Colonel Mustard Image
01/13/2010 - 09:31

I may have mentioned that my wife and I are wanting "to do" Naples this year.  Any help on where best to visit and where not to bother with would be helpful. I am trying to find as much info before we go and do some research on the the place. Is there any threads on Naples here before I start another? They say about  Naples, Naples is not Italy, it is a small planet on it's own, where people obey different laws and have different values & carry on a Neopolitan lifestyle. Sounds exciting, intriguing & a little bit frightening. 


Hi  to look at what exist in the community site, you should type a keyword in the box on the right sidebar, titled "community search". To find out travel stories about Naples, type a keyword such as "naples" in another search box, which is placed on the top of the website. Which kind info are you looking for? (things to do, places to visit or where to eat?). If you are looking for accommodation, you should find sth in the Accommodation (third tab of the main menu) typing Naples or Naples province in the search box on the accommodation page. Hope this helps. Valentina

Hi colonel! What a good choice to go and see Naples...I personally love Naples and ahve lived there for some years. so please do not hesitate to ask for whatever you would like to know, even if I guess I would not be impartial :-)  I will try and give you a smattering of things to do and see. Naples in one of the oldest cities in the world and you will certainly see this from the urban structure, buildings and streets. For example the streets have been left that way on purpose, so don't think Naples did not have the chance to make new ones - it would just not be the same without "dancing" on the streets when driving/riding on. the first thing you have to know is that you cannot go to Naples and eat Pizza. I really would recommend Da Michele (near Piazza Nicola Amore on the Rettifilo, which is one of the main streets of Naples that leads from the train station directly to Piazza Plebiscito) which is one of the oldest pizzerias in Naples, where pizza is a real delicacy - or Pizzeria Brandi, near Piazza Plebiscito, the central and main open city square in Naples with Palazzo Reale on the one side and and Church of San Francsesco da Paola on the other side. Nearby is the Teatro San Carlo, the oldest and largest italian opera house. Directly across is Galleria Umberto. Unfortunately you won't see too much of it, as it is being rebuilt these days - hopefully they have finished when you'll be there. When in the Galleria, try the "promesse" in the tiny cake won't regret it :-) There are so many things to do and see I cannot write down at one go! Naples is just exciting and you are right when saying they have their own way of life...that makes them so special! Just ask if you want t oknow more!... Best, Monica  

 You havn't seen Italy till you've seen Napoli. the most wonderous,vibrant, alive & unique place in Italy (I'm biased though as my wife's a Nepolitan)  The food is arguably the best in Italy; the Pizza definately the best, also the coffee. The people are warm, friendly and have a unique sense of humour. Visit Spaccanapoli for the true taste of Naples. Like any other big city though, do stick to the main areas after dark, as crime is a problem in some areas; but just be sensible and you'll love it. The underground tunnels and homes are worth a visit too.

Thank you so much for your responses to my post. Valentina, you ask me what I want to know, well, I really don't know what. Just everything about Naples that's  exciting I suppose. Not just where to eat, where to stay. I want Naples brought to life. Monica, you are so good with your descriptions maybe you could do a sort of commentry on Naples.  Gromit, you too. It certainly has made our future visit seem more exciting. Thanks again.

Gromit hit in on the nail: you haven't seen anything about Italy if you haven't seen Naples! However, here some things worth seeing: When near Piazza Plebiscito and Galleria Umberto, walk through Via Toledo, which is one of the main business and shopping streets. Here you can also find the funicolare, the funicular railway, that takes you to Vomero. Don't forget to do the funny joke when in Piazza Plebiscito: you will find two statues (charles III borbone and Ferdinand I) - try to position yourself in front of them but exactly between them and patch your eyes. Try to walk straight won't manage to do it! The trick is that the light inclination of the surface of the piazza makes you change direction without knowing it. But have a try...maybe you will be lucky! What I also recommendo is to go and see San Gregorio Armeno, the street entirely dedicated to Creches or nativity scenes, workshops and stores that are open during all year. You won't find just traditional figures, but also up-to date ones..last time I have been there, they had George Clooney with his italian girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis, wounded Berlusconi, football players...great to see and to take pictures of. Don't forget to buy at least one "corno" - a red chilli pepper - which is the most important lucky charm in Naples! But do not buy it for yourself! To really work and bring luck, somebody else has to give it to you...(let your wife buy it :-) Near San Gregorio you can find Spaccanapoli  - litterally split Naples, as this street really divides New and old Naples and is the heart ofthe historic centre. Mainly a pedestrian zonewith very narrow streets and beautiful old buildings and cafès! Go and see the Cathedral of San Gennaro, Naple's patron! and do not miss the Bay as well, visiting Castel nuovo, Castel Dell'ovo and Mergellina! The most important thing: do not forget to bring comfortable shoes! :-) Hope I could help a bit more! Please let us know about your trip then... Monica

Do you know my wife and I think you should write a travel section on here. I think you said, did you not, that you had lived in other places in Italy? Do write more if you can think of anything. We love it.

In reply to by Colonel Mustard

we was just thinking of creating a travel diary section within the community site. don't know exactly when it will be created, but the idea is in the brush up your minds and start thinking of what you could write down!

Napoli is great but yes, it can be a little frightening at times so keep your wits about you. Has this been quoted on this forum before? "In MIlan traffic lights are instructions, in Rome they are suggestions and in Naples they are Christmas decorations'"  Love it! My personal recommendation is the National Archeological Museum -  specifically for the Farnese sculptures including the Farnese Bull which is absolutely huge and pretty amazing. Here's the wiki link: Enjoy!

 Hi Colonel! Naples is a fascinating city and in order to fully enjoy it, start reading as many history books you can find on the place. Naples developed from Greek times to what it is today through a very complicated pattern of events and under different influences. To understand how all of this shaped modern Naples is vital in order to fully enjoy your visit. My husband and I always do this whenever we visit a new city and it helps us enormously. Besides, preparing the trip is practically as much fun as travelling.

Colonel , Thank you very much for your kind words...I may thing about your suggestion and maybe write a bit more... Yes I have lived in several parts of Italy and love the simple traditions of every single place, paying attention to what I see and do. Travelling is not just having a look at Museums and historical buildings, but means living like you would be part of thta city! That makes travelling so fantastic I guess! Hope to tell you more soon...but please keep us updated about your trip. Tartuffa, your quotation about Neapolitan traffic lights are so right :-) :-) Best, Monica

The mayor of Naples once had this exchange regarding traffic lights in Naples. Interviewer:  What's the significance of red? Mayor: Stop Interviewer : Green? Mayor: Go Interviewer: And Orange? Mayor: Orange is for joy

 I'm so happy that some of the members wrote interesting things about Napoli. I was raised in the New York area & the majority of Italians are from the South, specificaly the area around Napoli. A more warm & lively people are difficult to find. How does the saying go? Put a wooden spoon in the hand of a Napolitano to stir the sugo & they'll start singing......Vito

I'm told that the hill of Vomero has one of the most wonderful views of Naples. Any other views worth visiting?  My wife would love to listen to some outdoor music in Naples. Where best to find it, and would one have to book long before? Any walking trails in Naples that are worth a visit. And of course, Caravaggio's where to see in Naples.

There used to be a member on here who appeared to know all anyone ever needed to know about Naples. Unfortunately she's no longer with us (?) If you can look in the old Forums archives, if that is possible, you may find lots more on Naples there already. 

As for outdoor Music, I can't help butjust say that you will certainly find any music when in Naples. Folkloristic music is offered almost every evening in different places - just ask for more info when there, they will surely help you find the right place! As for Caravaggio, and in general Art in Naples, I have read that an there will be an exhibit event that involves the entire city of Naples and its most important museum sites: “Return to the Baroque” offers six themed exhibits in as many sites – Capodimonte Museum, Castel Sant'Elmo, Carthusian Church and San Martino Museum, the Duca di Martina Museum, the Villa Pignatelli Museum, and the Palazzo Reale – and includes the entire city and the surrounding area with fifty-one itineraries in the Baroque places, churches, Carthusian monasteries, collegiate churches, palaces and regional museums.  The cultural and artistic event is marked by three key moments: Caravaggio's arrival in Naples in 1606, Luigi Vanvitelli and Ferdinando Fuga's presence in the city (1750), and Charles of Bourbon's departure for Spain (1759). Over five-hundred works are on display, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, interior-design pieces, textiles, jewels, ceramics and china, from Italian and international private collections and museums. The exhibits are subdivided as follows: the Capodimonte Museums hosts drawings from public and private collections covering a century and a half of sacred histories, displayed in the exhibit “Sacred and Secular Stories from Caravaggio to Francesco Solimena, 1606-1747;” at Castel Sant'Elmo are on display restored paintings and objets d'art from 1600 to 1750, as well as period photographs from Luciano Pedicini; the Carthusian Church and the Museum of San Martino hosts Baroque sculptures and historical portraits with artistic images of the city of Naples; the Pignatelli Museum hosts the themed exhibit on the Baroque still lifes and the Palazzo Reale is home to an exhibit entirely dedicated to architecture, urban design and cartography, from Domenico Fontana to Ferdinando Sanfelice. One section focuses on the Baroque decorations and interior design from the Historical Apartment. Think it goes until April 11th....hopefully you will be there by that date! Hope to have answered your question. You see ... I fell in love with Naples and hope you will do as well... Best, Monica

I almost gave up on getting any reply from my post. So, "Thank You" again Monica. This information, I'm sure some will say, can be found by trawling the internet but, someone who loves Naples as much as you do makes it more alive and real. I do hope Valentina does get the Travel Section going. You will be my first port of call for all our travels in Italia.

While taking coffee with my neighbour yesterday I mentioned that my wife and I were thinking of spending most of our next vacation in Naples. With a look of horror my neighbour said that "Naples, is a particular kind of place", I assume that he does not think much of Naples. He commented that, "You will or won't like Naples". This of course is my clumsy attempts at translation of his italian. Funny though, he did say that the Isola de Capri was beautiful. He also said that the Italian the Neopolitans speak is brutta, and he did not understand a word they were saying! He told me to carry no visable valuables, cameras, watches, bags etc as these will be gone in minutes. He also said "The Neopolitans are all ladri" Hmmm, my wife is now rapidly going off the idea, but I am inclined to take it with a pinch of salt, although the warning about Neopolitan thieves seems to be a universal one.

 "T"The warning about Neopolitan thieves seems to be a universal one." I must admit - when I visited Naples, on the way to the Amalfi coast, I felt very 'unsafe' as I walked through the streets.  It may just be reputation, but it had a threatening atmosphere, as far I was concerned.  I kept thinking of that phrase "See Naples and die"  [Wrong context, I know, but thats how it felt to me] However, the Amalfi coast was fantastic.  Spent a week walking the coast - absolutely shattered at the end of each day, [pathways were at the top of the cliffs - hotels at the bottom], but what a coastline! Positano was wonderful, and Sorrento wasn't that bad [apart from the hordes of UK pensioners on cheap holidays who seemed to spend all day discussing which Hotel did the best breakfast].  The area around Sorrento itself is beautiful Capri, once you get out of the main square and start exploring the island is fascinating [wonderful coastal pathway] - a great day out

Do you know why it is said: "See Naples and die?" Actually you cannot translate it this way, as "Vedi Napoli a poi muori" has a completely different meaning. In ancient times, after Naples, there was a small town called Muori (traslated: die!) people who were asked for road signs, they were told: pass through Naples and you will see Muori. Then, after Renaissance, it became a saying that once you've seen Naples, you don't need to see anything even if you die instantly, you've seen the most beautiful part of the world. Nothing to do with crime... However, Colonel, I truly believe that thieves in Naples and not more frequent than in other huge Italian cities (guess Milan has even higher rates), this is just a sad prejudice. However, what I would recommed: do not behave as tourist...take it easy and do no try to show you're frightened about everything around you...this is the best way you can arouse thief's interests. As long as you try to carry your bag on the front instead of on your shoulder and don't put your wallet in your hip pocket, you will see that nothing will happen to you. A very good friend of mine would have loved to see Naples so many times, but people always told her not to go because of all these nice things you were told. Well, last year I took her to Naples and we stayed at Quartieri spagnoli (one of the most "hazardous" districts of Central Naples). Nothing happened to her, despite having her camera very visible night and day and she fell in love with Naples so much ( I tried to show her as much as we could do in just 3 days) that she thanks me every time  meet her, because she finally got rid off all the prejudices. Enjy your trip and judge yourself!!!

that maybe I am coming across as a little naive on this thread. I'm a fully grown man of the world, have been round the block a few times, and feel that I know full well how to conduct myself in front of Johnny Foreigner. My little posts are really about stimulating some input from someone that might tell me something that I DON'T know. But it's good to know that if I need some information on how to suck eggs, I might find it here.

There are many foreignes who not only visit naples but also actually live there! so to say it is to dangerous to visit is totally absurd Yes Naples problems are well documented but the chances of it effecting any one visiting are not much more than any major city.I have been privelaged to visit the city many times withouy any problems in fact my only problem is that I can not spend enough time there

Sfogliatelle are shell or cone shaped pastries. Means literary "many leaves/layers" as the pastry's texture resembles leaves stacked on each other. Usually filled with ricotta, but I love the ones filled with custard and a cherry in it or the onew with walnut cream! There are actually two different types of Sfogliatella Napoletana: la riccia (curly) and la frolla (don't know how to translae this, sorry!), but it is a less refined pastry that does not form the more labor intensive authentic sfogliatelle dough's characteristic layers. I attached two pictures...have a look!   sfogliatella ricciafrolla