Naples and Milan – two cities, two sides of Italy
Naples and Milan connected by Autostrada del Sole. This one sentence expresses more than you can imagine. It is difficult to find two more diversified cities in Italy. The well-known “la dolce vita” image takes on a completely different meaning, when we talk about Milan.
The most famous for:
The most interesting architecture styles:
Roman art, Renaissance and Baroque.
A breakthrough moment in history:
XIX century - the city becomes the capital of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
Famous historical monuments:
Castel Sant’Elmo, Gesù Nuovo church, Castel dell’Ovo.
One definitely needs to see:
see the Basilica of San Francesco di Paola.
from pizza, through ragù to spaghetti con le vongole (with seafood).
A place for a walk:
Parco di Capodimonte.
Off the beaten track:
Totò, Diego Maradona.
Love it or hate it?
When looking at Italians, you can say that they have perfected the ability to enjoy simple life, and even went one step beyond. This is especially visible in the south of Italy, namely in Naples. On the one hand, speeding cars, neighbours whose loud conversations you can hear in an apartment located across the street, lack of well-organized tourist facilities and public
transportation that leaves much to be desired may scare off potential tourists. On the other hand, the city can enamour you with its idyllic atmosphere, narrow streets and old tenement houses. Naples can be either loved or hated; but it always evokes extreme emotions.
Fashion and sport
In turn, a tourist may feel slightly disappointed when visiting Milan, as the city lacks the typical Italian atmosphere It houses the Italian Stock Exchange, numerous corporations, banks, telecommunications companies as well as football clubs – Inter Milan and A.C. Milan. It is a city where you live fast. The principle “time is money” can be seen everywhere. Famous for fashion and sports, as well its importance to the business and economy of Italy,
Milan reveals its character only to determined tourists. It is an ideal place to discover on foot. However, if you are planning to go a little bit further, it is a good idea to get on a tram, bus or underground. The city has one of the best communication systems in Italy, with public transport offering various types of time tickets or city cards.
A little bit of history…
Naples was founded in the 9th century BC on island under the name Partenope. Later on, a Greek colony, Neapolis, was established. Milan was built a little bit later, i.e. around the 4th century BC. Both cities, at different stages of their history, were under German, French or Spanish rule. In 1860, Naples joined the Kingdom of Italy.
Whereas, at the beginning of the 18th and 19th century, Milan was under the Austrian rule, whose influence is still visible not only in architecture, but also cuisine or Milan dialect. In 1861, the city was incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy, and thus became an important economic centre of the country.
A castle and a magical egg
It is best to start a sightseeing tour of Naples from the historic part of the city. It is worth strolling along the Via Toledo, which is filled with life until late hours, or visiting Museo Archeologico Nazionale, with the most valuable findings from Pompeii and Herculaneum. The city’s landmark is the Castel Nuovo, which houses Museo Civico di Castel Nuovo. Other monument that you should check out is Castel dell’Ovo, commonly referred to as Egg Castle,
located on a small Island connected with Naples by a several metre-long levee. According to the legend, the castle’s name comes from poet Virgil, who possessed a magical egg. After his death, the egg was placed in the castle foundations to support the fortifications. From the castle, you can enjoy the panorama of the city. It is also the favourite place of newlyweds, who take wedding pictures there.
An underground city
If you are in Naples, you should also go underground, where a whole other city can be found. At first, it was a place that provided building material used for expanding Naples. Later, it was equipped with underground aqueducts and water reservoirs, whereas during the Second World War, its tunnels protected the inhabitants of Naples against air raids. Naples can also make your skin crawl, especially if you visit the Rione Sanita district, where the Fontanelle cemetery is located. The graveyard was carved in a rock, and on its shelves there were placed polished skulls of the dead.
Another attraction may be a trip to the catacombs of San Gennaro and San Gaudioso. The catacombs of San Gennaro were created around the 2nd century BC. Initially, pagans were buried there, and only later was the place taken over by Christians. When planning a trip to Naples, it is also a good idea to see Mount Vesuvius and the cities destroyed during its eruption, i.e. Pompeii or Herculaneum. You should visit both, as each of them has been preserved to a different extent.
Not only a cathedral
You should start discovering this city immediately after your arrival. Milano Centrale, the main railway station, is a massive building created in the first half of the 20th century. The most important monument is Milan Cathedral, the socalled Duomo, which is located at Piazza Duomo in the very centre of the city. It is the most popular tourist site. However, you should not feel discouraged from visiting it, otherwise you will not see one of the greatest churches in the world,
which had been built for six hundred years. History lovers will be delighted with Sforza Castle adjacent to vast Parco Sempione. It was built in the first half of the 15th century by Francesco I Sforza. Another place worth visiting is the Pinacoteca di Brera, where you can see the works of Canaletto, Caravaggio and Rafael, or the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Leonardo da Vinci, where you can find, among others, machines invented by this Italian genius.
Palace or shopping mall?
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II may be considered one of the landmarks of Milan. It is said that it is the most beautiful shopping mall in the world. When strolling along it, you can admire the neo-Renaissance houses, which are currently occupied by the boutiques of wellknown designers, restaurants, cafes, bookshops and shops. You should also look up at the glass dome roof, or go to the first floor, where statues of such famous Italians as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci or Galileo are exhibited.
In turn, the floor features tiles portraying the coat of arms of the four biggest Italian cities: the she-wolf symbolizes Rome, the lily is Florence, a cross on a white field is the coat of arms of Milan, and the bull is Turin. In the mall, you can find boutiques of the world’s most expensive brands such as Armani, Dior and Louis Vuitton. Sport enthusiasts can visit the San Siro stadium and the modern AC Milan’s headquarters – Casa Milan.The shoe-shaped building houses a club museum and its official shop.
Pizza and later dessert
Naples is famous not only for its monuments, but also excellent Italian cuisine. It is impossible to list all the places worth visiting, but you should check out Antica Pizzeria da Michele, Trattoria da Nennella, Trattoria da Concetta, Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo, Enotrattoria Casetta Rossa or Pescheria Azzurra. All these places offer typical Italian dishes, among which pizza reigns supreme. In addition to the traditional Italian pizza, you must try fried pizza called fritta.
Be also sure to have a teste of spaghetti con ragu (spaghetti with meat sauce), also known as a “Sunday” dish that requires several hours of preparation, or seafood. Your meal should be topped off with a dessert. The most well-known desserts include sfogliatella (shortcrust pastry with ricotta), babà (rum-soaked muffin) and biscotti all’amarena (biscuits with cherry filling).
Time for aperitif
Milanese cuisine is slightly different from the Neapolitan one. The classical dishes include risotto with saffron, parmesan and white wine. Inhabitants of Milan also eat veal(e.g. cotoletta alla milanese or ossobuco), tripe (trippa) and various kinds of soups, boiled or stewed. You should also try local cheeses, gorgonzola and mascarpone, as well as yellow breads prepared on the basis of corn flour. If you want to wine and dine at restaurants and bars,
it is a good idea to visit them in the evening, between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., when you can taste various snacks served on tables. It is the Milanese aperitif time, that has become an indispensable element of the city’s lifestyle. Interesting places include Obica Duomo, Magolf’s pizzeria and Ciu’s Bar. If you crave for a delicious Italian dessert, you should go to Cioccolati Italiani in Milan.
Autostrada del Sole
is the longest highway in Italy, connecting Naples and Milan. It was opened in 1964, and since that time has been one of the longest and most-used highways in Italy, providing drivers and their passengers with an extraordinary experience while traveling. When it comes to construction and beautiful views, its most interesting part is the Tuscan Apennines crossing section between Bologna and Florence, which is known for numerous tunnels, flyovers and turns.
From the airport to the center you can get a bus, taxi or Alibus. By bus the travel time is about 11 minutes and costs up to 1,35 euro, a taxi is 5 minutes, and the cost is 11-15 euro, while Alibus is 19 minutes for 1-5 euro.