This was probably the most unexpected trip to Italy of all that has happened before. I left home almost for yogurt, and a day later I already jumped to the ground of Campania from the bandwagon of an evening Roman train. I arrived in the city with two goals: to pick up the long-awaited documents and take a sightseeing tour of Naples with a guide about whom I had heard so much.
In Naples I used to be only 2 times, one of which was passage. During the first visit, the city left very conflicting feelings. The Amalfi coast with its small, unusually picturesque towns, as well as the islands of Capri and Ischia, seemed much more attractive then.
This time, having arrived in Naples on business, I decided at the same time to try to correct the first impression: I contacted Lela, a familiar guide to Rome, and asked her to give me the contact of Valentina, the Russian-speaking guide conducting excursions in Naplesthat she told me a lot about before.
Excursions in Naples: a stumbling block
Getting from Rome to Naples, if you know how, is simple. In detail, BlogoItaliano once described these methods here. Another thing is that in Naples tourists do not linger.
Further, the main stream of travelers is divided into three parts - one goes to Pompeii, the other - on the Amalfi coast, the third - go to the islands near Naples. And here the main problems begin.
In high season, the demand for excursions in Naples grows significantly
Car rental in Italy is often still a curiosity for "ours", and most of the local excursions offered by agencies are designed for English-speaking tourists. And if in Rome - thanks to the huge and year-round stream of travelers - the Russian-speaking tourist infrastructure is relatively well developed, then in Naples it’s much more difficult to find a sensible guide “for ours”.
I have repeatedly heard about the dishonest attitude of guides to travelers in Naples. There were times when the guide simply did not come to the meeting without explanation, and tourists who made a march to Naples were forced to entertain themselves until the evening train back to Rome.
There are many such stories on the Internet. And that is why, choosing a guide, I was guided by the recommendation. We have already met Lela in Rome several times, and I believed that her friend, whom she spoke so well of, would definitely not fail.
Plebiscite Square, Monument to King of Naples Ferdinand I
Naples Guide Valentine
We met Valentina on the day of arrival. She went to the hotel to follow me on a tour of Naples at night. They say that an opinion about a person is formed in the first seconds of communication, and already from the warm welcome handshake I was sure that we would get along.
An interesting interlocutor, she immediately took the initiative in her hands, telling us what awaits us this evening. An experienced guide, Valentina began many years ago with tours of Moscow, then moved to Spain and finally settled in Naples, continuing to do what she loved.
Church of St. Ferdinand in Naples
Trying not to be distracted from the tour, I still found myself thinking that I was constantly surprised at the work of the guide. It would seem that during the season she sees a lot of people, leads them, by and large, the same routes, tells the same stories, but at the same time manages to look as if she is experiencing all this for the first time.
On the square of the Municipality, I can’t stand it and ask the question in the forehead: “How do you manage to tell so fascinatingly?”
Valentina smiles: “It all depends on the travelers themselves. There are people who want to show more. Others, on the contrary, behave defiantly, and you try to invest in the necessary minimum. In general, the history of Naples is extremely eventful and you won’t be able to tell everything in a few hours. The main thing is that a person has a positive, bright and warm memory of the city. "
The Palazzo Reale was the main residence of the Neapolitan and Sicilian monarchs
- My first opinion about Naples was so-so, - I can not resist.
“Naples is generally an amazing city,” Valentina continues. - In his spirit, he is different from Rome or Venice. The main thing in Naples is people, and the surrounding buildings are just decorations for the scene of urban life. You will either fall in love with Naples and return here again and again, or cross it off from your routes forever.
Naples Tour It turned out saturated. The Anjou fortress and fountain of Neptune, the monument to Victor Emmanuel II and the Royal Palace, the church of Santa Maria la Nuova and the San Carlo Theater are just a small part of our route. And all this with an admixture of magnificent views of the Gulf of Naples and Mount Vesuvius. I saw something from our route on my first trip, but through the prism of Valentina’s story about related stories, familiar places appeared in a new light.
Karl of Anjou Castle was built in just three years - from 1279 to 1282.
We parted with Valentina late, long after sunset wandering through the lighted streets and listening to her stories about Naples, tourists and the stars of old Italian cinema. I want to believe that I will soon return to Naples to listen to all these stories.
Certainly, in her phrase that Naples is primarily people, it makes sense. At least it was with such thoughts that I fell asleep on the night before returning to Rome.
Naples leaves a strange aftertaste. Being less susceptible to globalization than Rome or Milan, it is much easier. I would even say more Italian than other parts of Italy. Like Limoncello, which I bought at the train station, waiting for the return train, is light, light and without any complaints. However, as the Neapolitans themselves.
How to contact Valentina and book an excursion
Valentina lives in Campania permanently, and her excursions in Naples are of great interest to travelers. According to the guide, most tourists find her in the same way as I managed - through friends.
But contact Valentina and find out more about her excursions in Naples can be done differently by writing to e-mail email protected or through the feedback form below. By the way, she conducts excursions not only in Naples, but also throughout the Campania region, including Pompeii, Vesuvius, Capri and the Amalfi coast.
If you plan to visit Naples from April to October, then contact Valentina is better in advance. During the high season, many days of excursions can be booked even several months in advance.
In my subjective opinion, one day should be enough for Naples, another thing is the surroundings, where there will be enough impressions for a whole vacation
Mail for Valentina:
Photos by: Robert Pittman, Harvey Barrison, David Gordillo, Hi i'm Santi.