Visit Naples on foot
Try our full itinerary along “Spaccanapoli”
Once in Naples the first people you will run into will be taxi drivers. Out of prejudices, a taxi ride implies a witty and often philosophical talk with interesting people.
To visit Naples, follow this route I recommend: ask the driver to bring you to San Martino, a Monastery perched atop Vomero hill, near Castel Sant’Elmo, where the rebels in 1799 took refuge, before being executed by hanging by order of Lord Nelson. On top the city view is breath-taking. Here you can find also the Museum of Christmas crib (presepio, in Italian).
Walk down towards the city centre along Spaccanapoli road. It is the old Decumano Inferiore, the Greek road that passed through the ancient Neapolis. Keep walking and get to Bellini square, where you can admire some Greek-Roman ruins and have lunch at the vegetarian restaurant “Il Sorriso Integrale” (that is “Wholemeal smile”).
The name Spaccanapoli is a local idiom, it means a road that passes straight through the city from North to South, dividing it into districts. It takes different names in the different areas it crosses: somewhere it is called Pasquale Scura street, somewhere else San Biagio dei Librai street or Benedetto Croce street (he used to live here, at number 3!).
Along the Spaccanapoli, you will run into Gesù Novo square, with Santa Chiara church and its wonderful courtyard. Near to San Domenico Maggiore square, there is San Severo chapel, so called from the alchemist who stripped the flesh from two bodies to show the cardiovascular system. It could sound a bit scaring, but the chapel is very interesting.
Nearby you can’t miss the church of San Gregorio Armeno: a local tradition is to set up different cribs, Italian Presepi, with some figurines representing actual characters from the past and the present. During Christmas time, this place is overcrowded on Saturday and Sunday, you should plan a walk in the weekdays.
Not far from here Nilo little square, which is famous for an hanging tableau with one of Maradona’s hairs!
Aren’t you tired yet? Walk back along the road through Dante square, Toledo street, Plebiscito square and the Royal Palace. Then your walk could continue to Castel dell’Ovo and its sea village, full of ships, restaurants and art galleries.
Of course, this is just one of the thousands sides of Naples. Another wonderful route could be the one through the subsoil of the city, that starts from Caffè Gambrinus… Next time!
Main pic courtesy of Flickr User Roberto Taddeo
Sant’Elmo pic courtesy of Flickr User Hillman54
Castel dell’Ovo pic courtesy of Flickr User Maritè Toledo
Visit Naples: helpful hints
Italian name: Napoli
Naples has its own international airport, connected to the city centre by a bus (it takes 15 minutes and it costs 5€). For transcontinental flights you have to stop in other airports, Rome is the closest one.
In Naples you find both buses, subways and funicular. The ticket is the same for all the transports and it costs 1,5€. For more information check the ANM website. If you prefer to visit the city on foot, here you can find an idea for you tour.
What to do
Naples is the capital city of Campania region, in Southern Italy. Naples is on a beautiful Gulf, extended from the Sorrento Peninsula to the volcaninc area called Phlegrean Fields, on the background the huge Vesuvius, one of the two active volcanoes in Italy. In the Gulf, three famous islands – Capri, Ischia and Procida. The historical centre of Naples is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995, the most important monuments are the Dome, Palazzo Reale and the Maschio Angioino.
Speaking of food, Naples is the city where Pizza is born!
Where to sleep
The best place to sleep in Naples is of course the city centre. Other very good alternatives are Posilippo and Vomero area, the harbor and the University area, the boardwalk and the more expensive Chiaia area.