Naples is a bustling City on the southern coast of Italy. A little rough around the edges, it isn’t like any other Italian City I’ve been to – for instance, Naples isn’t the cleanest of cities and has a serious rubbish collection problem which doesn’t seem like it will change anytime soon. Having said that, it’s not as touristy as some other places across Italy and is definitely very authentic. Before visiting, I also heard a lot about Naples being unsafe – we didn’t experience any problems but, as in most places, you should take care of your belongings. I wouldn’t recommend walking around very late at night, mainly because the streets aren’t very well lit.
We only had one full day to explore Naples but managed to pack in a lot. Here’s a few things you should do:
1) Eat pizza, and lots of it! After all, you’re in the birth place of pizza 😁 I would highly recommend L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele. Their margheritas are amazing! And, it’s also the place that Julia Roberts goes to in Eat, Pray, Love! Sorbillo is another place we tried in the Mergellina area – awesome pizzas with cheeses I’d never heard of!
2) Walk down Mergellina, by the coast. Lots of restaurants and nice views of Vesuvius and the bay. When the weather is good, it’s the place where all the locals hang out!
3) Naples does both Pizzas and Piazzas oh so well – head to Piazza del Plebiscito for some grand architecture.
4) Be sure to visit Palazzo Reale in Piazza Plebiscito, a beautiful palace in the heart of Naples. Highlight for me was the stunning staircase when you enter the palace and the beautiful Teatrino di Corte, a lavish private theatre.
5) The National Archealogical Museum is also a must as it holds many of the original mosaics and frescos from Pompeii as well as a number of other ancient artefacts and sculptures. Make sure you check in advance if there’s a particular gallery you want to see as sometimes, due to staff shortages, parts of the museum are closed. A real highlight for me was the Toro Farnese sculpture which depicts the death of Dirce, Queen of Thebes. It is carved from a single block of marble – unbelievable when you see the detail.
Top tip: most museums are free on the first Sunday of the month!
Although Naples is usually a stopover for most people heading to the splendid Amalfi Coast and Pompeii, I don’t think it gets the kudos it deserves. I admit that it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but it’s definitely worth a visit if you want to experience a different side of Italy!