Vendor City Guide: Naples

Sergio Gatto, 61, was a dog trainer for many years. When he had to close his business he moved to London, working in the catering sector. Now back in Italy, he sells Scarp de’ tenis and also works on the editorial board of the magazine.

My favourite place

Plaza Leon is a café which is situated in Piazza Giovanni Leone, nearby Porta Capuana, one of the ancient entry routes into the city. I enjoy going there to have a good coffee, sitting comfortably to talk to the young barista who, together with my coffee, lets me eat delicious croissants filled with pistachio cream. From this privileged place I can observe the square where there used to be the market and a palace (the old seat of the magistrate’s court), which is now in the process of being restored.

Best things to eat

In Naples you can have excellent coffee, exquisite pizza, eat pasta with delicious ragu, but not everyone knows the casiatello and pastiera, popular pastries or cakes that you eat during the Easter period. And then there are also the lemon cakes, a typical specialty of Sorrento.

Scarp de' tenis vendor Sergio Gatto. [Courtesy of Scarp de' tenis]

Where every tourist has to go

A tourist coming to Naples absolutely has to visit the Castel Sant’Elmo. It rises above the city and from there you can admire the Lungomare [the seafront promenade]; you can see architectural and artistic works that made the history of the city and the Neapolitans.

Don’t miss

Something you wouldn’t want to miss out on is the underground tour of Naples. You can go down and visit the aqueduct and the Greek-Roman theatre, the catacombs of the first Christians and the remains of air raid shelters from the Second World War.

When to visit the city

You can visit Naples anytime during the year. In winter the weather is not very cold, and in summer even if it’s hot there’s always some nice wind coming from the sea. And everyone knows how hospitable and welcoming people from Naples are.

Translated to English by Veronica Rossani

Originally published in The Big Issue (UK)

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