Pianura - Real Napolitans, real culture
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.
- Family Travel
Guglie - columns
The baroque columns on several piazzas in the historic center are the only remnant of former festivities that took place at that time.
They were erected to celebrate an event and became the target of ceremonies, holy processions and decorations. Only later in 17th century appeared fountains and statues, the fountains having also the advantage to provide a safeguard against the fires.
- Historical Travel
Walking Tours of Naples
During my last visit to Naples I stayed at the Hostel of the Sun and they offered several different walking tours during the day and at night. It was very inexpensive...less then 10 euro for most of them and alot of fun if you don't mind the younger, backpacking crowd. Just google "Hostel of the Sun - Naples" or go to www.hostelbookers.com to get contact info and you can email them for more info. The Hostel of the Sun is the starting point for the tours and the hostel is located by Castel Nuovo. You don't have to be a guest to take part of the various tours. The night tour is the most fun as it shows off the city at night and then ends with pizza and beer's....if drinking not your thing I believe they had soda as well!
Pozzuoli - Solfatara
To reach this volcanic crater, currently the most active in the entire area, carry on from the Amphitheatre up towards the Metro station of Pozzuoli. Alternatively, of course, arrive this way from any Metro Station (Blue Line).
Solfatara is a short walk uphill and round couple of bends in the road. Inside the crater there are very active steam vents (fumaroles) visible but apparently the crater is almost dormant in comparison to its glorious past. There is however a bubbling mud pool in the centre and signs of sulphur deposits from deep within.
The stench is quite strong near the most active areas, enough to delight the kids after they are tired of culture!
We ate a picnic in a pleasant dedicated area suitably far from the fumes and then continued back to Naples by Metro.
Pozzuoli can easily be reached from Naples. Take the Ferrovia Cumana from Montesanto terminus and get off at Pozzuoli station.
After a brief walk around a pretty harbour we followed signs to the Anfiteatro. This was something of a mistake as the route was marked for cars, and although we arrived eventually there were quicker, but steeper routes.
The Amphitheatre itself seems fairly ordinary on the surface and is somewhat spoiled by recent additions of modern seating. Underground however it is spectacular and you can almost hear the sounds of the diabolical practices (to our minds) that were carried on here.
Escape to Procida
When the stress of Naples is enough, you can take a boat to the least visited of the islands and the nearest one, Procida. It still retains a charm of the old village, remote island where things go much slowly, the sea is nice and clean...
Eat in one of the restaurants in the harbour, go swimming, visit the ancient abbey or just stroll around...
The boats depart almost every hour in the morning and you have several returns in the evening, with different companies.
Walking through Sanita
Sanita is one of the poorer districts of Naples and was the place where the dead were buried. Today it is a lively district, where few tourists wander and let´s you see all the sides of Naples life. It is situated between Piazza Cavour and Capodimonte, so you can walk through there when going up to Parco di Capodimonte.
Besides number of catacombs, you might come across hidden palaces converted to appartments, like this one...
This district, on the highest part of Naples, was built from 1.885 on, and it houses beautiful buildings, streets and squares.
- How to get there:
Either, by funicular from Piazza Duca D’Aosta/Via Toledo (line centrale, Fuga station) or metro (line 1, Vanvitelli station).
Santa Maria del Carmine Maggiore (1)
I'm not sure, but I think this church is not very known, so, it's a perfect "Off the Beaten Path Tip".
It houses great masterpieces such as paintings and fantastic architecture.
*Address: Piazza Carmine, 2 (very close to Piazza Garibaldi.
- Tel.: (+39) 081 20 11 96
- Fax: (+39) 081 553 58 33
Castel Sant'Elmo/Sant'Elmo Castle
Built in 1.329, I must admit that the main reason for my visit was the view of Naples.
For the pics of them, go to the travelogue.
- Address: Largo San Martino, 1
- How to get there:
Take Funiculare Centrale from Piazza Duca D’Aosta/Via Toledo, very close to Piazza del Plebiscito, to the station called Fuga (end of the line). Then, ask anybody, it's quite difficult to explain but not difficult to find it; or by metro, line 1, Vanvitelli station.
I’ve made a separate page about Sorrento, so this is just a brief outline of why you might want to go there.
A sunny Saturday in early November turned out to be a perfect time to visit – even then this lovely seaside town was pretty busy and I can imagine that in the height of the season it might become unpleasantly so. As it was we had a lovely time strolling the streets, and in particularly walking down to the Marina Grande, the less touristy (and, despite its name, the smaller) of the two harbours. Here we could sit in the sun at a small, unpretentious restaurant, the Ristorante di Leva with a chilled white wine, some grilled sardines and a fresh tomato salad, watching a few local fishermen passing the time of day. We also enjoyed an ice cream in the main square, the Piazza Tasso, shopping for local delicacies such as lemon biscuits and olive oil, and photographing the many interesting little details of its buildings.
See my Transportation tips about the Circumvesuviana train to Sorrento, and my separate page for information about the various sights, cafés etc.
I’ve made a separate page about Pompeii, so this is just a brief outline of why you might want to go there.
Perhaps the first thing that struck me about Pompeii was its size. We’d already been to Herculaneum, and I knew Pompeii was bigger, but hadn’t realised quite how big it is. The ruins cover an area the size of a largish modern village, and to see everything properly would demand a full day, which we didn’t have. Rather than rush around madly, therefore, it’s best to choose some buildings that appeal and see those properly.
As Pompeii was a larger and more substantial city than Herculaneum, it has more in the way of grand buildings such as temples, and these make a good place to start your explorations as they’re near the entrance and also command great views of Vesuvius beyond, making it easy to imagine your way back into history and the dreadful day in AD79 when the city was engulfed by pumice and ash. We were also fascinated, as I think every visitor must be, by the plaster casts of people trapped as they tried to flee. In addition there are grand villas and humble shops, extensive bath-house complexes, theatres and small restaurants – everything that the population would have needed for a comfortable existence in this busy town. A day spent here is a wonderful way to absorb yourself in a past lifestyle that at times seems so very like the present.
See my Transportation tips about the Circumvesuviana train to Pompeii, and my separate page for lots of details about the various sights.
- Historical Travel
I’ve made a separate page about Herculaneum, or Ercolano as it’s known in Italian, so this is just a brief outline of why you might want to go there.
When Vesuvius erupted in AD 79 Herculaneum was buried in volcanic mud rather than in the lava which engulfed it perhaps more famous neighbour, Pompeii. It lay hidden and nearly intact for more than 1600 years until it was accidentally discovered by some workers digging a well in 1709. This has resulted in a different type of preservation of its ruins, with the mud doing relatively little damage to the buildings, instead slowly filling them from the bottom up.
Herculaneum was a smaller town with a wealthier population than Pompeii at the time of its destruction. You can easily imagine that the seaside villas would have been very desirable residences, and the lifestyle of those who occupied them would have been wonderful – sipping wine on the terraces overlooking the bay, with slaves catering to your every need, beautiful mosaics and friezes adorning the walls, a pleasant climate away from the hassles of the city. I loved wandering around envisaging all this – but then also contemplating the terror that must have descended on this peaceful spot when the inhabitants suddenly realised the enormity of what was happening to the mountain that looms over it. Many had sufficient warning that they were able to escape; some however did not, and their skeletons were found by archaeologists huddled together in boat houses on what would have in those days been the beach.
See my Transportation tips about the Circumvesuviana train to Herculaneum, and my separate page for lots of details about the various sights.
- Historical Travel
Cava de tirreni
This small charming place is about 30 minutes from Naples. It is in the mountain and it has very good domestic atmosphere on the streets and squares. It is local place and there aren't many tourist all around like in the Naples. There you will expire the real Italian pastas and it is very cheap.
The Villa Comunale
The Villa Comunale is the most prominent and visible park in Naples and southern Italy. It was built in the 1780s by King Ferdinand IV (later known as Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies) on land reclaimed along the coast between the main body of the city and the small port of Mergellina. The park was originally a "Royal Garden", reserved for members of the royal family, but open to the public on special holidays such as the Festival of Piedigrotta
- Castles and Palaces