Since 1882… Guy de Maupassant, Oscar Wilde, Enrico Caruso, the Aga Khan, Pablo Picasso, Rita Hayworth, Grace Kelly and Rainier III Prince of Monaco, the Princess Margaret, Francois Mitterrand, Bill Clinton, the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I°, Claudio Abbado, Luciano Pavarotti, Sting, Claudia Schiffer, Woody Allen, Sophia Loren, Giorgio Armani, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Anjelica Huston, José Carreras, Roberto Benigni, Neil Young, Anastacia, Keith Jarrett, Lou Reed, Bill Murray, Bruce Springsteen, Roberto Bolle, Ranya of Jordan, Adrien Brody, Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts and many others celebrities made the Grand Hotel Vesuvio their Neapolitan home.
This is why after my short stay in Rome for a wedding of dear friends, I have decided to visit Naples after 5 long years , see my local friends and obviously add my name to the important list of guests .
This legendary hotel whose breathtaking views overlooking the wonderful Bay of Naples and the 1st Century BC Ovo Castle have been responsible for the coining of the phrase “See Naples and die ” during the reign of the Bourbons of Naples which at that time it was considered by historians the city’s Golden Age.
And in my opinion , like of the many stars mentioned above, nothing better than experiencing a pint of this ” Golden Age ” at the majestic Grand Hotel Vesuvio strategically located at the city’s elegant seafront boulevard .
We arrive on a taxi whose driver tells my husband he is the most charming American man he has ever met and explains in detail how it’s important to tip taxi drivers a coffee. We also realize that the beautiful Hotel is only a few steps from Plebiscito Square, the Royal Palace, the San Carlo Theatre and the city’s most elegant shopping district.
While we wait for our suite Barbara Mancini the Hotel director of sales suggests we step up for a typical neapolitan breakfast at one of Naples most acclaimed restaurants, Caruso Roof Garden, named after the famous tenor who lived at the Vesuvio and was a passionate cook, provides a supremely elegant dining venue where to savor excellent Mediterranean cuisine and any of extensive selection of prestigious wines. The restaurant entirely opens out to a panoramic terrace for an unforgettable al fresco dining .
The pictures in the gallery above are a clear showcase of the most delicious cakes, pastries, jams , breads and you name it. To name just a few and stimulate your appetite , Pastiera generally prepared during Easter, Struffoli for Christmas, Zeppole for San Giuseppe, sfogliatelle and babà at any time. Here you can find them all together for breakfast every morning nicely displayed until 1030.
Our suite is ready when we are. Walking around white walls adorned with Italian works of art such as Mimmo Jodice, Mimmo Paladino, Fabrizio Ferri, Lello Esposito and Paul Thorel we head down to the 8th floor. To my surprise on opening the door , a small balcony with a curtain in the centerpiece of the room. Tt’s also called the Caruso Top Class Suite Main Bedroom and believe it or not we are facing the magnificent Castel D’Ovo surrounded by a beautiful array of all kind of small sailing boats, in the middle the traditional and historical fish restaurant La Bersagliera where we have a reservation for lunch at 2.
I feel I have lived here forever. After lunch we will walk on the lungomare maybe for one hour or so until we will reach ” Ciro ” my favorite place on earth for ice-creams . My favorite is “Nocciatella” a mix between nocciola ( hazelnuts ) and delicious nutella spread.
Almost sunset, I want to enjoy it laying down in bed with the window open. The temperature is just perfect and after that will attempt to burn the many calories at the spa a perfect venue to relax after a a busy Neapolitan gourmet day : wellness facilities, jacuzzi, sauna, steam bath, indoor pool and a selection of tailored body treatments are my plan.
In the evening, my closet friends have promised to surprise me with a special pizza . Oh Gosh so much for just one day……..