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Naples report - including staying in the centro storico

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Naples report - including staying in the centro storico

Old Nov 30th, 2013, 05:22 AM
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Naples report - including staying in the centro storico

I’d posted a question earlier about which neighborhood to stay in at Naples. Just to report back that we spent 10 days in Naples in early October in the centro storico and loved it. Yes, it’s chaotic and you need some tolerance for grime. On the other hand, it’s not been Disneyfied or Prada-ized like so many historical centres that cater primarily to tourists. There are still streets that specialize in presepi (amazing nativity scenes), and grandmothers that pull up a chair at the street corner to watch the action. And all that you have to do is to look up above street level and you see amazing Baroque splendor (often decaying, but that is attractive in its own way). We also walked around the other neighborhoods we considered staying in (Vomero and Chiaia) and were glad that we decided to stay in a more central location.

Staying in Naples also worked very well for our day trips to Pompeii, Herculaneum (both fabulous - go to the Naples Archaeological Museum first if possible so you can better imagine what the villas contained) and Capri (now a tourist trap, even if it’s a beautiful tourist trap; if you’re going to the Amalfi Coast and are going to do some hiking there, there’s no reason to go to Capri). If you have time, we’d also recommend something we hadn’t heard of before: Walking through a Roman tunnel under a hill in Posillipo (on the outskirts of Naples) to the Roman ruins of Villa Pausilypon - we were the only ones there.

We had an outstanding meal btw at the Ristorantino dell’Avocato restaurant near the waterfront - local clientele, charming proprietors (we went for lunch, but you need reservations for dinner). We still fantasize about their eggplant parmigiana. Fish and wine were excellent as well. And just off the Piazza Bellini, there’s Un Sorisso Integrale, an excellent and inexpensive vegan restaurant - we’re not vegetarian, but it was SO refreshing to encounter vegetables being featured at an Italian meal.

I recognize that staying in Naples is not for everyone, and that those who want a more ordered European experience may choose to stay elsewhere and just visit the Archaeological Museum, Capodimonte museum, etc. But I think you’d be missing a terrific, authentic experience. (If you take the mindset that you’re in a developing country or in the medieval era, that may help! And we didn’t have any problems with crime or see any, for those worried.) It also helped that we found a wonderful modern apartment on airbnb right off Spaccanapoli - www.airbnb.com/rooms/635477 , so it was a good refuge from the action on the streets.
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Old Nov 30th, 2013, 06:31 AM
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So nice to read a favorable review of this often maligned city. Thanks.
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Old Nov 30th, 2013, 07:33 AM
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I really enjoyed Naples as well. We stayed close to the Duomo at the Donna Regina, a lovely B&B. Thanks for writing.
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Old Nov 30th, 2013, 08:39 AM
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As one that visits Naples very often, I get pissed at people that criticize Naples. My wife has three sisters and two brothers that are Neopolitan, so we spend lots of time there. Naples has more going for it than any other city in Europe except, maybe Paris, in my humble opinion. I have a wealth of stories that are indiginous to Naples, and probably no place else. No place on earth would you find these stories but in Napoli. The BEST view on this earth is the view of the Bay of Naples, with Vesuvius in the background, as seen from Via Petrarc, and it's all FREE.
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Old Dec 1st, 2013, 04:03 AM
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Nice report. I want to go just to stay in that apartment.
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Old Dec 1st, 2013, 05:05 AM
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Bookmarking this flat for the future - thanks Krishnan.

And Waldo, you are very lucky!
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Old Dec 1st, 2013, 05:09 AM
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Hi--interested in the specifics of the Roman walk. Where exactly do I go to get to it? How long will it take? What will I see along the way? tKS
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Old Dec 1st, 2013, 05:50 AM
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I thought Naples fabulous, really enjoyed our time there in the centro storico. Thanks for sharing your views.
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Old Dec 1st, 2013, 03:24 PM
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More people should visit Naples. I was there last month and visited the area north-west - Pozzuoli, Baia, Bacoli - and saw no English speaking tourists at all. There is an ancient Roman amphitheatre at Pozzuoli which has access to the underground area - and no one was there!
Your trip report is positive and affirms that Naples is amazing. I'm spending three months there soon and I can't wait.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2013, 11:29 AM
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Good to read great reviews, krishnan. Do you suppose we'll find Roman ruins of Villa Pausilypon in the guidebooks?!
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Old Dec 3rd, 2013, 07:31 PM
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I don't have much by way of details for the walk to Villa Pausilypon, because we hired a local guide for a half day and she drove us there. But I do recall seeing web info on visiting the ruins, so you should be able to figure out how to visit on your own as well. From my recollections, (1) there is a bus that goes near the entrance to the tunnel (or close by), and (2) there are only specific times in the morning, starting at 930 (at least in Oct), that a guard opens up the tunnel.

In case you want info on the guide we used, her name is Marina and her website is http://www.napolinostressitinerari.com - my recollection is that she charged 80 euros for 4 hours including the car (we also did a couple of other things with her during the half day). She also does walking tours of other parts of Naples (I think for a little less cost without the car) - you can customize your time with her. She is not a professional historian, but we were pleased with our time with her, and I think the price would be hard to beat for a personal tour.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2013, 09:43 PM
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I am one who also likes Naples. We have been several times. People are friendly and helpful and I love the food.

Several years ago, we did a tour of the underground excavations beneath the city. It had been featured on the history channel and I was excited to see it. It was fascinating. I met the archeologist who wrote a book about it and he gave me a signed copy, a real treasure to me.

Waldo, I have to agree with how much Naples has going for it, but maybe we should not praise it too highly. It is kind of nice now without so much tourism.

The only thing I am not crazy about is taxis. Their driving does not terrify me now the way it did 20 years ago, but it just never seems like a pleasant transaction. A minor thing though, and certainly does not influence my affection for Naples.
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Old Dec 4th, 2013, 03:31 AM
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Thank you for your trip report. We are planning trip to Italy in August with our five children and I am keen to base ourselves in Naples for 6 days to explore the area. We prefer the less glossy/tourist side of life and are happy with a bit of grime! You have certainly made me feel very positive about heading there plus with good tips to enhance our visit.
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Old Dec 4th, 2013, 07:57 AM
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I've only been to the Naples airport, but the more I keep hearing and reading about Naples, I think I need to plan a visit soon!
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Old Dec 4th, 2013, 11:43 AM
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Another chime in for Naples--though my one night was for too brief. Coincidentally, there is an article in this month's CN Traveler that mentions the villa and tunnel excursion:
http://www.cntraveler.com/features/2...o-naples-italy
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Old Dec 4th, 2013, 01:16 PM
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I, too, enjoyed staying in Naples. However, I have to put in a good word for Capri - provided you stay overnight. I thoroughly enjoyed my two day/three night stay, including a couple of good hikes with few people around. (Admittedly it was early in the season.)
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Old Dec 4th, 2013, 02:53 PM
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thursdaysd: Glad to hear that Capi is a different animal if you stay there overnight. We had the same experience in San Gimignano a decade ago - catering entirely to tourists, but once it's deserted in the evening, it was still magical. I remember walking back late at night from a great meal and we were about the only ones on the street - the only sound being opera from an open window. (Of course, in contrast in Naples, we heard what we thought was a fight going on outside our apartment in the evening - till we realized it was a normal Napoli-volume conversation between neighbors).

And thanks, yorkshire, for the article featuring the Pausilypon ruins. I was also reminded after reading it that one of our pleasures in Naples was arguing over which bakery made the best sfogliatella. Clearly much evidence was needed to settle the argument.
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Old Dec 5th, 2013, 10:30 AM
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Really interesting report. Thanks for posting,It makes me want to consider adding Naples to my Spring 2014 trip to Italy.
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Old Dec 5th, 2013, 10:32 AM
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Thanks. Good report. We love Naples (as long as we don't have to drive.)
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Old Dec 5th, 2013, 01:47 PM
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I am glad you wrote a good report on Naples We are planning (in fact I just purchased the airfare) to spend six nights in Sorrento and two in Naples in August.
I am really looking forward to the visit.
Now the planning begins.
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