Naples, California is a peninsula on the southern most tip of Long Beach. With street names Toledo and Florence, canals called Rivo Alto and Colonnade, you’ll think you’re in Italy.
Naples did not occur by accident but was the concept of A.M. Parsons. While he and son, A.C., sold lots on the Peninsula in 1903, they dreamed of a city with canals, gondolas and houses with red tile roofs. A.M. Parsons formed Naples Company with financier Henry Huntington, in hopes of creating a taste of Italy on the California coast. Unfortunately, the marshland property was difficult to build on, making the huge project a costly and daunting task. Still, the press declared “Bold Scheme Not a Dream,” as Naples started to take shape in 1907.
One of the original plans to make East 2nd Street a grand canal was never completed. That area was filled in and is now the shopping and dining district, as well as a busy thoroughfare connecting downtown Long Beach with coastal regions to the South. There are about a mile’s worth of canals in Naples, comprised of a large semi-circular Rivo Alto Canal and a shorter, straight Naples Canal.
Once inside the canals, you will see beautiful homes and yachts in a peaceful neighborhood setting punctuated by five quaint bridges and tall palm trees. There are several ways to view the canals and streets of Naples. By foot, one can walk the waterfront sidewalks and watch the boats go by.
Enjoy wonderful restaurants such as Naples Rib Company or Nico’s, which is owned by the late singer, and former mayor of Palm Springs, Sonny Bono’s daughter, Christi. Those who have tried it say the food is very good. Another local favorite right next door is Kelly’s. The shamrock on its neon building sign might tell you something about what is served there.