More than any of the individual sights we saw, it will be the memory of the vibrant atmosphere on the streets of Naples that will remain with me. The Centro Storico on a Sunday morning is a people watcher’s dream! We shared our wanderings with Sunday church goers heading for a post-Mass coffee and gossip with friends; with local families browsing the Christmas decorations and nativity scenes in the Via San Gregorio Armeno; with smartly dressed dog-walkers and trendy students; with jugglers and street performers of all kinds. And of course with the inevitable scooters – weaving in and out of the pedestrians and occasional cars with consummate ease, never having to stop, rarely slowing (except to wave to a friend or shout a cheerful greeting), but always apparently in control, so that the vehicle seems almost an extension of themselves. When later I saw a young boy on a mini-scooter I realised that the Neapolitans must grow up riding these machines and it comes as naturally to them as walking does to me.
The Centro Storico is bisected east to west by two streets. The more northerly is the Via del Tribunali, and a block south of this runs the street known popularly Scappanapoli, which in the course of its 3 km length has five real names, none of which are used by locals. If you make this street the focus of your walk, with occasional detours down the various little lanes on either side, you’ll get a great flavour of Neapolitan street life, as we did.
Everyone has heard about how the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79 destroyed the town of Pompeii, but Vesuvius isn’t just a story from history – it’s a live volcano that broods over the city of Naples and the surrounding region today. You’ll see it from many parts of the city, especially down by the bay. It is the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted within the last hundred years, and is still regarded as an active volcano although it is currently dormant. However, it has erupted many times since the famous destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum, most recently in 1944, and is regarded as one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world because of the population of 3 million people who live close to it and its tendency towards explosive eruptions.
When you look carefully at the mountain, especially from the side by the sea (e.g. if passing on the Circumvesuvio train as we did several times) you can see that it is in fact a cone within a cone. The central cone is known as Gran Cono, and this is partially encircled by the steep rim of a caldera caused by the collapse of an earlier, and originally much higher structure called Monte Somma. The Gran Cono was produced during the eruption of 79. Its has been constantly changed by eruptions but is currently 1,281 m (4,202 ft).
I love mountains generally but there was something a little disconcerting looking up at this brooding presence and remembering just what power is locked inside it. I found myself wondering if the people of Naples ever think about the time-bomb waiting to explode just a few miles from their homes, or if they’re so used to it that they don’t give it a second thought as they go about their lives. Maybe though it is precisely this life lived on the edge that gives these people their energy and passion?
Favorite thing: Neapolitan cuisine is famous worldwide, and there is no shortage in Naples of quality restaurants catering to all budgets. Dining in a Neapolitan restaurant is traditionally a festive occasion - enlivened by the numerous variety of savory pasta and pizza dishes listed on most menus. Although pizza and pasta are the culinary symbols of Neapolitan cuisine, Naples is also known for its superb cheeses (including the famous mozzarella), its tasty fish and seafood dishes, and its delicious ice cream and pastries.
For those staying up to 3 days in the Campania region, the Artecard is an excellent bargain. For 25 euro you get free admission to two sites, half price off the rest, and unlimited use of all transportation (trains, busses, funicular). So if you only take the Alibus to and from the airport (6 euro), and take the train to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum (10 euro each admission, 3 euro r/t train ticket), you already will save 4 euro. There is a cheaper Artecard for just visiting Naples, but how can you just stay in Naples without seeing Pompeii and/or the Amalfi Coast?
Where to buy: For sale at the airport and train station, and many other locations around Naples.
For every kind of request you can contact this toll free number
800 22 33 66
The service works 7 days a week, 8:30 - 19:30. Automatic answering service all around the clock.
From abroad dial +39 06 39 96 78 51
Website (in Englisgh, but other languages are available):
Go to the sea terminal, put your back to it and line up a snap like this one.
I really enjoyed that Naples-- seems to be such a lay back kind of place........Sure you have the traffic and the hordes of people but it seems to me to be a lot more sedate than Rome. That was my impression anyway.
Fondest memory: I haven't really seen enough to have that kind of attachment, but I am prepared to get one when I next visit.
The Centro Storico, or Historical Center, is an awesome place to explore. It is literally an open air museum full of churches, museums, and many things you wouldn't expect. Take the Napoli Sotteranea for example. It's an underground acquaduct system built by the Greeks and Romans, A MUST SEE! Also here is the Chiesa Santa Chiara, and outter cloister, The Duomo, Chiesa Gesu Nuovo, and wonderful street where they sell all the famous Napolitan Natvity scenes, which are handmade from cork.
Fondest memory: This is one of the better places in Naples to explore for sure, and you will not be dissapointed
Favorite thing: This grand building now hosts a museum, but its architecture makes it worth a visit in itself. Located just behing the Castel Nuovo in the south-western part of the city center, it has that classic Renaissance feel, those great lines and colours, and a carefully planned sense of space and dimensions.
Take a city tour on a open topped double-decker bus. Various offers to see different sides of the city with a "hop on, hop off” system which allows the tourist to get on and off along the route.
http://www.napoli.city-sightseeing.it/napoli/eng/default.asp (in English)
tel: +39 081 5517279
This area, as well as Posillipo, is very nice. The people with money live in Vomero and Posillipo if they live in the city. The views from either location are fantastic, and you are above most of the downtown chaos. Shopping and dining are also nice.
Fondest memory: Take your special someone up to Hotel Paradiso in the evening for one of the best views anywhere. It's the view that you typically see of Naples and Vesuvio. Actually, most of the Napoli city pics I've seen people post on VT are copies of a professional photographer's work
If you arrive here by air, be sure to be prepared for the chaos at "Capo" Airport. Outside doesn't look or act like an airport you are used to from the states. It's even different than airports I've been to (Frankfurt, Heathrow, Stansted, Montpellier, and Pescara in Europe)
The location couldn't be much worse. There is no easy access to downtown from here. You can't take the train to Napoli Centrale so you must rely on cabs or a rental car. If you haven't been here before, and are renting a car, be prepared. Drive straight out the front, go through the circle, and take a right at the intersection. Get on the Tangenziale and proceed with extreme caution on the freeway. Follow the signs to Centro if you are going in that direction. Good luck.
Museum and Galleries of Capodimonte. These are housed in the imposing Royal Palace of Capodimonte and include a vast collection of antique and Renaissance works or art. The collection has 3 distinct sections in a total of 100 rooms. It consists of the National Gallery, the 19th Century Gallery and the Museum. The palace is entered from its courtyard and a staircase leads to the second floor and the start of the gallery tour.
Fondest memory: Shopping on the street. I have many gifts from my travels in Naples. I got some excellent items at great prices.
I love being in the heart of this over crowded, dirty, and crazy city. Guess I'm partial to it, but Naples is fantastic to explore. The historical district is truly an open air museum, and contains things like "Napoli Sotterranea" The underground acquaduct that the Romans built. For seven euro you can go on a guided tour. It's truly amazing.
Fondest memory: Being hundreds of feet underground, and imaging all the people above rushing about their daily activity
The Art card costs only 13 euro, but the benefits are well worth it. You are entitled to three days use of all of the public transportation systems (metropolitana, bus, cumana, funiculare)
You get to go into two museums of your choice free, and 50% off on all others you go to.
You also receive about 20% off on all the things you buy from museum shops.
It's a deal, as a one way metro ticket is usually 2 euro.
Fondest memory: How it works
The kit card - a card with a microchip, information brochure in six months, map of city transportation - can be bought in presale on the dedicated website, in all the museums of the circuit, in the newsagents, in travel agents, the main hotels, train stations Centrale and Mergellina, Capodichino airport.
free phone number from Italy 800 600 601
You bet. This band Nevada plays at La Bavarase regularly, and I saw them a couple times. They are fantastic, and a lot of fun. check out their website. It includes some samples of music too and a documentary video in Italian as well.