The Naples of Elena Ferrante

Naples is a frenetic city with an amazing charm.  I found this out the first time I drove in this city and did not speak any Italian. I jumped on the Tangenziale, Naples answer to the Long Island Expressway. Immediately I found I was in a war zone and in over my head. Slowing for an accident someone clipped my mirror and sped off.

As time went on I discovered Naples and it people are amazing.   In a Fratelli Pellone I was invited to make pizza. In the markets we found bargains and amazing foods. Walking the streets we felt comfortable even at night.  My wife and I have been back several times and always enjoyed our visits. Whether it was a musuem visit, or just talking to people we felt at home.

The novels of Elena Ferrante usually take place in the neighborhoods, the quartiere. Those are the streets we walked.  The series of books tells the stories of Elena and Lila from their childhood to adulthood as they progress through the challenges the Neapolitan society and continual changes.

  1. fast and energetic in a rather wild and uncontrolled way

DSCN4641.jpgThe Naples waterfront from a Hotel Paradiso high up on the hillside.DSCN3773.JPGBoats docked in the harbor.DSCN8539.JPGOn the street heading to the market.DSCN8542.JPG
All kinds of seafood.DSCN8543.JPGDefinitely not the A&P.fullsizeoutput_9ff8.jpegMuscels, Cozze. fullsizeoutput_9ff9.jpegThese did not travel 3000 miles.DSCN8553.JPGIt is not the wash, it is ART.


La Galleria Umberto


Evening  at the harbor


At Pizzeria Pellone, they let me make a pizza. You don’t walk in to a pizza parlor in the US and have them invite you to help in the kitchen.  That is what makes Naples great. The people.  We were staying in a hotel in the business area of town. There were no open restarunts near us. I stopped and asked someone for advice on where to go.  He brought me to a small alimentari, grocery store , and asked his boss.  That kind man walked us halfway to the pizza place and made our evening special.

P1030999.JPGIt goes in the oven and with the high heat from the wood fire, 5 minutes is all it takes.P1040004.JPGHere it is ready to eat. This was a tomato pie. P1040003.JPGP1040005.JPGMy wife and I joined the crew.  What a treat. P1040010.JPGPizzeria Pellone, Via Nationale, 93 Napoli.   It is great Pizza.

P1030991.JPGIf you vist Naples, be sure to stop here.

Some times just some photos say a lot.


St Peters


A cat resting in an Amalfi store

DCP00456.jpgCapri, Faraglioni, the rocks that make the viewfullsizeoutput_1055.jpegSeafood vendor in Napolifullsizeoutput_701.jpegFruta in AmalfiCIMG5609.JPGVerona, the opera with the lighting of the candels prior to the performance

CIMG5612.JPGPerformance the the Opera House of VeronaDSCN3969.JPGSome locals having lunch in San Giovane in Fiore ( Calabria)

CIMG0785.jpgCaserta, royal palace gardensfullsizeoutput_4d6.jpegSan Gorgio Maggiore, Vence Island from the bell tower fullsizeoutput_9c40.jpegCheese (formaggio ) at the market in Napoli DSCN8510.JPGSome boats in Messina Sicly

The Doors Of Italy

From Sicily to the lakes. From Venice to Vernazza, the doors of Italy are always interesting. Some ornate, others plain. Run down. Beautiful.  Always they catch my eye. fullsizeoutput_d5d0.jpeg

A door in Verona.


This was the door and an agritourisimo in Apulia.


She was putting out the laundry in Sicily and gave me a wave.


Our Airbnb in Montepulciano.fullsizeoutput_d5d3.jpeg

Harmony BnB in Palermo.  Great place. Free parking and we just walked and walked.fullsizeoutput_d610.jpegJewlery Store in PienzaIMG_0521.JPG

Art Galery in Cortona. Under The Tuscan Sun land.


Thats it for today,  more door in the coming days. The photo avove shows the Cinema Salamandra in Siracusa.  I had been closed, then reopened, and closed again. Could only look through the doors and think what it must have been like.

Erice the villiage in the clouds –

Link to Wikipedia description of Erice

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Three out of the four have canes. Considering this town is hilly to say the least, it makes for some intteresting walking.


The fog tolls in to Erice, high above the sea below, it is like being in San Fransisco.


The bell tower high in the clouds in the previous photo. now the sun is shining on it. I was treated to a rousing bell ringing that was very loud when next to the bells.


The coblestone streets of Ericie.  Notice the car in the background trying to make its way through the crowd.

© Greg Speck 2016

Free Again, access unliminted travel videos. Get free travel maps.

Google and YouTube are my greatest allies in finding incredibly good videos for travel.

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On Youtube search for Rick Steves travel videos.  Over 100 are there.

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Many video Vlogs are also found. Some are excellent, so well not so good. It is worth the effort to search. I found many of markets in Rome had videos of excellent qualtiy which I enjoyed with my wife.

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You can see soe of the variety of the Vlogs.

It is always good to get a planning map. You can get some great city are country maps for free by going to Frommers web site.  The link below will take you to a list of all of their maps.

They ahave published some great guide books. Most are also available in the kindle format. I encourage you to take a look at their web site.

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This map is available in the Frommers Rome and Italy guide books.

Italian TV on the web. FREE

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It is possible to view many  of the Italian TV shows for free. Although RAI blocks direct views on most channels, you can get an amazing number on line from the following web site:

FreeIntgerTV dot com is easy to use.  INTERNET TV 3.jpg

Go to the web site and  choose the types of shows you would like to search for. It can mover many countries, not just italy.


I had no problems using the web site, and it is free.

ONE OTHER ITEM.  Fine Living is the international equivalent of HGTV House Hunters Internatikonal. You can find many episodes on YouTube. Search for Fine Living.





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Enjoy, RAI and many other channels on the web.  What a great way to learn Italian and view some great shows.

Deruta Home of the Beautiful Ceramics

fullsizeoutput_157c.jpegGrazzia is one best places to purchase high quality ceramics in Druta. We arrived during lunch and the owner took us on a tour of the factory. fullsizeoutput_f4c.jpegThe outside is a virtual musuem. It continues on the inside. DSC_0754.JPGDSC_0756.JPGThis is an amazing place. Each item is painted by hand.fullsizeoutput_1001.jpegThe design is painted by hand. fullsizeoutput_604.jpegEach item is unique.

fullsizeoutput_9f4d.jpegThe bottom of each creation tells that it come drom Deruta and is painted by hand.

DSC_0765.JPGHappy day, we made our purchase and had it shipped back to the USA.

Secolo means century in Italian.

fullsizeoutput_10b5.jpegThis is our order and purchasing documents. It all arrived home safely.

Navigating on your trip to Italty


Getting from one place to another in a foreign country, and even here in the USA can be a challenge.  On our first trips we had THE MAP OF ITALY. It was a big as a kitchen table, and once unfolded, it never returned to the same size nor appearance.

I thought I had the answer when I purchased a TomTom GPS and it had all of western Europe on a built in hard drive.  As we pulled out of the airport in Roma, I turned it on ready to set my destination and all I got was a satellite view of the world.  It took a week before I found that I needed to go to settings and change the map.  Those days are long gone and dedicated GPS or the APS for your phone are much easier to use.

I like the advance planning ability to set up a route before you leave for a trip. fullsizeoutput_d368.jpeg

Above are the screen shots from the TomTom western Europe  APP.  It shows the instructions as well as a map of the entire route. This come in handy, as on occasion turns come quickly and can be a sharp right or left. fullsizeoutput_bcb4.jpeg

On the way to Cortona ( Under the Tuscan Sun) we came upon a bunch of switchbacks. This is common with the hills in Italy.   But when you get there it is always worth the trip.



Bella Italia!!!


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