Just to the right of the entrance to Galleria Umberto, at 214 Via Toledo, is the wonderfully named Cioccolateria Gay Odin where you can buy beautifully presented chocolates for your loved ones at home.
They’ll even let you try a few before choosing what you want for your selection box.
My favourite take home item is the Vesuvio, a small chocolate volcano that comes in its own special box.
They also sell bars in beautiful wrappers.
The company was founded by Isidore Odin who fell in love with his assistant, Onorina Gay.
There have a few other branches around the city including one at 427 Via Toledo (near Piazza Dante) which sells ice cream that’s reputed to be the best in the city. They also have a museum at 12 Via Vetriera.
Another must visit for the sweet of tooth is Pintauro at 275 Via Toledo. In the early 1800s this shop was the first in the city to sell sfogliatelle, a pastry filled with vanilla custard and dusted with icing sugar that has become a symbol of the city. If you’re lucky they’ll still be hot from the oven.
In terms of eating there are heaps of places on the side streets off Via Toledo, a handful of which are okay (please see my post on the Spanish Quarter). However as a general rule of thumb, it’s probably a good idea to avoid anywhere that has a big sign and is easy to find as it’s probably a tourist trap with food that’s below par.
If you’re feeling flush however you could try this place:
Ciro (Advanced A-) 71/73 Via Santa Brigida, (down the side of the Galleria Umberto), www.ciroasantabrigida.it
Ciro won’t be easy on your wallet as it’s very famous, posh and popular and has an extensive seafood menu and wine list. I wasn’t really dressed for the occasion (jeans, trainers) and I got a frosty reception from the maitre d, although my waiter was a nice chap.
I had an amazing Capretto al Forno con Patate (roast lamb with spuds) for a reasonable €14. However I got stung €8 for a grappa here, albeit a riserva.
The moral of the tale is to always ask how much something costs in Naples before accepting suggestions.
At the far end of Via Toledo you will come to Piazza Trieste e Trento and then Piazza Plebiscito, more of which in the next post.