Naples, situated on the northern part of the Gulf of Naples, stretches over 10 km at amphitheatre between Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields extending to the surrounding hills connected to the lower parts of the city by cable cars. The capital city of the Campania region, Naples is the biggest Italian port and a beautiful place to visit not only for the beauty of the surroundings, but also for the historical ruins, the people’s jovial and friendly approach and the cultural and artistic heritage. Its illustrious past is evident in the monuments, the churches and the fine architecture of the buildings. Naples is a city characterised by contrasts, next to the elegant and stylish buildings are narrow and dark streets with overpopulated old blocks, artistically the mixture of cultures that have marked the millenary history is evident from just walking around where Greek walls, castles, Romanesque churches and Gothic ones happily coexist contributing to Naples charm. The waterfront is picturesque with the luxury hotels and the stylish buildings gradually rising to Posillipo Hill. The view over the coast is spectacular with the charming harbour of Santa Lucia crammed with fishing boats.
The birthplace of pizza, Naples is famous the world over for the good food and the Mediterranean way of life, its arts and craft and a colourful nightlife that, like in all Mediterranean cities, evolves on the streets.
When visiting Naples, take time to walk along the waterfront where Castel dell’Ovo, a large fortress from the 12th century that is a dominant presence. The famous Piazza Municipio and Piazza Plebiscito are two important squares in Naples; the latter has two equestrian statues in the middle, one depicting Ferdinand I and the other, by Canova, Carlo the Bourbon. Walk down via Toledo, one of the Neapolitans’ favourite spots.
Visit the splendid 18th century Capodimonte Royal Palace, where, as well as the royal ornaments, you can admire the fine art collections featuring works by some of the finest Italian painters such as Titian, Caravaggio, Mosaccio and Mantega. Castel Nuovo better known as Maschio Angioino, one of the most famous monuments in Naples, was the stronghold of the Angevin power first and of the Aragonese later. The external appearance of the fortress is extremely powerful with its majestic walls with towers rising on all four corners: San Giorgio Tower, Middle Tower and the Guard Tower. Between the last two is the splendid Alfonso d’Aragona Triumph Arch.
Pompeii is an outstanding attraction and should not be missed. Frozen in time as a result of a cataclysmic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD, the site has been unearthed by archaeologists during the last centuries. Like Pompei, Herculaneum was destroyed by the Vesuvius eruption and the over 10 metres of lava that covered it for centuries preserved the state of the buildings and of the objects that were recovered after the excavations. Herculaneum excavations have brought to light a portion of a city rather well preserved where one can still admire the architecture of the buildings.
Pizza is no doubt the landmark of Neapolitan food. With really ancient origins, pizza was around already during the Roman period in focaccia form as tomato was not yet known. It was enjoyed by the poor and the rich alike. During a visit of Margherita of Savoy to Naples in 1889, the pizza maker Raffaele Esposito created a pizza with tomato, mozzarella and basil in her honour, which has been called “pizza margherita” ever since. Neapolitan food is rich of pasta dishes cooked in many different ways as well as fish and seafood recipes. Before pasta was invented soup used to be the main dish in the Neapolitan culinary tradition, which is a two-ingredient based soup called “minestra maritata” which means “married soup”. The two ingredients are usually meat and vegetables combined, although the richness of the soup depended on the economical status of the family.
A typical Neapolitan meal consists of a first course of either “spaghetti vongole” or seafood risotto, followed by a second course of fish or meat that could range from oven baked sea bream and fish casserole to “cozze alla marinara” (mussels in white wine and parsley), seafood salad or escalope in pizzaiola style (meat cooked in tomato and oregano).
The meal is always ended with true Italian coffee and the traditional local drink Limoncello, which is a strong lemon liqueur consumed as a digestive drink.
National Archaeological Muesum
Opening hours: everyday from 9-19.30; closed on Tuesday
Museum and National Galleries of Capodimonte
Parco di Capodimonte
Opening hours: 8.30-19.30
National Museum of San Martino
Vomero, next to Castel Sant’Elmo
Opening hours: 8.30 – 19.30; closed on Monday
The Royal Palace Museum
Opening hours: 9.00 – 20.00; closed on Wednesday
Civic Museum of Castel Nuovo (Maschio Angioino)
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 9.00 – 19.00
National Rail Museum
Corso San Giovanni a Teduccio
Opening hours: 9-14
Excavations of the Duomo
Under the Cathedral
Opening hours: 9-12 and 16.30-19
Pan – Palazzo delle arti Napoli
Palazzo Roccella Via dei Mille ,60
Opening hours: weekdays 9.30 – 19.00; Sunday 9.30-14; closed on Tuesday
This is only a selection of the many events taking place every year in Naples and surrounding area.
Regatta of the maritime republics: Amalfi, Genoa, Pisa and Venice
The regatta takes place on the first or second Sunday in June with a different scenario each year. Every former republic sends out its galleon in mock combat and to race alongside other craft.
Classical Theatre and Opera
Classical theatre and operas take place in Benevento 62 km. northeast of Naples, in a Roman theatre setting.
Classical theatre representations in the archaeological area of Paestum 37 km south of Salerno.
Neapolitan Song Festival
Music festival taking place every year on the first 10 days of September.
International Film Festival
Film festival for 8 and 16mm films taking place on the last 10 days of September in Salerno
Festival for San Gennaro – 19 September
Celebrations in honour of Naples’ patron saint usually begin on September 16th and continue until the Sunday after the saint’s day, which falls on September 19th. The event includes a fascinating religious procession, with rose petals and silver statues of saints and with more pagan celebrations that involve the whole city.
Maremoda Fashion Show
Fashion show taking place every year in Capri.
A fair dedicated to pasta featuring exhibitions, workshops and pasta tasting. The event takes place on the seafront in Piazza Municipio opposite the commanding Maschio Angioino.
December – January
Capri Hollywood 2006
The XI edition of Capri’s Film Festival.
From the Airport
Capodichino Airport is situated in the district by the same name very close to the city centre. It is only 5 minutes away from the Central Train Station. The best way to get to the city is by Alibus, a special bus that links the airport with the Central Train Station and Piazza Municipio.
Taxis are also a good option as the distance is not great; the cost of the journey to certain areas such as the station or many hotels on the Caracciolo Waterfront are set fees and should be exposed inside the vehicle.
Given the proximity of the airport to the city, large airfreights don’t land in Naples. Therefore intercontinental flights cannot be direct from Naples but will need to change at Rome or Milan.
Buses are the most economic medium to get to all destinations outside the city. There are buses connecting Naples with other major Italian and European cities. The bus is also the quickest way to get to other cities in the region. The main companies offering bus and coach service are the CTP and SITA, as well as other private companies with routes covering almost all small southern Italian cities.
Naples’ main Train Station is Stazione Centrale in Piazza Garibaldi. This station is well connected with the rest of the city thanks to the Metropolitan Line 2, the Circumvesuviana line, the railway covering the towns around Vesuvius, as well as the city buses, trams and coaches to/from other cities in the Campania region.
Other railway stations are Napoli Margellina and Napoli Campi Flegrei. All the stations are linked by the Metropolitan line 2.
Moving around Naples
Naples has 2 metropolitan lines, 4 cable-car lines, an extra-urban light rail that is also useful to move within the city. There is also a tram, bus and trolley-bus network to choose from.
Taxis are readily available in Naples and can be simply stopped on the street.