Half day in Naples - what would you do?

Feb 12th, 2014, 08:24 AM
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Half day in Naples - what would you do?

Weather gods willing, next week in company with a dozen or so other italian students from our further education college, i will be heading to Sorrento for a week's language course. The format is the same as with other courses I've attended - lessons in the morning, the all important pause for lunch, then an excursion, one of which is to Naples.

This is what is planned by the college for our afternoon/evening in Naples:


The last time i went to Naples was 40 years ago, so my knowledge of the city is limited. I do know that I'd like to see the National museum of Archeology, [we'll be going to Pompeii earlier in the week] and wonder how that could fit into the above itinerary. Those of us on the trip who are "adults" can of course go off by ourselves, but before we decide to do so, I wonder if we would be missing out by going off by ourselves.

Thoughts, anyone?
annhig is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 09:16 AM
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I dont think you will miss much if you branch out on your own. I would do pizza (never been to P. Brandi), and either the Archeological Museum or Museo Cappella Sansevero (or both if you have time)?
eluckhardt is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 09:28 AM
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thanks, eluckhardt - I'll look up those museums and have a think.
annhig is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 09:29 AM
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Definitely the Archeological Museum.
travelhorizons is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 09:31 AM
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The Archeological Museum was wonderful. I spent several hours there but you could take a quick look in an hour or so and do something else as well. I haven't been to any of the other places mentioned so can't compare them.

You could start with your school excursion and then break off to see something on your own. It seems that there are lots of choices - hard to decide.
adrienne is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 10:24 AM
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I should have added that our italian teacher and group leader hails from Ischia, and she has led several groups to Sorrento before, so unlike in Rome last year, where I had the distinct impression that I knew the city at least as well as she did, she is definitely the expert this time round.

That said, I know that she has avoided the archeological museum more because of the perceived low concentration spans of the younger of her charges [most of our group are As/A level students who are aged 16-17] than for any other reason, and I would rather strike out and see some of the museums and churches of Naples than go shopping. OTOH, I am slightly worried about Naples' reputation and don't want to end up in a dodgy end of town!

is the Palazzo Reale worth seeing?
annhig is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 11:45 AM
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"is the Palazzo Reale worth seeing?"

If Blenheim Palace is your idea of the aesthetic highpoint of SE England, yes - from the outside for 0.3 nanoseconds. Otherwise....

First, fuggedabout "I am slightly worried about Naples' reputation and don't want to end up in a dodgy end of town". It's a proper city. Smells a tad worse than civilised ones, but though their hokey rubbish collection system would be a disgrace in a properly governed country, cosa vuoi? Sei in Italia and no-one's died from it recently. Just walk round.

As your Italian improves, you might be offended at some of the things you hear from the local neanderthals (your being grown up doesn't stop them) if you look English. Mrs F occasionally puts on her best Tuscan accent and asks them to repeat more clearly because she missed the last two words. Always works.

The real options, IMHO are:

- going up and down on the funicular system. Just another funicular, but it's the one that inspired Funiculi Funicula, and therefore that rugby song starting "Last night I stayed at home and pulled my...", so you get the opportunity to sing the real words without offending anyone

- the Archaeological Museum. I'm allergic to museums of the classical world. This almost cured me. It's simply the finest collection of Roman artefacts in the world. ONLY the BM's collection of Romano-Egyptian funeral portraits comes close. And it's not just modern Young People's attention span: when I was 18 I couldn't get out fast enough. Revisiting it a couple of years ago, I had to go to confession in one of the endless nearby churches to seek absolution for such appallingly insensitive behaviour.

You'll never fit it into a half day, but to avoid Museum Head you have to break your visit up (fortunately most of the upper storeys are ghastly, and well worth avoiding. The dirty bits are only a shade less soporific than Victorian porn). Pop outside. And don't miss the metro station, where you have to go through several layers of earlier Neapolises back to the 4th C BC to get to the trains

They don't allow readmission, and the catering inside the museum is reassuringly mediocre. Either sneak past the guards after grabbing a drink outside or just accept that paying twice to get in is still the best bargain in Italy.

Don't bother with the churches unless you've got a thing about the Baroque. Nowhere on earth brings out even an Irish cradle Catholic's Inner Prod faster. There are a couple, though, with a number of lower layers worth googling. The Cathedral's mediocre on top: its crypt and pre-history lower still are about the handiest to the real centre.

The food, BTW, is ghastly throughout the city: from an eating point of view, Naples is the Glasgow of the South, only the stuff they endlessly deep-fry is even worse than Mars Bars. The pizzas can be OK - but till about 1950 all sensible Italians despised them as fit only for the desperately poor or their American descendants.

500 year of Italian consensus can't be wrong.
flanneruk is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 12:06 PM
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Go to the archeological museum and go to one of the well-reviewed pizza places which Naples is so famous for (unlike flanneruk I quite liked the several pizzas I ate in Naples last spring...). Having been all over Italy, Naples is not one of my favorite cities in that country but the Archeological museum and the pizzerias ARE outstanding. Be prepared to wait a half hour or more to get into the "name" pizzerias like Da Michele (and it's not just tourists who are waiting to get in, either). One caution: do not get on one of the city buses if they are really crowded as pickpockets seem common- my husband fell victim last spring and should have known better than to have gotten on the bus in the first place (and no, his wallet was NOT in his back pocket lol).
el13207 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 12:34 PM
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I wouldn't miss the Archaeological museum, it is excellent (although when I was last there, the labelling could have been better).

Other than that, I really enjoyed walking down the Spaccanapol, particularly the area with all the shops selling figurines for the precepe (nativity scenes).

I've always rather liked eating in Naples. I've never managed to get into Brandi or Da Michele but have eaten plenty of excellent pizza in some of the backstreet pizzerie
willit is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 01:03 PM
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ok, thanks everyone or should i say "grazie"?

parlo italiano ma non posso parlare con i napolitani come una napolitana, flanner! [which roughly translated means that though I speak some italian there's no way I can keep up with Mrs. Flanner when it comes to talking to nealopitans, to quote Eth and Ron].

El, willit - with your voices joined to flanners, adrienne's and travelhorizon's, [oh yes, and eluckhardt as well] the archeological museum looks like a must. I will tell my fellow "mature" student who has expressed an interest branching off by ourselves and who is rather better educated in such things than I as her husband is the recently retired county archeologist. After that, we'll just have to see how much time we've got left.
annhig is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 02:22 PM
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Just a heads up--sounds like you'd be going later in the week, but I've discovered that both the Archeological Museum and Cappella Sansevero are closed on Tuesdays.
bon_voyage is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 04:25 PM
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Yes, the Archeological Museum is not to be missed IMO! Other options include a walk through Spaccanapoli, perhaps to include the Sansevero and maybe the cloister of Santa Chiara. If you have time, go to the Castel Sant'Elmo for unbeatable views. The piazzas, well you can walk through them at any time, so I'd save them for after everything else is closed.
kja is offline  
Feb 13th, 2014, 05:13 AM
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thanks for joining in, bon_voyage and kja.

fortunately we're due to go to Naples on Wednesday so the museums should be open.

looking at the map, if we go to the museum first, then head in a southerly direction, that should take us to San Severo and the san Chiara cloister, and should more than fill up our afternoon.

I will report back!
annhig is offline  
Feb 13th, 2014, 06:16 AM
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Enjoy your trip. Naples is great fun.
Marija is online now  
Feb 13th, 2014, 06:36 AM
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DebitNM is offline  
Feb 13th, 2014, 07:22 AM
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Capella Sansevero


"The Veiled Christ" is worth the trip

Enjoy your visit

ira is offline  
Feb 13th, 2014, 07:40 AM
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I found the area around the cathedral (including the street of prosepi makers although I am not very interested in them) characterful. Also Spaccanapoli from which you can easily divert to the Capella Sansepolcro and Santa Chiara. You will find that Naples feels very different from Rome.

The food I found was not so great as I prefer thin-based pizza, but do try the sfogliatelle in the Galleria Umberto, a beautiful open shopping arcade. But not many shops of interest and I love to shop when I am in Italy.

The archeological museum is the best thing in Naples along with the views, but you will be getting a lot of that in Sorrento and along the coast anyway.

Lucky you with your fabulous language classes!
tarquin is offline  
Feb 13th, 2014, 08:55 AM
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thank you ira and tarquin. I'd already earmarked the Spaccanapoli as worth a stroll, but not the Galleria Umberto which i shall have to find on the map.

As I said up-thread i have been to Naples before - about 40 years ago on a day trip from Sorrento, and from what i remember, it was quite "edgy" then - but what my 18 year old self actually saw, and what my 50 something self remembers may be two different things.

This is the third language course i will have done in italy so I'm going to be interested to see how it differs from the others; what is different this time is that we are staying with local families rather than staying in a hotel so we will be eating breakfast and dinner with the family, which should be fun! [and good for our language skills too].
annhig is offline  
Feb 13th, 2014, 09:22 AM
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So now I can't stop humming funiculi funicula. And for once I am happy I can not sing.
Nikki is offline  
Feb 13th, 2014, 09:34 AM
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So now I can't stop humming funiculi funicula. And for once I am happy I can not sing.>>

lol Nikki. Though I read somewhere that the particular funicular that was the inspiration for the song no longer exists. Sadly I don't think we'll have time to use the ones that are still there.
annhig is offline  

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