The smell of fried food.
If you were to ask me what I identify Naples with, before the sea, the warmness, the fish, the pizza, the alleys, the poetry, the music, the people screaming from window to window. I would say the smell of fried food.
Naples is my second home, having almost the whole family settled in its towns, yet it still manages to surprise me.
When I was little, every memory associated with the city was related to food, because I always went there for ordered holidays: Christmas (fried cod!), Easter (pastiera!). Or for birthdays, weddings, baptisms and other similar breakups. And there was always plenty of food to feed the army and their families!
Woman starts cooking at dawn, and if you walk around the center early in the morning, you will smell the scent of ragù, meat, cuoppo, which is one of the 7 culinary wonders in the world, a heritage of taste!
My grandmother and my mother spent so many hours in the kitchen that for years I have only seen those from Naples.
Then growing up, with cousins, with friends, or alone – how much I like to go around cities alone, at my pace, at my own pace, without having to give an account to anyone! – I also began to discover the city, with its monuments, the colorful streets, the garbage that for years decorated the streets of the center and the suburbs without shame. The most beautiful subway in Europe, people singing, everywhere, at any time.
You go around under the sun with the built-in soundtrack, in Naples.
Which, at times, I admit it is a challenge for me that the neomelodico abhor it! But city you go, customs you find. And it’s a small price to pay considering how generous this city is, how much it gives you joys and adventures.
A person with whom I pleasantly walked around is my cousin Maryco, who took me to the Fontanelle Cemetery (rightly in April that with the dust that there is the allergy almost kills me and I risk becoming a capuzzella too, maybe it was its purpose?). I visit the Federico II, and lived one day as a fake student on campus, which is truly amazing, but like La Sapienza, super disorganized.
One of my closest friends – whom you know for the recipes on the blog, Anna – is from Casalnuovo di Napoli, and with her I discovered new ways, new smells, and new foods. Because obviously the first 5/6 times I went to visit her I was greeted by a table set that even if I had been a princess!
What then, I eat as much as a bird, so everyone always looks at me very badly here, and that is why lately I have been bringing along friends who instead appreciate portions, abundance, and who meet the Neapolitan criteria of satiety.
With her I went to San Gregorio Armeno, where I saw statuettes of absurd people, to be combined with the sanctity of the crib, because Naples is so sacred and profane. We had a lot of fun wandering around Spaccanapoli, even if unfortunately for her, I always came with a tropical and humid heat to die for, so we had to find refreshment in a really nice and retro place that is now a fixed stop on our trips.
If I had to recommend a season, despite my allergies, I would say to see Naples in late Spring, around May.
One cannot fail to fall in love with the Maschio Angioino (which is a Tower and not a particularly virile man as a friend of mine believed!), Or with the Royal Palace with its huge rooms full of history, of Italy, of us.
If there is one thing you will notice in Naples it is that it is full of colors, for the cloths hanging in the sun, for the drawings on the walls, for the way tourists dress, and sometimes even the natives.
HER MAJESTY PIZZA is what I miss the most. Hot, hot, full of real and succulent mozzarella, served on the sea, a dream!
You can find it a portafoglio, fried, classic, gourmet. She is the true Queen of a city without masters.
It is incredible how free you feel while trotting along the Posillipo seafront, watching the fishermen return with their hands full. Looking into the shop windows of the Rione Sanità, which still resist despite the invasion of shopping centers. Observing the elderly in Chiaia playing cards in the middle of the street, as if there were no cars.
Yet there is a traffic that nothing envies in Rome! The horns are so frequent that after a while you don’t even hear them anymore.
Passing through the Vomero I always have the feeling of going back in time, of living in an elegant and rough era at the same time, while the Vesuvius snorts in the distance and the children play football in the street, as it used to be, in summer and in winter, without fear of heat or rain.
If all this were not enough, I remind you that it is the homeland of Totò, De Filippo, Serena Rossi, Alessandro Preziosi and Sophia Loren.
I must admit that in this period in which travel abroad would be good to avoid them, I want to return not only to find my beloved family that continues to expand as is tradition in the south (in fact at Christmas we no longer enter into a home alone), but to go and have a coffee at Gambrinus and take selfies in Piazza del Plebiscito, to finally see the Veiled Christ, or lie down and read on the sand in Miseno, take a sfogliatella in the Spanish Quarters, start singing too, without shame, without fear.
So, yeah, I really think I’m leaving one of these days!