B&B AND BEYOND BED & BREAKFAST DEL CORSO, NAPLES Simon Calder explores Italy's ultimate comfort-food city from a cheap, spacious base that's handy for the airport
On a short break, proximity is a virtue. With a clear run, Naples' Capodichino airport is just 10 minutes from the Piazza Garibaldi, location for the central station, whose western side is bounded by the Corso Garibaldi - the city's prime north-south artery.
A couple of minutes' walk north of the square is a courtyard that includes small businesses. To the left is a metal gate that opens at the foot of a spiral staircase. Wind up to the second floor, and the constant Neapolitan babble subsides. The reception desk is outside the hosts' apartment door; your home from home is in the apartment opposite. Drop your bags, and within half an hour of touchdown, you can be exploring one of the Mediterranean's most fascinating ports - or tucking into the first of many pizzas or ice-creams in the ultimate comfort-food city.
As many as five million souls cram into the shoreline between the volcanoes and the Bay of Naples, but once in the B&B del Corso you would not know it. The 19th-century mansion block that houses it is generously proportioned, and the three rooms allow plenty of space. One room can hold a family of four, with a double bed and bunk. The en-suite facilities are similarly spacious.
Rooms are simply furnished, with something of a 1960s vibe - and some elaborate light fittings that, when fitted with energy- efficient bulbs, rather lose their sparkle. The television is tremendous if you are a fan of Italian sport or soap operas, but lacking in a wide choice of channels if you are seeking anything else. Wi-Fi is free throughout, but the closer you are to the transmitter on the landing, the better your chances.
Were the B&B a hotel, you would be hard-pressed to give it more than a couple of stars - but low prices, excellent location and cheerful hosts make a winning combination.
Served in your room, at a time to suit you. Do not anticipate the greatest Italian feast: toast and jam, plus coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice. Plenty to keep you going until elevenses - and happily in Naples the nearest snack opportunity is never more than 10 metres away.
Patrizia and Nicola are cheerful and helpful, and offer meticulous advice about everything from the best local restaurants to the intricacies of the Circumvesuviana - the railway line that rattles around the bay via Pompeii to Sorrento. …