We left Naples with one simple question: how on Earth does this city manage its existence? How? Gorgeously beautiful in its disastrous decay, Naples looks like an autonomous organism which doesn’t need any external support to live. Which, of course, is not the case. Second biggest city of Italy, it is also one of the poorest and most dilapidated cities of Europe, Naples is considered as the “soul of Italy”, while Rome being its heart. Perhaps. No need to deny that its authentic dying beauty is striking and impressive, Naples, however, will leave a perplexed confusion for a non-prepared tourist.
Why Visit Naples ?
Too authentic I would even say. You don’t feel the pressure of the crowds of tourists like in Rome or Venice, and you can be sure as hell that a restaurant you will walk in will be of a good quality unlike the tourist traps with five-language menus. Feel free to practice the little Italian you’d rather possess – it will be helpful.
We all agree that beauty doesn’t consist in a perfectly clean and tidy sightseeing spot kindly established by a guidebook. Prepare yourself for a European Havana. :)
Probably it should have been the reason number one. Pizza is one of the most famous meals in the world and it was created in Naples. It doesn’t mean that it’s particularly delicious in Naples, but you can literally feel how you touch something important in human culture and history. Like seeing Mona Lisa in Paris or touching the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
When? Where? For how long?
Our trip took place in the middle of November and, I must say, we never regretted this decision. Pleasant chill and no tourists whatsoever (in Italian standards, naturally) in exchange for a short daylight. More reasons to be up earlier!
In four full days you will have a decent walk in Naples, and two additional trips outside the city. Ideally a week would be great to have a glimpse at all amazing things around.
Go and see
The most common advice should be also applied to Naples: lose yourself in the old streets. As simple as that.
Like any Italian city it contains so many ancient historical buildings that you are guaranteed to lose your head in the list of churches and chapels. However, make sure you check out:
The Heart of Naples, the old Centre which includes the ancient Greek and Roman towns is a certain must.
A poor and overcrowded area, and yet…
Chiaia Sea Front
If you take a funicular to Stazione Cimarosa you will find yourself in a different Naples. More looking like Rome and French Côte d’Azur, it’s obvious that it is aimed for another kind of population. If you get there early in the morning, you’ll see a fantastic sunrise.
Don’t be surprised when…
…you think yourself dead at least twenty times per day due to the hectic traffic.
…your bill in the restaurant is slightly modified with no reason at all.
…you are offered to buy cigarettes from at least three different sellers during your lunch on a terrace…
…and feel obliged to pay the musicians who will play just over your head. Still in that bloody restaurant.
…you don’t realize that you stand in front of something important because it’s hidden under the trash.
…you accidentally lose your possessions. Just the sad statistics.
…the central streets are so densely packed that you will find it difficult to force your way through.
What to eat?
Hmmm, difficult to say. What about this?
Jokes and pizzas aside, you should also try Sfogliatella – a pastry which is common for the region of Campania. It’s sold pretty much everywhere, so make sure you don’t leave without an enormous calorie bomb.
Mozzarella. But a true mozzarella made from buffalo milk. The difference will knock you down.
One address you need to note though: Osteria La Chitarra . For a more than just a reasonable price you can get there a real festivity for your taste sensors. Exquisite menu, simple but beautiful presentation and every bite is a revelation. It’s not an advertisement, but it’s a sincere advice.
What to do if you have an extra (or better -5) day?
Luckily, Naples is a gateway for different glorious trips. I wish we had two days more to squeeze them all, but we’ll have to content ourselves with your feedback. So let’s see.
There is hardly anyone who hasn’t heard about Pompeii – a Roman city destroyed by a volcano. Unique atmosphere among the ruins that must be seen at least once in a lifetime.
Read the full article: A Visit Guide to Pompeii
Climbing the famous volcano? Do it and tell us how it went.
Read the full article: Inside the volcano: climbing Vesuvius’ crater by Lucy from On the Luce
A tiny island, which steals hearts. Beware.
Read the full article: 2 Destinations From Naples: Procida & Ischia
Another island, another everything.
One more island, Capri, is touristy destination, but looks like it’s worth it.
Check out Scarlett’s blog Petite Suitcase – she created a wonderful collection of posts about Italy, including Naples: beautiful pictures, sincere texts. Recommended!