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Things to do in Napoli
When I decided to run the Napoli City Half Marathon, I had very clear in mind what to do, as I lived in the city of the sun for seven years. Like many parts of Italy, in Napoli you have many opportunities to taste great food. But Napoli is much more than that: let’s start from its beauty before its amazing food experience.
The city center
In the city center, Toledo street divides the town in two and it is very famous for its shops. Piazza Dante metro station, in Toledo street, is considered one of the most beautiful metro stations in the world.
Mergellina is the district where the waterfront, with view on the Vesuvium, is. Although you will run the whole lungomare during the Half Marathon, you should experience it in a more relaxed fashion.
Try some street food while enjoying the walk, like the taralli col pepe. Or the pizza al portafoglio, a smaller pizza, folded in 4 and eaten as a snack.
Pizza and food experience
Naples is the city of pizza. The famous margherita was born here in 1889, and named after the Italian queen Margherita di Savoia. The real pizza napoletana with sourdough has high quality ingredients (mozzarella di bufala or cow milk fior di latte mozzarella), basil leaves, extra virgin olive oil and fresh tomato sauce, and its many variants (but never with pineapple on top!).
Some historical pizzerias, like Sorbillo or Di Matteo are very famous and targeted by scores of tourists in the city center. In the area of the start and arrival, district of Fuorigrotta, I recommend the Pizzeria di Napoli and, only few kilometers away, on the other side of the tunnel (that you will run through, km 3 and 18!), in Piedigrotta, 50 Kalò is considered one of the best in town (and therefore, in the world!). Near the train station I strongly recommend Pellone, where I suggest to opt for a classic pizza margherita.
Napoli’s gulf serves the city with high quality fish and seafood. You may want to try the calamarata (rounded pasta with calamari ring sauce), or linguine allo scoglio, o spaghetti alle vongole: all courses where the liaison between pasta and seafood reaches extraordinary results.
A grilled fish is a great compromise between taste and calories, and protein source before or after the race. If you prefer meat, a pasta with ragù napoletano (slow cooked meat sauce, often for many hours) is a great choice.
Wines and desserts
In the southern italian area there are many good wines that deserve a try. Greco di Tufo and Fiano di Avellino are local white wines, and great pairing options for fish foods. But I want to let you know that Italians prefer to drink beer with pizza 😉
At the end of a good meal, there are many alternatives to spoil you: I recommend the babà, a typical dessert in Napoli, made with rum, fruit and whipped cream. After that, a coffee (the espresso in Napoli, served in a very hot cup, is probably the best in Italy). End with limoncello, digestive liquor made with lemons of the Amalfi coast, very typical product of the Neapolitan area!
If you liked this post, read my review of the Napoli City Half Marathon!