Culture

The Beginner’s Guide to Naples


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Naples gets a bad rap. Mafia, pickpockets, dirty streets. But there is so much more to Naples than its stereotypes. There is a lot to explore in and around Naples, and you would be missing out to skip over it. If you love food, and I mean L O V E, then Naples is your perfect destination.

Where to Stay in Naples

When looking at places to stay in Naples, don’t be put off by the city’s reputation. The city center is safe, and actually a really cool scene to explore. You can quickly access all there is to see in Naples, and easily get out and explore the region.

Check out the hotels in the area of Piazza Bellini or Decumani for some elegant buildings, and proximity to the city’s best sights.

What and Where to Eat in Naples

Naples is most known for their style of Pizza. Pizza Napoletana. This is Naples’ claim to fame, this is the birthplace of pizza!

On our Amalfi Coast Vacations, we actually learn how to make this special pizza from scratch in our private villa. If you’re in Naples, and can only eat one meal, my vote goes to the Pizza Napoletana. But there is so much to eat in Naples, spend some time and get to know the food culture in the city. Seafood in Naples is also fresh and plentiful, a popular dish is spaghetti alle vongole, which is spaghetti with clams.

Pizza in Naples

L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele

This pizzeria was founded in 1870 and is still run by the same family. L’Antica Pizzeria is located close to the Naples train station, so it would make for a great stop if you don’t have much time in Naples.

Neapolitan Pizza

Di Matteo Pizzeria

This is a wonderful pizzeria in Naples. Another awesome thing to try here is their Pizza Fritta. Naples is well known for their pizza, but they are also famous for their fried foods. Combine the two and you get Pizza Fritta.

Pizza Fritta

Getting Tired of Pizza?

Pescheria di Napoli

This is a wonderful fresh seafood restaurant. Off the beaten path, this seafood restaurant is frequented mostly by locals. This place has a set menu with only the freshest ingredients, for about 30 Euros per person, you get about 9 courses of food. The staff speak little to no English, this is a real authentic experience, download the Google Translate app before eating here, and bring your appetite.

B-Factory

It may be hard to believe, but there is a chance that you will get tired of pizza and pasta. I never could, but I’ve heard that it happens. If you need a break and want to experience something different in Naples, this is a wonderful choice. More than the food here, is the view. This place is very popular, but you can make a reservation online through TripAdvisor to eat here.

It’s Wine Time

Libreria Berisio

This is a really unique and cool spot. It is an old used book store, and a wine and cocktail bar. They still sell books, you can sip on your wines or specialty cocktails, and peruse the books. They just ask that you put the books back where you found them.

Oak Wine and Craft Beer Bar

Oak Wine and Craft Beer Bar

This is a cool little spot in Naples for nightlife. It has a large selection of beers, (which is not common in Italy), wines and snacks. Away from the commotion of the buy streets, this is a nice hideout to sit back, enjoy a drink and listen to good music. They even have an iPad that you can add songs onto a playlist, a modern jukebox.

Don’t Skip the Gelato!

Casa Infante

This is one of the most popular gelato spots in Naples. Although there are several locations now, it started as a small family gelato shop. They use the freshest and best ingredients and make truly artisanal gelato. They have original flavors like chocolate orange, toast and jelly, and strawberry cheesecake, classic flavors like pistachio, white chocolate, and tiramisu, and seasonal flavors like apricot, peach and banana. The shop is usually very crowded but is regarded as the best gelato in Naples.

Mennella il Gelato

This gelato shop is all about completely natural and organic ingredients. In 1969 Antonio Mennella founded this as a pastry shop. Today they are still a pastry shop, gelato shop, and they make their own almond milk! Almond milk in southern Italy is a little different than we’re used to. It’s much sweeter, and has a much stronger almond flavor, but definitely worth trying.

Pastries Anyone?

Antico Forno delle Sfogliatelle Calde Fratelli Attanasio

This bakery is famous for their Sfogliatelle. They have been baking since 1930 and the recipe hasn’t changed. The freshest ingredients all made by hand with love. This bakery is very close to the Naples train station, so its easy to grab some sfogliatelle on the way to catch your train.

Sfogliatelle

Things to do in Naples

Vesuvio

You can’t really go to Naples and not visit Vesuvio right? You can take a taxi or a bus to Vesuvius and hike up to the top of the active volcano for beautiful views. It takes 40 min to an hour to climb to the top, bring a jacket because it is cooler up at the top.

Hiking Vesuvius

Pompeii and Herculaneum 

If you’re not going to hike vesuvius (no judgement over here). You should still visit Pompeii and Herculaneum. It’s super easy to access from Naples, just get on a Circumvesuviana train toward Sorrento. Pompeii is a Roman town frozen in time, as a result of a devastating eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. You can explore the houses, see the shops, baths and brothels. Pompeii is better known, but also much more crowded, Herculaneum is lesser known, less crowded, and better preserved. On our Amalfi Coast Vacations, we actually take a day trip out of the Amalfi Coast to visit Pompeii.

National Archeological Museum

Truly amazing collection of ancient Roman and Greek art. This has some of the most extensive collections of Romand and Greek artifacts in the world. One of the most interesting draws are the artifacts that have been rescued from Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Basilica of Santa Chiara 

Along with being the final resting places of kings, queens, and the mighty, there’s the simple grave of Salvo D’Acquisto, a carabinieri (police officer) who sacrificed himself during the Second World War in order to save the lives of 22 citizens. He is rightfully considered an Italian national hero.

Via Caracciolo e Lungomare di Napoli

This is a lovely walk with a wonderful view of the sea. There are nice seafood restaurants, gelato shops, and overall nice break from the chaos of Naples.

Lungomare di Napoli

Teatro di San Carlo

This is the oldest running Opera house in all of Europe and it is absolutely stunning. If you can, try to book a concert here, however. even if there is no show during your stay, you can still walk around and take a tour of this breathtaking theatre.

Underground Naples

This is not for the claustrophobic, 136 steps under Naples, about 40 meters below ground, is a maze of underground passages. See evidence of the ancient city, the cavern used as a water cistern since the 4th century, walk through the tunnels used as raid shelters in World War II.

Underground Naples

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