We cancelled our trip to Amalfi for May 2020 and rescheduled for September 2020, cancelled that for May 2021 and cancelled that for September 2021. Maybe we'll get to go, but then there's always May 2022. We've made many trips to the area over the past 15 years or so, but have pretty much avoided Naples, other than a few hair raising taxi rides from the train station to Molo Beverello. So, this time, we're determined to ignore all the negative things one hears about the city and dive in for a couple days on our way south. We've been to Pompei and Herculaneum a couple times before and spent a week in Sorrento and another in Capri, so no need to revisit those again. With a focus on history and art, (and pizza, of course) what would you recommend to not miss with just two or three days to explore?
I wish I could remember the name of the Cameo business I visited. I believe the work was done there as well. Some beautiful pieces!
Besides the pizza, my first priority would be the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli (MANN).
This is a link to the collections: http://www.museoarcheologiconapoli.it/it/le-collezioni/
I was in Naples in May, 2015 and enjoyed it. IMHO the City has a very frenetic pace and feel to it. Among the things I enjoyed, and which you may want to check out, are the following:
1) Subterranean Naples - which are underground tunnels and aqueducts that go back to Roman times. The Neapolitans used them to hide supplies and spies from the Germans during WWII and they are expansive. My memory is that at one point there was one very dark, short (40'), narrow tunnel that was navigable on foot, but may present an issue if you're claustrophobic. We used candles to navigate part of way underground. Overall, they were very impressive.
2) The Capella Sansevero is a small church buried in a tiny street that has some pretty frescoes and a beautiful marble statute called the Veiled Christ - it's carved out of one piece of stone and it is just magnificent.
3) The Museo Palazzo Reale and Museo Nazionale di Capodionte are both cool palaces with gardens that have been converted to museums and are worth a visit.
4) St. Elmo's Castel sits atop the city and it is a long, but enjoyable climb to reach it. I'm pretty sure there is a funiculare, but I walked it. It has a cool museum and offers expansive views of Mt. Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples.
5) The waterfront area down near Castle Nieve & Piazza Garibaldi are great places to hang out, people watch and enjoy a coffee. It was so hot (80's) when I was there that I actually took a quick dip off the rocks near Castle Nieve. There is plenty of beautiful architecture located throughout the city, but be wary of the scooters: the Neapolitans whiz around on them like it's nobody's business, and even will ride up on the sidewalks, if necessary.
As for pizza, try da Michele, which has a very limited menu: 3 pizza styles (marinara, Margherita, and double cheese) and Coca Cola and one type of beer. That was it. It had a bit of a "soup-nazi" kind of feel to it, but the pizza was cheap and delicious. I also liked the Pizzeria da Attillio.
Best of luck,
The first episode of Stanley Tucci's new CNN Show 'Searching for Italy' covers Naples. Its a travelogue based on food but he discussed some of the issues that plague Naples but also how people are trying to solve them....and then there's the food! It will give you confidence you are making the right choice! Lots of silver linings out there!
In addition to Paul’s suggestion, you can also find the ‘Searching for Italy’ series On Demand. If I recall, the Pizzeria that was featured was called Pizzeria Brandi and has been in the same spot since 1780. Most famous for it’s Margherita Pizza.
I was there about five years ago for a conference and then stayed a few days afterwards. I really enjoyed it but many people at the conference (mostly Europeans) hated it. One thing I noticed is that those of us who enjoyed Naples tended to located in the area near castlel dell’Ovo or the egg castle. This is an area that has been pedestrianized and overlooks the sea. There are many restaurants nearby and some of the hotels have roof top decks. We even saw fireworks one night. The advantage of this area is it is walkable to many things in Naples (or to the subway which we took some places but about 15 minute walk) and it was a respite from the craziness of Naples. I think it helped us to appreciate Naples on its own terms the rest of the time.
We were there in July and it was quite hot and other than hotels not much is air conditioned. We ended up going on the underground tour mentioned above to escape the heat. It turned out to be quite fascinating and I would highly recommend it.
There also is a shopping area not far from there with lots of shops with nativity sets. We spent an enjoyable hour searching for one for our daughter and husband who had just got married that summer.
We enjoyed the energy in Naples. Our hotel was down in the Chiaia area by the sea and the beautiful Lungomare, the walkway along the bay.
We stayed in Naples for 5 nights with no side-trips (and of course no car) in early November 2015. We loved Naples and could not figure out why people diss it ---- maybe it's less nice in the summer? Two whole weeks is what we thought would have been ideal. We would return.
We had a terrific Airbnb apartment a half block off of the Spaccanapoli on the 6th or 7th floor (no lift) --- a terrific view of the city, other people's rooftop terraces, and Mount Vesuvius. It's on the Via Atri, also 1/2 a block from the famous Sorbillo's pizzeria on the Via dei Tribunali.
We easily walked to the archeology museum (8 minutes), the Cappella Sansevero (4 minutes), many other interesting places, and, when we left Naples, the train station (22 minutes). Loved the neighborhood. We walked everywhere except for the taxi from the car rental return at the airport on our arrival. Lots of energy. Amusing sights. Street markets.
The archeological museum was one whole day.
Definitely walk along the Spaccanapoli. Eat street food.
Castel Sant’Elmo and San Martino (take the funicular from Via Toledo).
There was an opera one evening.
The presepi street with its incredible supplies for making nativity scenes was lots of fun so close to Christmas-time.
Cappella Caraffa and other chapels in the Duomo.
Via Toledo street market.
Via Caracciolo and Via Partenope for walks by the sea.
Caravaggio’s “The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula” and “The Seven Works of Mercy.”
Museo Cappella Sansevero's marble sculpture of Christ under a sheet, plus other rather bizarre sculptures and things.
Galleria Umberto vintage shopping mall.
We did not visit the Capodimonte museum, but would have with more time.
The Ospedale delle Bambole on Via San Biagio dei Librai was closed but looked cool --- it's a doll hospital.
We had yummy deep-fried pizza somewhere, but I forget the name.
Places tend to be closed in the afternoons, as in much of non-heavily-touristed Italy, so you just work around that.
I would think that if you go in the off season (we heard exactly one American voice on this visit --- in a line outside of a pizza place) and stay on a central, pedestrian-only street like we did and walk everywhere, you eliminate all of the hassle of traffic, driving, metro, taxis, etc. that other people complain of when they describe their visits to Naples. I literally can't recall any issue about traffic or garbage or chaos or criminal elements, but we did avoid neighborhoods we were told to avoid.
We were in Napoli for 3 days in November 2018 and we loved it. Our hotel was in the central, pedestrian area and it was absolutely fascinating to see how busy the area was, well into the night. Recycling and garbage were picked up at 4 am, presumably because no one was out at that hour (?); thank goodness for earplugs. We walked around several neighbourhoods and enjoyed spontaneously visiting various churches and other buildings. We went to the archaeology museum which was very worthwhile; guides were in the entry way available for personalized tours so we did that for 1.5 hours and were immersed in some of the highlights. We hope to return as we feel like we didn’t scratch the surface. We didn’t feel unsafe or uncomfortable. The locals we spoke with were gracious and filled with such pride about their history and culture.
I agree with all. Naples is chaotic but it’s antiquities, museums and architecture are a do not miss.
I avoided Naples for years but have returned 2x. Personal safety can be a problem so be xtra aware.
Especially train station, public transport and public crowded places. Research your lodging carefully.
I especially want to recommend Capella Sanserverno. Amazing marbles that you will never forget.
Most beautiful and truly memorable. Enjoy Naples it is special!
You may also want to add the palace that is just outside of Naples called Caserta. It has been used as a backdrop in many movies and is very large, with large grounds that are landscaped with fountains. I think it was built to try to rival Versailles. (Only a portion of the actual palace is open to tour). I would definitely go to the Museum in Naples that has all of the Pompeii artifacts and also go to the church that houses the beautiful marble sculptures. We ate on the waterfront (one of the best meals we had in Italy) and also went to the self-proclaimed oldest pizzeria. Naples has crazy drivers but we really enjoyed our time there. We used Naples as a jumping off spot too for the Amalfi coast, Pompeii/Herculanem, Paestum, and Capri as day trips. I really liked Naples and it has a charm all its own. Enjoy.
Note that the Naples Archaeology Museum also holds the remarkable Farnese Marbles, which still influence art being created today.
Thanksfor the feedback, everyone. Looking at hotels, I'm wondering if it's too noisy at night down by the harbor near Castel dell'Ovo. Has anyone stayed in that area?
We stayed at a delightful B&B (Sept 18) for 4 nights. B & B Monteoliveto 33, 33 Via Monteoliveto, Naples Hist. Ctr., 80134 Naples. G-maps says it's a 25 minute walk to Castel del Ovo ( 7 min to Castel Nuovo). We walked everywhere around the port and most of the local museums etc. Easy access to the bus that runs to Pompeii etc.
At the time a "splurge" on a Junior Suite w/ juliette balcony cost $417(US) for 4 nights. 5 or 6 rooms run by 4 siblings. First or second floor (no lift -they helped us carry and yes air and wifi - quite comfy).. We had fun watching the flea market on the steps across from the room each morning - never saw anything change hands - but lots of fun people watching. Hope they make it through this year (their web site is still active as of now).
Note: day traffic was heavy in the area - but actually was pretty quiet at night - there are few bars for night life in this section. But lots of cafes etc near during day and evening.
I’m of 2 minds on Napoli but you should definitely experience it! The Archaeological museum is a must. I see you’ve been to Pompeii or Herculaneum. That’s a must for anyone who hasn’t already been.
In Napoli I stayed in Chiaia neighborhood which I’d recommend. It’s nice, close to everything, and a bit calmer than closer to the center.
As for things to see, I’ll list a couple. The Sansevero Chapel has the amazing veiled Christ statue. Under several of the churches in the center are catacombs or underground excavations which are pretty fascinating. The sea and Vesuvius views from the waterfront - I remember the area around the castel d’ovo (on the island but also along the waterfront road before the island) being nice.
I have nothing to offer except this thread is making me want to go. I'm (hopefully) going to Rome for 8 nights this October & now I'm considering a day trip just to get my feet wet. Naples sounds fantastic.
Take a day trip to Paestum. Amazing ruins. Better preserved than Greek ruins
I would also recommend Paestum. It contains three of the most well-preserved Ancient Greek temples in the world. We took a culinary tour of Southern Italy that included the places you mentioned above as well as Positano, & ending in Sicily. That said, we did visit the "off the beaten track" town of Maratea and it ended up being one of our favorite places along the way. We spent 2 nights that also included a day sail on a Turkish sailboat. We were there in the month of September and the Mediterranean water was warm & delightful. If this area interests you Google: Maratea Tourist & Travel Information Italy Heaven. It also features the charming hotel we stayed at (Locanda delle Donne Monache, Maratea.) We did a cooking class there and also enjoyed another restaurant (walking distance to town.) We would definitely return if we were in the region again.
I can't comment on Napoli because it was a brief stop for pizza and Sfogliatelle. It would have been fun to spend a few nights to experience the vibe of the city. We did have a positive review from our chef/guide who was born there. She lives in WA ST. now. Happy planning!
Hi, there is a lot to see in Naples I don't know why people speak badly of this city but I can only confirm that it is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. Naples was my first visit to southern Italy I stayed there for 4 days and I saw a lot from the promenade to the historic center with its beautiful churches the cemetery of fontanelle was amazing. We have also been to Pozzuoli and CAMPI FLEGREI ( PHLEGREAN FIELDS ). If you use google you can do a little research on these places you will have all the information you need.
Oh my gosh guys. This discussion is so helpful. I'm planning a trip for next spring/summer and based on this thread I'm adding an additional 2 days to Naples. I did not know how much there was to see in Naples.