Una Notte a Napoli

Camila F. is currently a senior at SYA Italy and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

The pizza! The sfogliatelle! The street markets filled with 2 euro bookstands and 3 euro ceramic
goods! The legacy of mafia bosses and mobsters! The active volcano overdue for a massive
eruption that destroyed cities nearly 2,000 years ago!
Oh, Napoli.
This past weekend we embarked on our first independent weekend of the year to Naples where
we got to spend five days eating some of the greatest cibo in all of Italy, exploring the ancient ruins
of Pompeii, and basking in beautiful views of mountains and sea.
During the day? A bustling yet captivating city with drivers that swerve, honk and drive so
wildly that you might find yourself surprised you made it to your next location in one piece,
authentic outdoor markets with hand-painted ceramics and goods, and the aroma of fresh pizza
and seafood at every corner that quite literally stop you in your tracks.
During the notte however? An alluring spectacle composed of curious tourists and energy-filled
locals alike who come out to indulge in everything the enchanting city has to offer. Our first
night, after a delicious plate of couppo (fried seafood) and Caprese salad, we made our way into
the cobblestone streets clad with Christmas lights that seemed to embellish nearly every nook
and cranny in the city, when we came across a quiet cafe.
The owner called us over, and, although suspicious at first, we went anyway-and thank heavens
we did. He offered us the most iconic Napoli desserts: Babà, a mushroom-shaped sweet bread
dripping in rum, and of course sfogliatella, a pastry constructed of layered paper-thin dough
arranged into a shell-like shape and filled with a delicious cream made with ricotta cheese and
semolina. (Life changing, to say the least.)
Afterward, he proceeded to serenade us with that infamous Neapolitan charisma, and by the end
of the very first night- we had finally gotten a taste (literally) of the famous warmth and charm of
both Napoli and its inhabitants.
That being said, getting there was far from easy, because, as I've recently learned- independent
travel is NOT for the faint of heart. No one warned me about the pure chaos that ensues the week
before where students are scrambling to get their plans in check. Forms, signatures, and emails
flood your every thought and inbox as it dawns on you that planning is not as easy as you
previously thought because every last detail has to fit the criteria for you, your group, and "the
powers that be."
Of course, now that I'm an expert at it, I feel that-in retrospect- it taught me a lot about money,
budgeting, consideration, and compromise particularly in the age of covid that I don’t believe I
would have otherwise learned. But after having gone through it I can tell you it was worth every
drop of sweat and every mile ran to catch the train(s) that it took.
So cin cin to our first trip and all the other magical cities left to explore this year!

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