
If you ever find yourself at the end of Corso Umberto I at via Depretis 143 in Naples Italy, you are there! Tell Antonio that Dona sent you. He won't have a clue what you're talking about, but he'll treat you like royalty anyway.
While you're there look up. You'll see the best Italian flag in the city.
A green tea towel, a pair of mens' white underpants, and a lady's red corset. Viva Italia!
And Viva Antonio! Buon appetito!