The most charming Italian city: Naples


It has been so long since I wanted to post about Naples. I actually went through my huge collection several times in order to narrow down a reasonable number of photos to put together a post. It is insanely difficult to select "only" 20 photos when a city is such a diamond, as Naples is. 
The city is the third largest city in Italy, counting ore than 3 million people (metropolitan area). It is the capital of the region "Campania", and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited urban areas in the world. Locals are very aware of their history (and rightfully very proud of it). The city has it all:
  • Amazing architecture: both well-reserved ancient sites, modern parts, "villas", folksy neihbourhoods, fancy areas;
  • Arguable the best (overall) food in Italy, which at the same time is totally afforable: I have had the best pizzas I have ever had (Michelin star pizzerias serving for 4 euros), incredible pasta dishes (make sure to try a dish with fresh fish, and some other time with potatoes and provola, and some other time with napoletan ragu... and... oh lord, there is not end to this list);
  • Quick access to incredible beaches (having Amalfi Coast, Ischia, Capri, Procida etc. in distances reachable within an hour);
  • Quick access to archeological sites (i.e. Pompei, Herculaneum, Paestum...).
I had the luck to live in Naples for more than a year. I worked, made friendships, travelled and tasted in Campania, which grew in me, becoming an absolute favourite and must-see destination in Italy. The only negative thing I have to report, and please be careful about it: the city is dangerous for your weight. I gained 4 kilos in 3 months. 






The city is built on a hill. It is not "equipped" with public trasnportation at the level of other European cities, but it has "funicolare", which you can think it of as a cable car, taking you from the city center, all the way to the top part of the city. I think there are three of those, but maybe I am wrong. I have only used the one picking you from the city center, bringing you to "Vomero", the city part on the top of the hill. 
Please do not skip this part if you visit Naples. Go to the top of the hill (spend one hour at "Castel del Elmo" if you want to have the best view possible of Naples), and then walk your way down to the city center again, passing via the Spanish Quarters (quartieri spagnoli). On your way down, on a good sunny day (most of the days are like this), you will see in the horizon the popular island Capri. 
On your way down you can get an overview of all the popular landmarks of the city: Piazza Plebiscito, Spaccanapoli, the castles by the seaside (Castel Nuovo and Castel dell Ovo), Galleria Umberto I, and of course the Vesuvius in the background.




The spanish quarters used to have bad reputation (or so I was told). Nevertheless, they became extremely popular with tourists and small restaurants, flower shops, touristic shops and student bars are boosting this central neighbourhood, especially the part closer to the city's main street: via Toledo (previously known as via Roma). 
It was here where I was walking around during my first days in Naples, when I saw a place with a cloud of student screaming and dancing. I went closer and I saw that one popular place, selling spritz for 1 euro. Not that the rest of the student places are much expensive though. 
My recommendations for getting good food and drinks in the city:
  • Pizza. You most probably travelled here in order to taste the famous Neapoletan pizza, and you are right. The city offers A LOT of different local places for a great pizza experience. You can have a typical margherita or marinara, or scale it up to fancy topings, canzole, or even fried pizza. I believe that less is more, and the best pizza you can have is a margherita. The locals have their favourites, but my personal favourite places are: "50 kalò" and "l'Antica Pizzeria Da Michele". 
  • Pasta. There are so many good options, but if you are a tourist and want to reach places easily from the city center, you have to at least try pasta with "napoletan ragu" (try Tandem in the city center), pasta with fish (a famous place is "pescheria azzurra"), and pasta with potatoes and provola cheese (the most popular place, very affordable with decent food is "da nennella"). 
  • Sweets. DO NOT leave the city without trying:
    • Sfogliatella (take one riccia and one frolla, even though (spoilers) riccia is better);
    • Nuvolla;
    • Babà;
    • Zepolla;
    • Gelato from Mennella. 
  • Aperitivo. Do it like an italian and go for a glass of Spritz around 18.00. There are lots of different places, and I advice you try the area "chiaia" so that you find the one that matches your taste the most. My personal favourite: Barril.
  • Cocktail/Drink/Beer. It is a student city after all. There are so many places all over, so you will never have a hard time finding a place. Where did I go? Piazza Bellini (favourite place: the yard of the library, working also as a cafe/bar), and the bars on "via Candelora" (favourite place: "Kestè"). 
As a rule of thumb, a meal for two, include a bottle of wine will be around 20 euros per person, which can go down to 10 euros easily if you do not look for something fancy. 
Breakfast is around 2.5 euros (coffee and cornetto), a beer 3-5 euros, and a cocktail 8 euros. 
Not so many people speak English, so charge your phone and have google translate ready. When planning visiting Naples, plan to stay here 3 nights, if you want to discover all the major parts of the city properly. 










Overall 
Naples deserves more love and fame than it already has. I have visited 18 italian cities, and I am telling you, this is EASILY in the top 3. Naples will give you an amazing, cheap, cheerful experience and you will want to come back again and again. 
Food: 
City Charm: 
Siteseeing Opportunities: 
Nightlife: 
Transportation: 


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