I've been to Italy a number of times, flying in either to Rome and heading North (where we have family) weeks in Florence, or to Milan. I've been dying to go South -- any recommendations?
I was in Naples last year, and quite enjoyed my stay there. Despite the "reputation" of the city, I didn't experience any problems at all, even though I was carrying some fairly expensive Camera gear. I was warned several times by Italians that it wouldn't be safe travelling there, including a Flight Attendant who told me that her family "forbid her" from going to Napoli.
If you want a really interesting view of various parts of the south, have a look at the ETBD South Italy tour.
There are a number of interesting sights to see in Naples, the archaeological museum being maybe the highlight. You could easily fill a day touring Naples and eating pizza. I've enjoyed my visits there, but prefer to stay in Sorrento. From Sorrento, it's also easy to get to Pompeii, Herculanium, Capri and the Amalfi Coast towns. Sorrento is a resort town, so lots to do there too.
Donna - Being italian it gives me no pleasure in telling you that Napoli is a very dangerous city!! As a jumping off point to Sorrento, Amalfi, Positano, or Capri it is fine - just get your ferry or hydrofoil ticket and enjoy The Amalfi coast.
Have never been to Naples. However, on our next trip to Italy we are going South and Naples is on the agenda. Will probably stay in Sorrento and do the usual sightseeing in Naples and, of course, the pizza. I just think Naples has an unfair reputation. If you are careful, and not flaunting jewelry, fancy camera stuff and stay in the "tourist" areas, don't you think you'll be fine? Like to hear from the people who have had positive experiences in Naples.
"stay in the "tourist" areas,"
Naples city does not have tourist areas as such. The sites you would want to visit are not all together in a defined area but scattered around a noisy seemingly chaotic city centre filled with people going about their everyday business. Tourists are outnumbered by Neapolitans many times over. All this is part of Naples' charm. The most frightening thing for most visitors is the volume and noise of the traffic, and the driving, which has to be seen to be believed. When we took the Hop On-Hop Off bus I probably spent more time looking at what was happening on the roads rather than the buildings etc.
Having said that, we prefer to stay in Sorrento and take the hydrofoil ferry across the Bay. After a day in Naples we find Sorrento, even in its busier periods, a relative haven of peace and quiet!
Donna, last September we spent a day in Naples, on our way to Rome. We loved it, lots of interesting sites to see, good pizza, and lovely people.
Definitely worth going to Naples, and not to just hustle from the taxi to the hydrofoil. Just a walk along the Lungomare with Vesuvius in view makes the whole trip worth it. We rented row boats and spent a lovely morning on the bay......go.
Hi.I lived in Italy for about 12 years off and on.As a Navy Military Dependent kid and Teenager later as an Adult Active Navy.Last time there Oct 2006 Retirerd after 20 years of Travel last plase VXE-6 Antarctica South Pole.So I think I know something of Travel.I love Napoli yes there is crime but if your smart its just as safe as Milon.Pack light if you love it leave it at home,Stuff!dont way your self down.Not all the sights in the city.Have good walking shoes and buy a local map.Watch some old movies;It Started in Naples,with Clark Gable&Sophio lorine.The Human Facter,for the background not the story.I,m thinking of going back shortly after the holidays and my Ear clears up.Island of Capri is Gold,Don,t buy alot of stuff take lots of pictures.Is.Ischia therma bathes you see part of it in"Cliopatra"1964 Elizapeth Taylor the Fort and Church in sea battle. Procida a fishing village pretty.I am starting to blab here so have fun life is good. Billy S.
I have not yet visited Naples, but I can tell you that based on what Claire said above, I will make a point of spending at least a night or two when we do manage to make our next trip to Italy. She and Ron are almost always right about all things Italian!
We've been twice to Naples and really like it. In spring 2009 we rented an apartment for four nights in the Spanish quarter (where most guidebooks say you should never even go) and had a wonderful time. We're age 60+ and speak "enough" Italian. We also stayed several nights in Sorrento on a previous trip but, when we go back, it will be to Naples.
Naples is a dangerous stink-hole of a city. Not somewhere a tourist should go. Stick to the Amalfi Coast, Capri, etc...and bypass Naples as a stop on your itinerary. I have been warned by Italian friends and complete strangers.
So much to see and do in Pompeii, Amalfi coast, Paestum, Sorrento, Capri. I can't wait to go again in the nr future. We spent 5 days and thought another five would have been just perfect, it is truely one of the most beautiful regions in Europe.
Naples has its charms but on the whole we found it too gritty for our tastes. (We stayed in Naples because hotels were so cheap compared to Sorrento and Amalfi. Turns out there's a reason they're so cheap.) We did go see the Archaeological Museum which is amazing, and walked down the main avenue to the water to take a ferry to Sorrento. Then the next couple of days we would hop on the Circumvesuviana train to spend the rest of the day in Sorrento. Hated having to train back to Naples each night.
Naples is no more "dangerous" than New York City. Would anyone recommend a foreigner to NOT visit NYC on an American excursion? To the naysayers, have you ever been to Naples, or are you just spreading rumors? We were there last year about this time. Yes, streets are grungy, people are superstitious and life is chaotic in Naples. That's part of the charm. The Archeological museum is fantastic, so is the veiled Christ in Capella Sansevero, and for a great tour, do Napoli Sotteraneo. The pizzas are good. And just an FYI- if you choose to stay in Sorrento, you'll either have to take the ferry or the circumvesuviana train in and out of naples every day- and the percentage of pickpockets on the circumvesuviana is substantially higher than on the streets of naples. Go, be smart about your surroundings, and enjoy it!
It depends what you are looking for....
For me, Naples is currently my favorite city in the world. The hectic, throbbing, intense for all your senses drama is my style. I doubt the people who refer to Naples as a stink hole or very dangerous ever spent enough time to actually get to know the city.
My favorite memory was wandering the spanish quarter/old town at 7 am was beautiful....people were just waking up, stocking their little sidewalk marketplaces, airing out laundry, little boys running to the store for their mothers (and I mean like 4 year olds, unattended). I felt almost like I was in a pinball machine....I took the funicular up to the top of the hills and then wandered down a different zigzag path each time, I did it about 4 times and spend over 4 hours wandering around. I actually met people who lived there and had conversations with them, I was invited into their homes (gasp an american tourist with expensive camera equipment wandering into an Napolite's aparment?!?) and given a true sense of real italian life. You can see my photos of this amazing morning at www.thenomadphotographer.com (most of them are under people and places)
I think common sense and confidence can bring you a long way in an international city. It also depends on what you want: do you want something that is clean, packaged, similar to Disney's Epcot version of Italy? Then go to Sorrento....if you don't want it sugar coated go to Naples. Oh yeah, and go to Pizzeria de Mateo, it's the best.
Thank you Tony and Melissa for bringing some sanity back to this thread.
I was there during their garbage problems. For a year, garbage was not collected because there was no landfill to take it to, due to corruption. There was garbage piled high everywhere, and it was being burned on the outskirts of town and along the sides of the road. Yes, it was a stinkhole when I was there. And yes, it can be dangerous, not to mention corrupt. Not some place I care to go back to.
I've visited Italy 6 times now, and I can honestly say Naples is among a few places in Italy for which I have absolutely no desire to return. With so much to see and do in Italy -- I would not waste an hour in Naples. Go a bit further South and enjoy Sorrento and the Amalfi coast.