Italia in 40: Day 23…Catacombs, Mexican coffee and Cantine del Mare

Today was another super cool day: Naples, wine, coffee, pizza, gelato, limoncello, crazy driving, military people and a hike!

I woke up early and went with my friend to take her daughter to school and then her friend came and picked us up and drove us to downtown Naples.

We drove to the catacombs in Naples and got there about 20 minute before it opened. We got a coffee out of the machines for like 50 cents and it was interesting. I got an espresso and I think they got cappuccinos. We waited around for a little bit and then the tour started. Our guide took us into the catacombs and showed us the upper level first (5th century C.E.) and then the lower level (2nd century C.E.). It was really neat, but there weren’t any bodies like in the Roman catacombs (and Sicilian-so I’ve been told). The guide was really good and she told us all about the NGO that helped excavate this site and she showed us a fresco that was just uncovered 2 years ago! Also, there was a fresco that is thought to be painted by an African artist fleeing persecution in the 5th or 6th century.

I’ve never really been interested in ancient history and I am ashamed to say that I am not well versed in Greek or Roman history…I definitely need to learn more after today! Hearing that they just unearthed something 2 years ago that dates back to the 5th century was mind blowing and makes me wonder what else is out there just waiting to be uncovered!

It was really interesting to see the original resting place of a saint and understand how the catacombs were constructed. One ticket, for 8 Euros (5 for students), gets you into two catacombs and the ticket is good for a year.

After the catacombs, my friend’s friend drove us downtown and we parked in a garage. It was 3.5 Euros an hour to park a small car!

We walked all around downtown and explored. I saw some amazing graffiti! We walked down the central avenue in Naples and then went to a limoncello factory! We got 5 samples each (regular, creme, strawberry, coffee and chocolate)! It was really delicious. My favorite was the creamy lemon flavor-I bought a tiny bottle for 2.5 Euros, which would be enough for two people to have a digestif!

After that, we went right next door and went to an AMAZING pizza place. I had the diavola, which is basically the Italian version of a pepperoni pizza, since they don’t have pepperoni here. The pizza was SO much better than da Michele and only cost 5.50 for water and an entire pizza to myself! In the north of Italy, one slice of pizza cost 3 Euros! It’s insane.

After pizza, we kept walking and ended up at Mexico-a cool and REALLY old fashion coffee place. A macchiato was only 2 Euro and it was the freshest coffee I have ever had! They keep the cups in a hot water bath and they are hotter than the coffee itself. The girl I was with tried to warn me, but the cup was so hot it burned my fingers! Here, the macchiato is basically an espresso with granulated sugar in it. It was so good and so strong! Be warned social justice warriors, it has 1950s Native American themes, so yeah…

I loved it and could have stayed in there for hours taking pictures and recording viedo!

After coffee, we walked to Casa Infante and got a gelato. I finally got a fruit flavor (normally I get chocolate-chip) since I had just had a coffee. I got strawberry (fragola) and it was SO delicious and light!

After gelato, we retrieved the car and drove back to Naples to pick up my friend’s daughter from school. She dropped me off back at her house and went on post to pick up her son. I napped and got ready for the evening ahead.

Around 6, we went to pick up a couple that are friends with my friend and then drove from Aversa to Cantine del Mare for a wine tasting. I’ve been to a wine tasting in Texas, but this was legit. There were 13 people, including 6 couples, and we hiked into their vineyards. I was wearing my Ferragamo shoes that I got as a graduation present and with every step my soul died a little, but the gorgeous view at the top was worth it!  Thankfully my shoes are just dirty and what kind of monster would gripe about Ferragamos getting dirty in an Italian vineyard?!

The owner of the vineyard was super nice and although he look like he stepped out of 1985, he was very handsome! His wife, aunt, dad, and brother helped us tonight too. They have a gorgeous plot of land, I’m so jealous! All the time I’ve been here in Italy I’ve thought that there is no way I could live here, but if I had their life (although it would be hard to be a farmer) I think it would be really fulfilling.

We had cheese, bruschette, meat slices, fritters, pasta and cake. All the while, tasting 7 bottles of wine (sparkling, whites, reds and dessert). It only cost 10 Euro for all of it! I gave a 5 Euro tip and bought a 16.50 bottle of wine! It was amazing! In the north, the food alone would have cost 30-40 Euro and the wine would be 5 Euro a glass!


I liked hanging out with military couples. I grew up in the military (my dad was in the Army for 20+ years), so it’s comforting to hangout with people that I can relate to. It rarely happens, but I love hearing about PCSing, people talking about their travels, deployments, difficulties with schooling their kids, making appointments on post, etc. I can relate and I feel like I can talk to them in a knowledgeable way without feeling dumb or out of place (like I do when talking about basically everything else). I got to talk about human trafficking, Italian politics, the “southern problem”, life in Naples and all kinds of other stuff that thoroughly interested me. All without feeling stupid or embarrassed.

Military women (active duty or spouses) can get wild, but they can also relate to you and connect with you immediately because they are so used to meeting new people. I always connect to civilians too soon and tell them intimate details about my life because I expect them to care and share the same details with me, but tonight I realized it’s because I grew up in the military. The military spouses and active duty personnel are like me-they throw it all out there immediately because they want to connect with the people they meet…probably because we never know when we will ever meet each other again.

It’s jarring to an extent because if you are away from it, you are initially like “wait, why is she/he telling me all this” or “whoa, that was TMI,” but once you analyze the situation you realize they are just reaching out and trying to connect with you on a personal level because they are used to the immediate, and often unplanned, separation that life in the military brings.

I miss being connected the military a lot. I lost my privileges 2 years ago when I turned 23 and I was so scared when it happened. I really feel like once you have the support of the military in your life, especially as a child (and being an only child), it is very hard to give those benefits up. It’s a definitely a privilege (in my opinion) and you don’t realize it until you’re an adult-when it’s too late.

After the winery, we drove back to Aversa, in typical crazy-Neapolitan style and dropped the couple off before going back to my friend’s house.

It was a blast and I got to have an awesome experience and make memories that I’ll never forget!

Tomorrow: DADDY YANKEE! (the blog will be late because the concert doesn’t start until 10 local time)