Naples is not for the weak of heart or those unwilling to be adventurous! It is raucous, dirty, vivacious, exuberant, fast, furious and fabulous. I love it! I think it is one of those places that will draw extreme opinions…love or hate. Nothing in between!
One of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, maybe they have it all figured out. It is not like the larger Northern cities in Italy, Rome and Milan, and not like any place on earth as far as I can tell! Naples historic center is listed on UNESCO’s world heritage sites. In World War II, Naples was the most bombed Italian city. In the 20th century, much of the periphery was constructed under the Fascist government of Mussolini. Today, Naples has developed a large business district, a high speed train network to Rome, and a subway system, that when completed is planned to cover most of the region.Since Naples is in the South of Italy, I couldn’t help drawing many comparisons with the South of the US where I am from. Fried foods, beautiful produce,the friendliness of the people, going barefoot in the streets, the heat, spicy foods, and speaking with a distinct “accent” all seemed in line. We stayed near the train station, and as in most cities in the area near the train station, it was “colorful”. I remember the first time I went to Naples in 2006 on a tour. The tour director was very adamant that we not wear any jewelry while there in order to eliminate the risk of theft. It is true that Rolex watches are the prime targets for armed robbery in Naples, so if you have one, don’t wear it. Every Italian will tell you that Naples has the most crime of any Italian city. Putting that in perspective it is low to moderate compared to most US cities, according to the US Department of State. www.osac.gov. Yet, as I perused the travel sites, it is all that Americans talk about! Interesting! Naples is the birthplace of the Camorra, a mafia type organized criminal ring that dates back to the 16th century. As a tourist, this is not something you should be concerned with anymore than you are concerned with it in the states, where they also operate. We did manage to catch a glimpse of The Godfather at a little place where we stopped for a beer. He had the owner bring out all of the receipts and book keeping and did his own accounting. Check out the ring!
While in Naples, we visited the Archeological Museum, a must before you go to Pompeii, and walked the streets with Rick Steve’s walking tour to read and see the other sites. On this trip, we never made it down to the sea, which I am sorry about, but that will have to wait for next time.The photos of the city speak best for themselves. I personally can’t wait to go back!
Well, 30 days past pretty quickly and now it’s time for the second step of the limoncello making process. (See Step 1 here).
First, you have to make simple syrup using a liter of water and 750 grams of sugar. This is pretty easy. Just put the sugar in warm water and heat. Do not boil. Stir until it is dissolved and then let it cool completely.
Pull your jar of limoncello from its dark hiding place and unseal it. Pour the cooled syrup and the rest of the alcohol (300 ml) into the jar with the peels and alcohol that has been sitting. Notice the beautiful yellow color.
Reseal and cover in foil, and put back into the dark hiding place for 40 more days! I can’t wait!
I remember the first time I drank Limoncello. It was on my first trip to Rome and we had just arrived that day. We had a celebratory dinner in one of the “glass house restaurants” on the via Veneto. After the meal, the waiter offered it to us free of charge. I think that is when I fell in love with Italy!
I’ve decided to try and make Limoncello! I searched many recipes and finally decided on one that says it is authentic from Sorrento. I laughed when I looked at recipes in English versus recipes in Italian. They were different in the exact ways you would expect. The English ones had more sugar and waiting times of about 2 weeks. The Italian ones have less sugar and waiting times of about 2 months. I went with the Italian one, even though it means buying limoncello off the shelf through most of the summer. Here is the recipe.
10-12 Sorrento Lemons
1 Liter of 95 proof alcohol
700 grams of sugar
1 liter of water
For the first step. Wash the lemons well and peel with a vegetable peeler, taking care not to get into the white part of the lemons. The peel is the only part of the lemon you will use for the limoncello. I use a lot of lemon juice so I decided to juice the lemons before I started to peel them. This might make peeling more difficult but at least I didn’t waste the rest of the lemon! I put the juice in an ice tray and froze for later use.
Put the peel in a glass container (large enough to hold more than 2 liters of liquid plus the peel) and cover with 700 cl of the alcohol. Keep the top on the jar or make a tight seal with plastic wrap. Cover the jar with aluminum foil and put in a dark dry place for 30 days.
Second step. After the thirty days is up. Heat the sugar and water together until dissolved. Do not boil. Let the syrup cool. Add the cooled syrup and the rest of the 1 liter of alcohol 300 cl. Cover with the aluminum foil again, and hide it away for another 40 days. At the end of this time, Drain the liquid from the peels, put into bottles, store in the freezer and serve it after a meal for a delicious, refreshing finish!