After five years we have returned to Napoli to celebrate Christmas with my in-laws. Every year is a controversial visit with much expectation, a little tension but always guaranteed fascination on my part for this city is a corner of Europe that is and always will be unique in so many different ways.
Neapolitan reality... religion and washing ...
...hanging out the window wherever you turn!
Naples' historic city centre is the largest in Europe, covering 1,700 hectares and enclosing 27 centuries of history and is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Much of the city's 20th-century periphery was constructed under Benito Mussolini's fascist government, and during reconstruction efforts after World War II.
Sadly Napoli has not escaped the 21st century phenomena of graffiti...
... nor the tourist traps...
.. but it still has its charms hidden in the little alleys.
Everywhere you look you'll find alleys going off into areas you probably don't want to wander into on your own.
Old world charm: Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
Naples' 2,800-year-history has left it with a wealth of historical buildings and monuments, from medieval castles to classical ruins. The most prominent forms of architecture visible in present-day Naples are the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque styles but you need to look for them...
Naples' sports scene is dominated by football club S.S.C. Napoli.
Last minute Christmas shopping along via Toledo.
Castel dell'Ovo: the castle's name comes from a legend about the Roman poet Virgil, who had a reputation in medieval times as a great sorcerer and predictor of the future. In the legend, Virgil put a magical egg into the foundations to support the fortifications. Had this egg been broken, the castle would have been destroyed and a series of disastrous events for Naples would have followed.
It might be falling to pieces but the architecture is still spectacular.
Piazza del Plebiscito is named after the plebiscite taken on October 2, 1860 that brought Naples into the unified Kingdom of Italy under the House of Savoy.
The Vesuvio is ever present
Time to return to Nonna's