Naples Off The Beaten Path

  • Apollonios and Tauriscos of Tralles
    Apollonios and Tauriscos of Tralles
    by Kuznetsov_Sergey
  • Movable Heater
    Movable Heater
    by Kuznetsov_Sergey
  • Weights
    Weights
    by Kuznetsov_Sergey

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Naples

  • Kuznetsov_Sergey's Profile Photo

    Naples in Moscow

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Oct 6, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Apollonios and Tauriscos of Tralles
    2 more images

    I (and you) may refresh our memory about Naples even without leaving Moscow. We should go to the Main Building of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts and see the Plaster cast of Apollonios and Tauriscos of Tralles (Punishment of Dirce, the so called Farnese Bull) or the Movable Heater, the galvanoscopes of the Balance and Weights which are located in the Naples National Archaeological museum.

    Every time I visited this museum since my childhood I admired by these masterpieces… Never knew that I would be able to watch them in Naples…

    12 Volkhonka St., Moscow
    (tel.: +7 495 609-95-20, +7 495 697-95-78, +7 495 697-74-12),
    Metro station: "Kropotkinskaya".
    Ticket price for foreign visitors 400 rubles (10 euro) for adults,
    200 rubles for schoolchildren, students and pensioners.
    Attention! Ticket prices for exhibitions might differ from those for permanent collections.
    Visitors are offered audio guides in Russian, English, German, French and Italian.
    Many exciting tours are on offer!

    Open daily from 10 am to 7 pm
    Thursdays from 10 am to 9 pm
    Closed Monday

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

    Was this review helpful?

  • leics's Profile Photo

    A whispering statue...

    by leics Updated Nov 5, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The whispering old man
    1 more image

    This statue of an old man in the typical reclining Roman-dining position is thought to date from the time of Nero.

    It is supposed to be a representation of the river Nile, which is why the tiny square in which it is set is called the Largo del Corpo del Nilo and a nearby church in even-tinier Piazetta Nilo is called Sant'Angelo a Nilo.

    Apparently, the statue whispers to ladies as they walk past. I've no doubt it prefers younger ladies, and I've no doubt that whatever it whispers is a little on the rude side...although, perhaps, it may just be 'Ciao, bella'.

    He didn't whisper to me as I passed by, so I don't know for sure what he says. :-(

    He certainly looks exhausted, despite his horn of plenty. Perhaps all the whispering exhausts him?

    Why not seek him out and see if he whispers to you? You can find him at the western end of Via San Biagio dei Librai.

    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • leics's Profile Photo

    Enjoy the decrepitude

    by leics Written Nov 5, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    Many buildings in central historical Naples are in very poor condition. It has not been a rich city for many, many centuries.... and that shows.

    But, somehow, the peeling plasterwork, the grime and the decay only add to the experience and the unique atmosphere...for me, as a visitor, at any rate. I imagine it is quite a different thing to actually live in central historical Naples.

    Don't equate decaying buildings with crime and danger: in this case the two simply do *not* equate.

    It is rare that one gets the chance to observe how buildings can and do decay if the money is not there for their upkeep and their repair. I found it interesting, and rather sad, and wished that the money could somehow be found to reserve central Naples' architectural heritage.

    But I fear that eventually, if earthquake or eruption does not do the job first (and I sincerely hope neither occur, for I am sure there would be massive loss of life) many buildings in central historical Naples will have to be demolished. And what will replace them, I wonder?

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • leics's Profile Photo

    Cappella dei Pontano

    by leics Updated Nov 5, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Cappella dei Pontano
    1 more image

    It's very easy indeed to walk past this place without paying any attention. I did so, even though I'd intended to seek it out.

    The Cappella dei Pontano looks rather like Roman temple from the outside, although (to be honest) not at very imposing one. It is actually a funeral monument to the wife of Giovanni Pontano, who had it built in 1492. So it is really quite an old structure for the Naples which is easily visible.

    Pontano was a clever and highly-educated man: he was the chief secretary to several of Naples' rulers during his life (including Ferdinand l) . The Latin inscriptions which cover the walls were all written by him.

    The chapel was restored in 1759 and 1792. To me, the exterior has a strange, blank-faced and rather 'blocky' appearance but apparently it was considered the height of architectural perfection at one time.

    I couldn't go inside, as the chapel was closed when I passed by. But apparently there is a vaulted ceiling, frescoes and some beautiful floor tiling.

    I can't find any information about opening times but it may be that they are the same as the adjoining church (Santa Maria all Pietrosanta). I think it will be worth a visit if you are in the area and it's open.

    You'll find the Cappella dei Pontano at the extreme western end of Vis Dei Tribunali, just past Piazza Spinelli, on the right as you stand with your back in the direction of P Garibaldi.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Photography
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • leics's Profile Photo

    Via San Gregorio Armeno

    by leics Written Nov 5, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A crib...
    2 more images

    This is *the* place to buy your Christmas crib (presepi). The whole street is lined with workshops which create the cribs throughout the year.

    It's one of Naple's most picturesque streets anyway and, annoyingly, was more-or-less completed blocked when I visited: a decrepit, derelict building on Via S Gregorio Armeno near San Lorenzo Maggiore was in the process of being stabilised, with much scaffolding and many safety barriers. Judging by the state of that building it is I suspect should have been done long before.

    With luck you will visit when the stabilisation has been completed and so can have the pleasure of walking the full length of S Gregorio Armeno. I was restricted to either end.

    Neopolitan presepi are hugely complex pieces of wooden construction, with lights and moving parts, water features, moss, bark and, often, famous people in caricature. They come in all sizes from the tiny-fit-into-your-suitcase to the enormous takes-up-a-whole-tabletop.

    A definite must-see. Maybe walk the street before or after your visit to the equally unmissable excavations of San Lorenzo Maggiore?

    Via S Gregorio Armeno runs between Via dei Tribunali and Via San Biagio dei Librai.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • leics's Profile Photo

    Look for the street shrines

    by leics Updated Nov 5, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    You will find street shrines all over Italy but, for some reason, I was very taken by those in central historical Naples.

    Perhaps it was their place in the narrow Medieval streets.....I suspect they have been there for centuries.

    Perhaps it was their presence as a sign of hope in what is clearly, still, a city with a very large population of poor people.

    Perhaps, coming from a non-Catholic country as I do, I just find it touching that people care enough to even bother with street shrines.

    Whatever, do keep you eyes open for them Some are clearly much more cared-about than others.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Religious Travel
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • leics's Profile Photo

    Enjoy the graffiti....

    by leics Updated Nov 5, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Clever use of decaying plaster!
    4 more images

    There is lots of graffiti in Italy. It does not always carry the connotations of gang warfare or aggression that I believe it can carry in non-European countries.

    In the UK we even have a graffiti-artist-made-good: Banksy.

    In Naples I saw some truly excellent graffiti. Skillfully applied, humorous, clever and not in the least abusive or intrusive. I liked that. It took me a while to think about taking photos of graffiti, so I've only got a few.

    I'm not sure if any of it has a hidden meaning (hidden from an outsider I mean). Maybe it has, maybe it hasn't. I like to think the 'wall face', at least, is just a bit of fun..

    So keep your eyes open as you wander and enjoy the graffiti for its skill, intelligence and humour. Don't be judgemental: it may not be acceptable or enjoyable where you come from, but maybe..just maybe..it's not really as bad as you think?

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • leics's Profile Photo

    Roman remains 3

    by leics Written Nov 5, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Ancient Greek walls
    1 more image

    Graeco-Roman Naples was once walled. You can't see those walls, for they have long been taken down and their stones scavenged for use elsewhere. Their foundations lie beneath the modern surface.

    But you can see a little of the ancient wall foundations which have been excavated in the rather pleasant, leafy Piazza Bellini. What you see there is seriously old...an extension of the Greek city walls dating from around the 4th century BC.

    Again, something worth seeking out if you are taking this route to or from the National Archaeological Museum. It is also easily missed: the walls are well below street-level.

    Piazza Bellini lies on Via Santa Maria di Constantinopoli, to the west of Via di Tribunali and leading directly to the National Archaeological Museum.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • leics's Profile Photo

    'Hidden' Roman remains 2: study the stones!

    by leics Written Nov 5, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Scavenged Roman stonework.
    3 more images

    Look at the base of Naples' only remaining large early-Medieval monument....the campanile of Santa Maria Maggiore all Pietrasanta.

    The base of this rather impressive brick bell-tower (which is, I fear, unlikely to survive any more earthquakes) includes in its structure many chunks of scavenged Roman masonry, including architraves and columns, inscribed stonework and even what I'm pretty sure was once a Roman altar.

    Just ignore the graffiti and study the stones. :-)

    The tower itself is rather lovely, despite its apparent decrepitude. It dates from the 11th century.

    The campanile lies on Via dei Tribunali, towards its western end and very near Piazza Miraglia.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Archeology
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • leics's Profile Photo

    Hidden Roman remains...

    by leics Written Nov 5, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Roman remains
    1 more image

    Central historical Naples is built directly on top of ancient Graeco-Roman Naples. You can visit some below-ground excavations at, for example, San Lorenzo Maggiore and the Duomo.

    But sometimes Roman remains pop up at street level. As I was walking to the Duomo I glanced up a narrow alleyway and this set caught my eye.

    The site was closed (and has been so for a while, I suspect) but you can see it quite well from the outside. I'm sure the remains are linked with those accessible in the Duomo excavations (when they are open): streets, houses and public buildings, temples and possibly an early basilica. They may even be part of the Duomo excavations, but as these were closed when I visited I cannot be sure.

    Worth taking a look anyway.

    Vico Carminiello ai Mannesi leads off the Duomo side of Via Duomo, between the Duomo and Via dei Tribunali. Look for the street-sign: it's above eye-level.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

    Was this review helpful?

  • leics's Profile Photo

    Santimissima Annunziata and the 'ruota'

    by leics Written Nov 5, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Santimissima Annunziata exterior
    4 more images

    Santimissima Annunziata lies in the Forcella district, which you will almost certainly pass through as you make your way from Napoli Centrale or Garibaldi stations to the historical centre of Naples.

    It's as noisy, chaotic and down-at-heel as the rest of the ancient heart of the city, with throngs of people, narrow streets, washing lines, scooters and cars. According to my guidebook it's a stronghold of the Camorra, but imo it is perfectly safe to wander during the daytime (I cannot speak about wandering late at night, for I have not visited then).

    Santimissima Annunziata is well worth the slight detour you will need to make. Not so much for the church itself (the white, twiddly interior and grey-and-yellow exterior paintwork completely hide its 14th century origins) but for the orphanage which has always adjoined it.

    This courtyarded building (dating, I think, from the 1600s) is now a children's hospital. Walk under the arched gateway and turn left in the barrel-vaulted 'lobby' to find a tiny, free museum about one of the saddest aspects of this always-poor city: the ruota.

    Into this wooden structure unwanted babies (and sometimes much older children) were anonymously placed. The wheel (ruota) was turned and the child received into the orphanage. The practice finally ceased in 1875.

    All information is in Italian but one can still imagine the poverty and sheer desperation which led parents to abandon their children in this way. Other 'ruota' existed across Italy: there is one in Florence, for example.

    On you way back to the street look up at the Medieval carving of the Madonna in the archway. It is attributed to Giovan Malvito and dates to the early 1500s.

    It really is worth finding this place. It lies on Via dell'Annunziata, a narrow street (ironically) of shops selling baby clothes, prams and everything else baby-associated. Walk down Corso Umberto l from P Garibaldi and take the third street on the right (Via Ranieri). Via dell'Annunziata is the first on the left, and the church & orphanage are on your left.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • MM212's Profile Photo

    Pompeii

    by MM212 Updated May 13, 2010

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    il Foro di Pompei e Monte Vesuvio - Jan 05

    One of the world's most fascinating archaeological sites, Pompeii is a mere half an hour's train ride from Naples. The Roman city is notorious for being buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Its sudden end preserved a snapshot of the daily life of its inhabitants, albeit their last. The city lay underground until it was discovered and excavated. Pompeii makes an excellent day trip from Napoli and is best immediately followed by a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Naples which showcases an amazing collection of frescoes and statues from Pompeii..

    For more, click on Pompeii.

    Related to:
    • Archeology

    Was this review helpful?

  • JohnnySpangles's Profile Photo

    A Volcano in the middle of Naples

    by JohnnySpangles Updated Sep 27, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    solfatara composite picture showing crater

    The Solfatara is a volcano crater in the south west corner of Naples. Entry costs 6 euros and for this you get to wander around the crater. As you walk around the guide path you might be wondering what you've paid for. However stop as you come out of the trees and go closer to all the yellow marks on the white rocks. Look closer and you'll smell sulpher and see the steam venting. In the centre are boiling mud pools and further round are bigger vents. The amount of activity you see will depend on how much is happening underground. Bear in mind you are standing on the crust that is on top of a lava field...makes you feel a bit wobbly if you're a tad overweight. Fretteth not though, the last time it erupted was 800 years ago. A very quirky place to visit if you've never seen anything like this before. Nice bar too for a shady drink after the heat of the crater.

    Don't know how you get there by public transport but ample car parking and hardly anybody there when we went in August. Not far from the Aganano horse racing...do the late afternoon at Solfatara then go horse racing.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Eco-Tourism
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • deebum25's Profile Photo

    Spaccanapoli and the Back Streets of Naples

    by deebum25 Written Sep 26, 2008

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    This is actually where you want to be. After you see the Palazzo Reale wander off into Spaccanapoli to see how the real Neapolitans live. It's like a wonderful bazaar of people, restaurants and services. We spent most of our time wandering here.

    Related to:
    • Singles
    • Women's Travel
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • sargentjeff's Profile Photo

    Pianura - Real Napolitans, real culture

    by sargentjeff Updated Jun 15, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Pianura Station

    At one time it was sparsely populated, but in the past 50 years it has become overcrowded and stands as an example of what life is like in the "real Naples". By the way, a pizza in Pianura will only cost you 2,50 euro!! That's the best, and cheapest meal you'll ever eat.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Naples

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

68 travelers online now

Comments

Naples Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of Naples off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Naples sightseeing.

View all Naples hotels