Naples - a few more questions

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Apr 11th, 2012, 06:59 PM
  #1
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Naples - a few more questions

Hello,
We'll be in Naples for just 2 nights on our way to the Cilento & Positano. We're arriving from 3 days in London w/ friends (so no jet lag in Naples.)

Question 1: Which hotel?
We'll be eating pizza, wandering the streets, visiting Santa Chiara & museums. We like to walk a lot. I've read what I can in guidebooks but can't figure out which neighborhood & hotel. My husband is always super pleased when I find places that cost less. Here are my choices:

Spaccanapoli Comfort Suites. 79 eu/nt for a room w/ a balcony. Good reviews. Is this neighborhood a good place to stay? http://www.bbspaccanapoli.com/en

Hotel Piazza Bellini. 115 EU/nt. http://www.hotelpiazzabellini.com/index.php?id_lingua=3

Meuble Santa Chiara. 65 EU/nt, overlooks Santa Chiara. http://www.santachiarasuite.com/

M Gallery Palazzo Caracciolo. 100 EU/nt, near Duomo. http://www.mgallery.com/gb/hotel-556...on/index.shtml

Question 3: restaurant recommendations?

Question 2: transportation.
We're flying in from London, 2 nights in Naples, then back to the airport to rent a car. We're returning it there - doing this cuts the rental cost by half so it seemed worth the slight hassle. We'll visit the Cilento for 3 nights and Positano for 4, then we'll return the car to the airport and catch the train to Rome. There seem to be 3 train stations - which train station do we use to go to Rome?

Question 3: itinerary?
I'd hoped for 4 nights in Naples, but DH discovered the Cilento and 2 of those days were carved out of our time in Naples. I'd wanted to see several churches zeppole had recommended, including Santa Chiara, and then the art museum and the archaeology museum. What makes the most sense to focus on now? We arrive Monday afternoon at 4 and leave mid-day Wednesday in late September. I expect to love Naples and hope to return in a year or two.
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Apr 11th, 2012, 08:37 PM
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You might want to read my trip report; click on my name to find.

We stayed at the B&B Medea and really liked and its location.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...57627058744325
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Apr 11th, 2012, 09:31 PM
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kja
 
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Re: Naples

I think you'll need to make some rough guesses about your time allotments, check them against the hours when places are open, and make some difficult decisions!

If it helps, my recollections are that I spent about 3 hours in the archeology museum in Naples, not counting time to get to/from it. I could probably have managed with a bit less (say 2 or 2.5 hours) or with a bit more.

I believe I also spent about 3 hours (it might have been closer to 2.5) at the Capodimonte, including a stop for coffee; I would definitely have liked more time there. It's a bit outside the city center, so you will probably also need to block out some time to get there and back (maybe 1/2 hour or less each way).

I enjoyed a brief visit to the Santa Chiara; I was ready to leave after about 1/2 hour.

I loved strolling through Spaccanapoli and stopping in churches and museums and just admiring the (tiny) plazas and street scenes and life of this vibrant section of the city. I think I spent 5 or 6 hours in that area and wish I had had more time. The many guide books I studied in advance of my trip generally mentioned the same core sights in this area and give descriptions that should help you decide which are of greatest interest to you.

And I'm really glad I took the time to go to the Castel Sant'Elmo for the views over the city and harbor - wow!

Hope that helps!
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Apr 12th, 2012, 12:04 AM
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Of your hotel choices, I would absolutely nix the last one "near the Duomo" from the list. Nice hotel, wrong location.

The Bellini offers you the best central location for sightseeing, the Santa Chiara offers you the easiest access to evening cafes and evening strolls. Most of Napoli is not a stroll around kind of place.

The Spaccanapoli just hangs between two stools. It looks like it could be mildly inconvenient.

As noted above, the Capodimonte is a major investment of time but it has an extraordinary collection (and is itself a fascinating palace). What I want to see in the archeology museum takes about 90 minutes, but if you've never been, you'll probably wander longer. (If you can, look before you leave at websites or books about these museums.)

The Cappella SanSevero is a premiere iconic sight of Napoli and a stunner that most people are amazed to see. I highly recommend it.

The cloisters of Santa Chiara are just that -- cloisters, and it doesn't take much time to walk around a cloister.

Beyond that, Napoli is stuffed with treasures in its churches (although the Duomo has very little to recommend it) and also in the Certosa di San Martino (which is adjacent to St Elmo). Again, about the only way to sort out what you personally want to see is crack open that guidebook for Naples. Try and look at more than one.

A rough sketch of organizing your time might be to see the Archeology museum in the afternoon of the day you arrive and have a dinner near the port/Chiaia district and see some of its historic cafes. See the Capodimonte the next morning, and then the sights of the center in the afternoon. If Wednesday is a pretty day I suggest a taxi (to save time) up to Castel St Elmo for the view and a peek at the Certosa, then come down through Vomero for a pizza lunch and then take the funicular back down.

But play these things out according to weather, etc
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Apr 12th, 2012, 02:27 AM
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I meant to add, the Cappella Sansevero is a very small place which takes a half hour or less to visit.

I believe the archeology museum is open until 7:30pm, so if you can get there by 5:30, and have looked ahead at a plan of the museum, it might work out fine. If not, you have a bit of time on Wednesday. But make seeing the mosaics and the Farnese sculptures a priority. You can probably get a map to the museum at the entry.
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Apr 12th, 2012, 03:22 AM
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Good choice on hiring from the airport - the city has recently extended the size of its no-go ZTL area, complicating the situation by having bits that operate only some days, and not on others....

http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/image/142204079

............................

Trenitalia have various train stations, but from the airport it's easiest to catch the Alibus back into town and use Napoli Centrale - where it makes its first stop...

http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/image/114454837

You'll probably have already taken that on the day you arrive?

............................

The Piazza Bellini area seems to be popular with visitors, and handy for many of the sites - so probably worth the extra!

Should you be using the buses etc, the maps here may be handy - if a year or two old!

http://www.unicocampania.it/index.ph...i&action=mappe

Most importantly perhaps, note that the convenient little E1 and E2 - which used to be good for the historic centre - don't run nowadays!

............................

The tourism people publish a very good, bimonthly magazine - 'Qui Napoli' - that offers lots of useful information. They've just restarted, with an April/May edition. I guess it's given away in hotels and at their "Infopoints", but in several years have yet to find one... instead we use the PDF version, available from...

http://www.inaples.it/eng/quinapoli.htm

Do watch out though - many of the sites, including both the Archaeological Museum and Cappella Sansevero, are closed on Tuesdays! A while back I put a list together - but haven't been able to update it...

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic..._Campania.html

Lastly, how about a few photos...

http://www.pbase.com/isolaverde/mainlynaples

Peter
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Apr 12th, 2012, 07:42 AM
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I constantly write about this, but I don't know if anyone actually takes in this sight. What I believe is the most astounding sight on earth, and so did the poet John Keats, is the view of the Bay of Naples from the Via Petrarc. In your lifetime, you will not see such a magnificent view. The whole Bay of Naples, the City, and Vesuvio as a background, will leave you breathless. As I've said before, Everytime I go see it, it is like the first time. There are many photos of this sight, but seeing it in person is fantastic.
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Apr 12th, 2012, 02:37 PM
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Thanks Waldo. I will do that - it sounds amazing.

Peter - thank you! And as usual, your photos are great. Thank you for the links, I'll look into those.

zeppole & kja - the hotel I was most wondering about is the Spaccanapoli - I was really uncertain about the location. I'll cancel that and decide between the 2 central ones. I will do more research into the churches - and nail down my itinerary - when my guidebooks arrive. I just checked the Capodimonte online and see they have a Bruegel and Masaccio. So that's a must. I do map out my route through museums ahead of time. In general, I never again want to get lost in a wing of armor or 18th century furniture again. Ever. I try to be focused so that I can see what I love most with fresh eyes and a spring in my step.

Michael - thanks for the trip report! That is really helpful. I saw the B&B Medea online - well reviewed and a good price.
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Apr 12th, 2012, 02:45 PM
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Don't be too restrictive about where you walk in the Capodimonte. It was a palace and some of it still is a palace, with grand dining rooms and ballrooms. Know where to find the paintings you want to see so you don't leave until you do. But take a look at the palace.
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Apr 12th, 2012, 02:54 PM
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A royal room in the Capodimonte:

http://www.gruppopubblitaf.it/fotos/...apdomonte-.jpg
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Apr 12th, 2012, 04:14 PM
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I looked at the pdf Qui Napoli, which looks quite useful. I see that there are some sites including Herculaneum that are listed as free enty for over 65. Does anyone know if the free entry would apply to US citizens or only EU? If so, what proof of age would work?
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Apr 12th, 2012, 04:47 PM
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The hotel Bellini is great. It is an easy walk to the arch. Museum. Look up the Rick Steve's walking tour of Naples. It will hit most of what you are looking for. Check on when the Cappella Sansevero is closed. I think it is Tuesday. There is a good bar with good apps on the Piazza Bellini. I really like Naples. Have fun.

Yipper
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Apr 12th, 2012, 06:02 PM
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Loved Bellini! The best place in our 3-week trip in Italy. The best part? The great laidback bars just across the street. A fantastic place to end the day...
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Apr 13th, 2012, 02:02 AM
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AJP - forgive me if I don't check them all but, at Herculaneum for instance, it's said to be EU only...

http://www.pompeiisites.org/Sezione....ezioneRif=1166

... although in truth things aren't quite so simple!

At the nationally-run sites, there are one or two non-EU countries - but not the USA - whose citizens can benefit from various reciprocal arrangements..... and some exclusions that apply to specific types of person, professions etc etc etc... although heaven only knows what hoops one would be required to jump through to prove entitlement!

Anyone interested can find an English version of the details in the "STATE MUSEUMS, MONUMENTS AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES" section of the Rome rules, here:

http://www.romapass.it/doc/NormativeENG.pdf

Or, very probably only in Italian, somewhere on the MIBAC website!

.........................

At those operated by an individual town, city or province, the rules are set locally - hence the opening part of that document, "MUNICIPALITY MUSEUMS OF ROME".

I've no recollection of any other general scheme down here - but, with times getting harder, the number of such arrangements (and those lists of countries!) have shrunk rapidly of late....

In many places though they're being replaced by simpler offers, such as the RomaPass (in Rome, duuh) and, here, the Campania Artecard - which you'll find described in the Qui Napoli magazine.

For lots of visitors, the easiest may be the 3 day, transport-included, version at €27 (with 2 site entries prepaid, and then 50% off or reductions at others) - which can be very good value if doing much sightseeing around the area!

With any luck, this link will take you to some more details...
http://www.campaniartecard.it/itinerary.cfm?id=13

... but if it doesn't, start here and have a ferret around:

http://www.campaniartecard.it/start.cfm

OK?

Peter
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Apr 13th, 2012, 06:09 AM
  #15
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That art card link is super helpful Peter, thanks. We may get the 7 day card as we'll be in Campania for over a week total and it includes sites in the Cilento too.

And the website has the opening hours and regular prices for the sites all in one place. So we'll be able to visit the Archaeology Museum Monday evening (open until 7:30) and the Museo Capodimonte on Tuesday. Awesome, thank you!
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Apr 13th, 2012, 06:34 AM
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I've looked at the Artecard website and would be inclined to purchase the 7 day card but it does not include transportation, which I think would be very convenient to have. Does anyone know if the 3 day card covers only 3 consecutive days? I couldn't find any specific definition, so I'm assuming it requires the 3 days to be in sequence. It would be much more useful for us if it were just 3 (separate) days, because we'd like to space out the days with a lot of walking with alternating laid-back-sit-around-the-cafe days.
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Apr 13th, 2012, 07:59 AM
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Rose, my pleasure!

Sorry though - all the Artecard's various versions only cover consecutive days...

The transport pass that comes with the 3 day Tutta La Regione card is the same as this one - which can be bought separately for €20 (although we've found that not every UnicoCampania outlet stocks them all the time!)...

http://www.unicocampania.it/index.ph...isti&action=3T

But if wanting to use the buses, trams, funiculars etc whilst in Naples with the 7 day Artecard, you might buy the day-long version of UnicoNapoli ticket, at €4.80... for details of which start here:

http://www.unicocampania.it/index.ph...onna=biglietti

Peter
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Apr 13th, 2012, 08:36 AM
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I'm happy that positive reviews on Naples have been posted here. Naples has been incorrectly lambasted on many articles, and it doesn't deserve this bad press. My wife's family (two brothers and five sisters live in Naples),consequently we go there very often. I love the place. I admit that the city is run down in places, but the friendliness of the people and the general feeling of a good life there more than makes up for the architecture. Besides, I'm sure I could live the rest of my life in and around Piazza Amadeo or on Via Petrarc. Outside of, possibly, Paris, there is no European city that has more redeeming features than does Napoli. (My wife is American born, but the rest of her family are all Neopolitans).
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Apr 13th, 2012, 09:12 AM
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I totally agree with Waldo -- Naples has gotten some bad press, but is a great place to visit. We were there in October for a week, and loved the people and the city. We stayed at Hotel Piazza Bellini, and it is worth every penny. We had a room with a balcony and a view of the hills behind Naples -- gorgeous!
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Apr 13th, 2012, 09:52 AM
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Peter, thanks very much for the Artecard info and all of your other helpful (and detailed) posts.
gail
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