One of South-Florida’s most elegant towns lay on the coastline of the Mexican Bay, 120 miles from Miami on the western edge of the Everglades National Park. The word “elegant” is not a coincidence, as this is one of America’s richest towns. The average salary per person is over 17 million HUF/year (we mean its dollar equivalent), so it’s clear why the most millionaires of Florida, and probably the whole USA can be found here.
Naples’ history reaches back to the 1870’s, when the press started to run articles about the region’s excellent climate and bountiful fish stock, with which this area laced with bays irrevocably gained interest. One article described the area as something outreaching the Italian Bay of Naples. That’s how the settlement founded in 1886 received its name, Naples. From 1927 Naples started an apace development, thanks to the first railway connection, and one year after it got direct connection with Miami and Tampa on public road. Naples, which counted only 390 residents in 1930, preserved its exclusivity as in 2016 it only had a bit over 20000 residents. It may be because of the conscious luxury investments started after World War II in Naples.
Naples’ peculiarity is the abundance of Venetian-like canals and bays, part of which is artificial though, but the estate investors started to see potential in the area quite early, and dreamed really special waterside quarters throughout the town. Port Royal, Aqualane Shores, Royal Harbor and many more luxury waterfront areas, where we cannot really find an estate under 2-3 million dollars. Of course, there’s a possibility to anchor with boat in front of any house, and everyone does so. That shows that most probably there are more motorboats and yachts registered in Naples, than cars.
We’ve spent two nights in Naples in the wonderful La Playa Beach & Golf Resort, which is among not only the town’s, but whole South-Florida’s best luxury resorts. The 4-star hotel offers more like a 5-star attendance and service. In the unusually cold January (which means 13-15 degrees in Naples) we couldn’t really enjoy its wonderful, white sandy beach, but we did enjoy the 4 pools heated to a perfect temperature 365 days a year. From the Baleen restaurant of the resort there’s an excellent view over the sunset, which in Naples – similarly to Key West – is particularly beautiful. The hotel’s services can’t miss one of Naples’ most important touristic appeals, golf. Naples is often called the capitol of golf, as there are dozens of golf courses and clubs in the area, most of them are masterpieces of famous course designers. Several prestigious contests are held in these courses, but they’re also open to anyone who would like to try this great sport.
Naples is not only about millionaires and golf. More than one million tourists visit the town every year to enjoy peacefulness, nice weather, wonderful beaches, but those keen on fine arts will also find their expectations; in the town and its area there are more than one hundred smaller or bigger galleries. In Naples’ old town, which is simply called Old Naples, we find countless cosy and colourful Mediterranean-style houses.
The area of Fifth Avenue and Third Street South is full of shops, restaurants and bars, so it’s definitely worth a visit. Walking around here you can feel the unbelievably high living standards everywhere. Anywhere you look, you will see nicely maintained gardens, clarity and amazing houses, and placidity is flooding from everywhere. It’s not a coincidence that so much people wish to visit Naples.
Which is the best of all, and a must see in Naples is the sunset. The view of the sun diving in the Mexican Bay is mesmerizing, and we had the luck to see it ourselves. We can buy a ticket to the Naples Princess luxury ship starting from Port-O-Call port for a graceful afternoon boat trip, just as a sunset tour mixed with lunch, just like the one we tried. For this one, the ticket price is around 60 dollars, and for that, the 30 meter long, multi-decked yacht shows the Naples Bay and the breath-taking sunset at the gate of the Mexican Bay during a 3-hour trip, and the luxury estates of Port Royal on the way back, where – unlike Star Island in Miami – Naples’ quiet, serenity-searching millionaires live. It’s a wonderful experience.
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