Date of stay: 3 times between 2005 and 2009
Where you stayed: B&B Firenze
Travelled with: Friends and twice as a couple
Tour or pre planned: Pre-planned
Many people think twice about going to Naples, mainly because of the bad rap it often unjustifiably gets. I must admit, the first impression you get when you arrive at the main train station leaves a lot to be desired. Dirty rubbish strewn about everywhere, homeless people rummaging around and dodgy street salesmen trying to flog off stolen/broken electronic goods.
But if you look past all that and get to know the REAL Naples, you will be in for a treat. After all, you wouldn’t judge London by the time you spent at Heathrow Airport would you? And if you’ve been watching too many godfather movies, don’t worry about the Mafia being on every street corner. Overall, Naples is a pretty safe place.
I’ve been to Naples 3 times now and I still wish I could’ve spent more time there. It is actually a very picturesque town, situated on the west coast of Italy by the Gulf of Naples, and is known for its rich history, culture, architecture and especially food, among others.
The Bay of Naples is a sight for sore eyes and has a certain aura about it. With the mighty Mt. Vesuvius looming over the whole city, it is a constant reminder to the locals of the destructive power that it displayed al those many years ago.
There is plenty to see and do in Naples, mostly accessible by foot but there are also plenty of trams and buses around to catch if you are venturing out a bit further. Highlights include:
- Magnificent churches dating back as far as 1200AD, such as the Cattedrale di San Gennaro, and San Lorenzo Maggiore, where beneath it an ancient underground Roman market has been excavated and is open to the public.
- Piazza del Plebiscito, a vast square with an impressive church at its centre which is reminiscent of the Pantheon in Rome.
- Teatro Di San Carlo, which is the oldest active theatre in Europe. You can take a little tour inside and see the theatre’s sheer brilliance.
- Castel Nuovo, an enormous strange castle/church hybrid which is unlike anything you’ve probably seen before, and definitely a must-see.
- It’s also worth visiting the National Archaeological Museum, full of many artifacts from the Roman Empire and a great many from Pompeii.
Of course, a trip to Naples wouldn’t be complete without a walk along the bay. There are markets and restaurants lining the bay and it becomes vibrant at night.
You can also arrange a day climb up the mighty Mt. Vesuvius or catch a train to visit Pompeii, all within easy access of Naples.
The food. Well, what can I say; it is nothing short of magnificent. Pizza originated in Naples, and while many agree that it is the best in the world, some have reported otherwise. Don’t expect pizza to be great everywhere. Much the same as in the rest of Italy, if you grab a slice from touristy areas and big pizza joints with flashy signs, you are bound to stuff sub-standard pizza into your mouths. However if you go where the locals go, merely having your first bite will push your pizza standards up a few notches permanently. I highly recommend a place called ‘Da Michele’. They only serve 2 types of Pizza; Margherita or Marinara, but in Naples, simplicity is always best!
Check out this Link for a great list of pizza places to go to in Naples, several of which I have been lucky enough to sample.
The most memorable place I stayed at was the B&B Firenze, a mere 200m from the train station, but is a world away from the train station itself. They have great little apartments with balcony’s overlooking the city. The location is perfect for exploring the city by foot and the service is also great. I tend to find a balance between price, location and cleanliness when I look at places to stay, and this place ticked all three boxes.
If you have any questions about Naples, drop a comment below and I’d be happy to answer.
Points to highlight: A beautiful bay, magnificent food, amazing architecture and a rich history/culture define Naples as in a league of its own compared to the rest of Italy. Well worth at least 2-3 days of exploring, especially if you want to soak in what this city has to offer. Look past the first impressions and you won’t be disappointed.
Would you recommend this destination: Yes
Would you recommend your tour: N/A Preplanned
Would you recommend your accomodation: Yes
Overall rating: 3/5
By: Luke Falkner