I started a new series last week that highlights books about or set in various parts of Southern Italy. We kicked it off with Campania and today my friend, and newest addition to the My Bella Vita Travel team, Laura Thayer, is here to give us her take on one of those books. Benvenuta, Laura!
Every city has secrets to discover, hidden spots to treasure and a wealth of history to uncover, and perhaps none more so than Naples, Italy. In her book The Espresso Break: Tours and Nooks of Naples, Italy and Beyond, Barbara Zaragoza has gathered and expanded work from her popular Naples-based blog The Espresso Break into an excellent and very useful guidebook. Zaragoza’s unique approach combines an in depth and very accessible historic focus with the intricacies of the Neapolitan culture and, above all, a deep love of bella Napoli.
Follow Zaragoza on a tour of Naples’ castles, the Phlegraean Fields where few tourists wander, ancient Greek and Roman ruins in and around Naples, urban spelunking in the fascinating underground city below Naples and to a great selection of nooks you won’t want to miss during your travels in Naples.
Of course a book with such a catchy title wouldn’t be complete without an Espresso Tour through the city regularly noted as the home of the best coffee in Italy. This is your guide to how to order, discovering different types of espresso drinks to try and the best places in Naples to find them. You’ll even find a few recipes and tips for recreating Neapolitan coffee drinks at home. I love how Zaragoza dove into the caffè culture in Naples and brought it to life with stories, history and even a Neapolitan song. You’ll be ready to order a caffè like a Neapolitan after reading the Espresso Tour!
One of the most unique features in The Espresso Break is the Odious Women Tour, a fascinating look at the famous—and not so well-known—women who have shaped the city. An odious woman as defined by Zaragoza is, “A female whose beliefs, words, or actions were unusual, or even considered objectionable, during her time.” From Parthenope, the mythical siren at the origins of Naples, to saints, to queens, ladies, artists and the lovely Sophia Loren, Zaragoza takes readers on a tour through the history and sites of Naples through its most famous women.
Naturally, most guidebooks are written for travelers. Makes sense, right? As an expat myself, I appreciate how Zaragoza’s book goes deeper and provides information that you won’t find in other Naples and Campania guidebooks. It’s the perfect inspiration for expats living in or around Naples—or even other parts of Italy—to discover the Naples that Zaragoza fell in love with while living there with her family. I treasure her firsthand experiences, the unique and often overlooked spots and the history she’s gathered in The Espresso Break. Yet, it’s a book that will also bring a level of depth and understanding for travelers only in Naples or Campania for a short holiday or day trips who still want to experience the authentic Naples.
If you’re traveling to Naples, do also visit Barbara Zaragoza’s new website Naples Napoli Guide for more information, travel tips and more of her insightful writing on Naples and Campania. Delve into the mysteries and fall in love with the charms of Naples with Barbara Zaragoza’s The Espresso Break.
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