Football and cities: Naples

Football and cities

Let’s start from the beginning. Probably not the city where it all began. But still.

Football and cities: Napoli. Consider this: my good friend M. from A. – city of Africa – first traveled to Naples. Before Rome, before New York, before Calcutta and Shangai. Actually before everything else. It was the first time of his life outside his own country. And it was Naples. Napoli. Napl. Napule. Neapel. So on. An act of devotion to the Curva A  (even though I think it has been for him as disappointing as meeting your idol in person. M. would never tell that, but I can: such a boring a**ehole.)

Football and cities.Giovanni Ambrosio blog.
Naples Panorama from Corso Vittorio Emanuele. © Giovanni Ambrosio A travel guide for football lovers.


Yeah, sure, no doubt. It’s no longer the veiled and mysterious city of the lost golden age (ask to Neapolitans about their golden age).

There are endless lists of the 300 monuments in Naples you must visit before you die, of the 135 best restaurants in Naples, of the 1500 easiest parking lots in the city center, of the best one billion of bars to taste the real Neapolitan espresso, of the only stadium where Diego Armando Maradona played, of the best guides to buy your guide to Naples and Amalfi coast, of the last 450 names seriously believed to be the masked singer Liberato . But still.

This is a city in which football passion is literally engraved on its walls. You can read Naples as an enormous canvas in which the history of local ultras mouvement is written. And then you can walk and search for churches, historical buildings, artworks of any type. This is a city full of promises. And of monuments to the first, the second and the so desired third Scudetto (at the moment the refractory period seems to be at its best, but let’s not write about that).

Football and cities. Giovanni Ambrosio blog.
Napoli, Cavone. © Giovanni Ambrosio A travel guide for football lovers.


Wake up early in the morning and go to sleep very late if you want to have a serious introduction to Naples.

Do you want to see something away from beaten paths? Start your trip in the morning from the Centro Direzionale and then walk down Via Ferrara until the Stazione Centrale. There’s a stunning market in which new and old Neapolitans share the tiny spaces between fruits and vegetables, ultras graffiti, lingerie and other kind of useful and useless stuff you can always buy in a Naples market. After that, you are free to loose yourself in the historical center. But do it walking down the Rettifilo. You can’t miss it, it drives you from the station to Università Federico II. It’s crowded, loud and full of life. Students from the hinterland love and hate it with the same strength.

Football and cities.Giovanni Ambrosio blog.
Naples, Centro Direzionale © Giovanni Ambrosio


Then, in case you desire to make a grand écart – as our French friends (aahahha that’s a good one) would loooove to say – you should walk straight to Chiaia. Quite easy to find, it’s Naples plastic surgery district. Just stand somewhere and you will appreciate how reverse cosmetic thrust makes young girls look like old and old ladies look like still old, but lifted by the eternal youth dream. You should find by yourself a must to visit – for local intellectual middle class members at least – wine bar (sort of, old style, no natural wines): on one side the into fifties males wearing long scarves and cool left wing guys looking like, on the other side blonde elegant professional fortunate wives from the pre-feminist age. The most impressive thing is that there’s a tv screen: it’s always broadcasting Serie A highlights.

Where to eat: There would be a lot of places absolutely far away from beaten paths. But I do not want to eat in any of those seated near a tourist. So, shop at the market and cook home. Something also you have to experience: a coffee at Bar Mexico, Central Station.

Find it by yourself: you already know it. It’s totally big deal: pizza. Everybody has its favorite contemporary or old fashioned pizzeria, great service, great dough, great tomatoes, great price, great oven, great fire, great guests, great everything, even sometimes great pizza. Ask to local people.

Something really local: there’s a stupid thing you should avoid in Naples: not to drink a coffee after your dinner. Very late in the night, go to the Chalet Ciro in Margellina and try to find your space at the counter. Coffee is actually pretty bad, but the show around is great.

Contemporary art: One of most beautiful galleries you have ever seen in your life should be Thomas Dane Gallery. It hosted a show by Glenn Ligon with a piece that every serious football art lover should see: Siete Ospiti.

Giovanni Ambrosio