There’s more to this city than pizza, of course – such as these Neapolitan slices of life (and death).
Find, or give, the gift of coffee
This is a lovely local custom. After drinking their coffee, a patron in a bar will sometimes pay for two. The second – also known as a caffé sospeso, or hanging coffee – is destined for the next poor soul to stop by and ask: “Is there a paid coffee for me?”
Watch an S.S.C. Napoli football match
If football is a religion in Italy, here it’s elevated to the level of a cult, with the entire city grinding to a halt during Napoli’s important matches. The cult’s god is Argentine footballer Diego Armando Maradona, who, in the 1980s, helped earn the club its only two Serie A league titles.
Eat a pastiera
This elaborate sweet tart is the archetypal Neapolitan dolce, as rich and complex as the city itself. Made from soaked wheat, berries, sweetened ricotta, eggs and candied fruit, and perfumed with orange flower water, it’s an acquired taste – but once acquired, it can be a difficult habit to kick.
Visit Cimitero delle Fontanelle
Inside a former tufa quarry in Sanità, the bones and skulls of an estimated 40,000 people, many of them anonymous victims of the city’s plague outbreak in 1656, are neatly stacked. Up until 1969, poor Neapolitans (often women) would sometimes “adopt” skulls at this famous ossuary, visiting and cleaning them, in return for hoped-for little favours.
Discover the miracle of San Gennaro
The city’s patron saint was a third-century bishop and martyr about whom very little is known. What all Neapolitans do know, or hope they do, is that three times a year a glass phial of his solidified blood – conserved in the cathedral – will liquefy. Delay or failure of this process is considered to be a harbinger of dire consequences.