Is Naples (Italy) worth a visit?

Mar 11th, 2004, 09:48 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 20
Is Naples (Italy) worth a visit?


Naples is the only large mainland Italian city I have not visited and I considering spending a few days there in the next few months, does anyone have any tips or warnings.

Is Naples actually worth the trip?
I have looked online and seen many pictures of city and it seems to have many faces, sometimes very unatractive and in other photos simply stunning.
Can anyone who has been there tell whether they found it attractive or interesting. And how long should I stay (minimum), if I go?
I would appreciate any honest advice!
Thanks in advance.
oakey is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 10:04 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,716
Naples is loved or despised by most here. If you type "naples" or "napoli" into the text box at the top of this forum, you'll pull up many threads debating this issue. IMO, most people that consider it "seedy" or dangerous only passed through on their way elsewhere, and therefore didn't see anywhere but the train station (which is admittedly not its best feature.)

I found it vibrant and fascinating, and definitely plan to return. I spent 4 nights and 3 full days and thought that was enough time to hit most of the highlights.

Do not miss the San Severo chapel, which has some of the most incredible sculpture I've seen anywhere.
Lesli is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 10:10 AM
  #3  
dassi
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I have been to many places in Italy but not to Naples. Yous should read An Italian Affai by Laura Fraser. It is a wonderful travelogue of Italy, and the author's insights on many places, including Naples--she prefers the islands nearbly to the city--are worth reading.
 
Mar 11th, 2004, 10:20 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,742
I think you will like Napoli and it certainly merits a visit as the hub for the amalfi coast cities and Capri. Just keep in mind that it is a very active, busy city and that can account for perhaps more thefts and incidents than in other Italian cities.

This last September, my wallet was stolen on bus # 204 at Piazza Garibaldi in front of the Naples train station. My wallet was hidden under a towel and was in a basket under my toddler's stroller. Apparently, the thief was very determined to take it and must have eyeballed it while I was on the bus! Needless to say, after that happened, it certainly made me more attentive (and even paranoid) about my surroundings, people brushing up next to me, etc. I never felt that degree of "paranoia" in Rome or any other city. So with that said, if you go to Naples, just be very aware of your surroundings, people and their actions and movements around you. If you keep to yourself and don't stand out in any way (keep purse hidden, no jewelry/bracelets, etc) you should be fine.

Despite all that, the Neopolitans are very nice and they have the best pizza (Margherita) in all of Italy! Not to mention some great castles (Castel Dell'Uovo, the New Castello, San Martino, etc) and beautiful scenery (from atop Vomero). I do plan to return to Napoli soon, but I will just be more cautious this time around.

Huitres is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 10:33 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 496
napoli is one of my favorite cities of europe. i liken it to barcelona (much in the same way that madrid compares to milan). it has the same vivacity with that undertone of lurking intrique that characterises most port cities.

while naples might not contend with the big three of italy in terms of cultural artifacts, the overall elan of the populice blows away the very staid florence and gem-like venice.

i could go on about napoli, but one really needs to experience it for themself. only then can one understand the phrase "see naples and die"....
subcon is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 11:11 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,098
Sort of the Detroit of Italy.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 01:03 PM
  #7  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,414
Hi oakey,

I must disagree with Mr Firefly, Naples is wonderfully Italian.

We recently spent 3 days there.

See my trip report

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34451044
ira is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 01:46 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 223
Have to respectfully disagree with Ira. Spent a week in Naples one night. It was enough for me. Unless you happen to like gritty cities, the only redeeming feature I found there was the museum. IMHO there are far too many other attractive and/or interesting places to visit in Italy to waste time on Naples.
Travelermebe is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 01:58 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,749
I haven't spend much time in Naples yet, but your statement doesn't hold much water for me, Travelermebe. If you only spent one night in Naples and did manage to see the big museum, then you obviously didn't have enough time to explore much of the city at all -- it's pretty big. I've only spent one day so far, but I do know that the whole city isn't "gritty".
Patrick is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 02:22 PM
  #10  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,414
Hi trav,

Which museum did you go to? There are more than one.

I hope that you didn't miss the Capella Sansevero.
ira is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 02:38 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 92
Went to Sorento right next to Napoli, It was amazing.. then to Capri and Pompeii and all were worth it. I would go again in a heatbeat!
Kelabel is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 02:48 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,716
http://www.fodors.com/miniguides/mgr..._pompeii%40188

http://www.frommers.com/destinations...058010029.html

Besides the Archeological Museum, which contains the treasures removed from Pompeii, and the Cappella San Severo mentioned by me and Ira above, there is much else to see.

The Palazzo Real rivals Versailles, in my opinion (though without the vast grounds.) The Capidomonte Gallery has a wonderful collection and is housed in a palace and gardens with lovely vistas of the Bay of Naples. There are two impressive castles, a Galleria that competes with the one in Milan, and several beautiful churches, including Santa Chiara and its beautiful majolica cloisters. The Spaccanapoli neighborhood is wonderful to explore on foot.

And the food is nothing short of amazing!!
Lesli is offline  
Mar 11th, 2004, 11:45 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 19
Naples is one of my favorite cities in Italy. It is definitely worth a visit & I would recommend at least three days. The city is alive with character...the food is the very best in all of Italy...and the Neopolitans are so friendly. Despite what you read about crime in Naples, I never felt threatened during my stay (Rome was far worse in my opinion). You should exercise caution like you would in any other major city in the US or abroad. Don't miss the archaeological museum, Castel dell'Ovo, and Castel Nuovo. One of my favorite areas in Naples (which everyone warned me against) was the Spanish Quarter where you can really view authentic Italian life (I loved seeing all their laundry hanging out to dry). Although sort of touristy, I also recommend having coffee at the famous Caffe Gambrinus sitting at one of their outdoor tables.
sarah29 is offline  
Mar 12th, 2004, 06:05 AM
  #14  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,414
>I loved seeing all their laundry hanging out to dry<

This is something that I have wondered about ever since seeing my first Marcello/Sophia movie.

Is there anywhere else in the world where laundry hanging in the streets is considered 'charming'?
ira is offline  
Mar 12th, 2004, 07:47 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,749
Yes, ira, it's also quite charming in Porto, Portugal.
But seriously you do bring up a good point. I can see people in their condos here in Naples, Florida hanging their laundry out on their balcony! The police would be called in to stop the riots from upset neighbors -- the very same people who snap pictures of the drying laundry in places like Naples, Italy and think it is indeed "charming".
Patrick is offline  
Mar 21st, 2004, 06:31 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 4
I have lived in Naples for over 2 1/2 years and love it....and no I am not Italian. Granted it took a little while to get used to the "culture shock", but once you accept Naples for some of the negative aspects (trash, burning=pollution in the winter, and somewhat high crime rate), you realize that Naples also has some of the most wonderful characteristics for a big city. First of all the people LOVE children. They treat all children like they were their own, which certainly makes a parent feel comfortable in this city. Another is the love that the Italians show each other. They are always hugging, kissing, and walking hand in hand. We could certainly learn alot from these people. It is not uncommon to see two italian men cheek kissing as a gesture of greeting. I think it's great that they aren't so pompus that they could actually show their feelings to their friends in public, (you would never see American Men doing that.) There is also so much history and beauty here. The Amalfi Coast is gorgeous and includes cities such as Sorrento, Amalfi and Vietri. It is the most beautiful drive I have ever taken in my life with sheer drops of over 2,000 feet. Pompeii and Herculaneum are also two wonderful finds. You can visit the Archeological Museum to view artifacts from Mt. Vesuvius and while your at it, you can hike up Mt. Vesuvius and actually place your hand in the rim of the volcano. Downtown Naples is bustling and busy with activity, but you do have to beware of pick-pocketers. My husband always keeps his wallet in his front pocket and has never had a problem with theft. Paestum is another great place to visit as it is full of Greek artifacts. Gaeta is about an hour North of Naples, which is home to a beautiful seaside resort area. Another great getaway. So, as you can tell there is a lot of fun things to do in Naples. You just have to be careful and cautious, just like you would be any where else. Actually we are dreading the time we have to go back to the States, when we will really have to worry about crime.

Ciao!!
jillmechelle is offline  
Mar 21st, 2004, 06:47 AM
  #17  
LJ
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,759
Wait 'til the current garbage strike is over...
LJ is offline  
Mar 21st, 2004, 07:15 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 108
Refus

I take it you do not like Detroit. Have you ever been there? Is it really like Naples? Seems to me that it has been characterized more like Turin than Naples. We have been invited to a wedding there in August. Should we send a gift instead?
sicula is offline  
Mar 21st, 2004, 07:38 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 26
Didn't like Naples at all ... the only disappointing part of my two week vacation there. Dirty, lots of beggars.
mellie88 is offline  
Mar 21st, 2004, 08:30 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 197
Do you like complicated cities that combine a lot of grit with a lot of grandeur? Laundry hanging from balconies (called the national flag of Naples), great museums and public buildings, bums on the street (I saw one filthy looking guy in a "kiss me I'm Italian t-shirt"), and amazing pizza. If you do, then you'll like Naples;if not, it's better to avoid it. Rufus, I think of Naples as Philadelphia of Italy, not the Detroit. Philadelphia and Naples have a somewhat similar edginess.
Joe_in_Silver_Spring is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:19 PM.