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Scary vs. Charming areas in Naples

Old Nov 20th, 2006, 10:32 AM
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Scary vs. Charming areas in Naples

Hi everybody. If you hated Naples and thought it was all disgusting, you can stop reading right now because it's not your opinion I'm looking for .

We have decided to spend Christmas in Naples; we will be spending the nights of the 24th-26th there after spending 2 nights in Sorrento. I'm trying to figure out where to stay, and I would like some clarification. I've read lots of posts saying "some areas were really scary and gross, but others were quite beautiful" or "There were only 2 areas of town where I felt unsafe...." but without specifics.

1. Which areas or neighborhoods are very icky/scary/full of drug addicts and people who will be happy to mug you?
2. Which areas are seedy as far as sex clubs and prostitutes?
3. Which areas are actually fairly safe and a bit charming? Would prefer an area with a decent number of places to eat in easy walking distance, and either close to some sites or close via public transportation?


Here are the locations of a couple places I have found availability in our price range that seem like they might be OK....

1. Tribu B&B on Via Tribunale (http://www.tribunapoli.com/map.htm); 98 euro per night including breakfast

2. Hotel Canada at Via Mergellina 43 (http://www.sea-hotels.com/sea-hotels.../canada3.htm); 75 euro per night including breakfast

3. B&B Napoli Central City (actually an apartment) Corso Vittorio Emanuele 737, by the Margellina train station. 90 euro per night.

4. B&B Donna Regina, Via Luigi Settembrini 80; 95 euro per night.

5. Hostel of the Sun, via Melisurgo, 15, somewhere near the water (http://www.hostelnapoli.com) 60 euro per night for a private double room.

We are a 30 year old married couple; our favorite part of travel is soaking up and experiencing different cultures. People-watching, trying new foods and drinks, talking to locals when possible, with a little entertaining history thrown in here and there. We don't expect travel destinations to be Disney World and enjoy getting out of our comfort zone. But nobody wants to be robbed. We ordinarily enjoy B&Bs and small hotels; the hostel is in the mix because it will be such a quiet holiday time; we thought it might be nice to have an opportunity to converse with other visitors while all the italians enjoyed christmas with their family

Any input would be appreciated, but only if you promise not to ask "Why the hell are you going to Naples?" We're past that, thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Carrie
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Old Nov 20th, 2006, 11:27 AM
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We stayed at B&B Donna Regina last year. You can find our review plus all the things we did in Naples in our trip report:

http://www.onelittleworld.com/campania_1.html

At the time, the street it is on was blocked off for some construction, but it is just about a half block off the Via Duomo. I didn't find the area seedy, although there aren't a lot of restaurants right around there (but there are plenty of options within 10-15 minutes, walking). Also, it is in an apartment building, thus it doesn't have its own front desk or dedicated entrance; you'll take the (very small) elevator up just like all the residents. That didn't bother us, but it may not be for everyone. We walked virtually everywhere we visited in Naples from there--and we thoroughly enjoyed our time in the city.
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Old Nov 20th, 2006, 12:04 PM
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ira
 
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Hi L,

>Hostel of the Sun, via Melisurgo, 15,

This is near the basin where the cruise ships and ferries to Capri, etc berth.

An earlier poster stayed at this hotel and liked it. However, he was a student on a strict budget.

The Tribu, on via Tribunale, is in the Spaccanapoli district, not far from the Archeological Museum and the Duomo.

The Donna Regina is also near Piazza Cavour, farther north than the Tribu.

Think Mastroiani and Loren. That's Spaccanapoli.

The hotels in Mergellina are somewhat out of town.

You can look up the locations at www.viamichelin.com

I don't think that any of these are in unsafe or particularly seedy places.

Enjoy your visit.

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Old Nov 20th, 2006, 12:11 PM
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PS,

You might find the Naples part of my trip report helpful.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34451044

I'm not recommending our hotel, because it is no longer there.
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Old Nov 21st, 2006, 09:01 PM
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Thanks so much for your input, both of you, as well as the links to your trip reports! I look forward to going over them in more detail.

Happy thanksgiving!
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Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 07:23 AM
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We're planning a visit to Naples next spring and I went through the same process trying to figure out where to stay. I've heard many good things abut the Chiaia district, and especially the Chiaia Hotel de Charme, which unfortunately was a bit out of our price range. Upon further research I found a recommendation for the B&B Capella Vecchi 11 (www.bednaples.com), in one of the DK Eyewitness guidebooks, so I looked it up and it seems perfect for us - in the same nice neighborhood as the hotel we couldn't afford, yet quite reasonable (we're paying 100 euro/nt in May). You might want to check it out.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 08:15 AM
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I think the seedy area a tourist is most likely to mistakenly stay in is the area around the train station.

We stayed at the Excelsior in the Santa Lucia area. View over the bay out to Capri. There are many restaurants in the area, but the main sights are a cab ride away.

Hope you enjoy the city as much as we did.
 
Old Nov 22nd, 2006, 03:43 PM
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The area around Via Chiaia (just off Piazzas del Plebescito & del Trieste e Trento) is a fine area, as is Santa Lucia down by Castel dell'ovo. I was walking along the waterfront one summer evening in 2005 and only passed a couple of homeless people. Most Neapolitans seemed quite content just to go about their business -- see my thread "Thoughts About Naples" from 2005, which was recently topped, for some more info.

I've stayed at the Chiaja Hotel del Charme and it's fine. The cappuccino in the morning could be better, but that's my only complaint. The door to the hotel is off a courtyard and not located right on Via Chiaia. you have to enter through a portal first, and if you arrive during siesta, you have to climb through a little alice-in-wonderland mini-door.

Between Pza. Trieste e Trento, and the "next major street" to the west, Via Chiaia is a pedestrian-only street, so it's quiet relative to the chaos of Naples.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 09:19 AM
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I will put in a plug for an area mentioned by others. At the end of a recent trip to Capri, we spent one day and night in Naples at the Hotel Grand Vesuvio, directly across from the Castello dell'Ovo, looking out onto the bay. The Vesuvio is not a budget hotel, though we got a pretty good rate on the internet for a seaside room. In addition to the Excelsior mentioned above, other nearby hotels on that street include the Royal and the Continental. You can read information about those hotels -- good and bad-- on TripAdvisor. Without having stepped foot in either, my take was that if you had a room facing the sea in any of the hotels in that area, it would make up for almost any deficincies inside. (We chose a room at the Vesuvio with a small balcony, which was icing on the cake).

In event, we really enjoyed this area for our short stay. There is waterfront promendade along the bay that is great for strolling and people watching, as well as taking in spectacular views of the city. The Castel dell'Ovo is on a small island with cafes and restaurants that was recommended by our Neopolitan driver as a safe area to frequent in the evening. It is within walking distance of the Chiaia shopping district and the Piazza del Plebiscito.

Particularly on Christmas day and eve, when a lot of attractions may be closed, I think the view outside your doorstep would be a big plus. We were very charmed by this area, and plan to return next time we are in the area. Good luck!

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Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 09:20 AM
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p.s. meant to say more precisely above that the "area" of which I am speaking is the area arond the port of Santa Lucia, which you should be able to locate on any map of the city.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 10:30 PM
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Well MoonGirl, you sell the Santa Lucia area pretty well. I found this apartment : http://www.venere.com/hotel/index.ph...lt=1&ref=27046

which looks promising...

What about staying in the Vomero? What's that like?

Carrie
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Old Nov 24th, 2006, 03:20 AM
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We stayed for a week in Naples this last June & loved it. I spent a lot of time researching areas as I was slightly worried in advance that some might be dangerous; plus we wanted to be able to walk everywhere as far as possible. My conclusion was that the main consideration was to avoid the immediate area of the main railway station on piazza Garibaldi, which did siound as though it might genuinely be dangerous after dark.

I eventually chose the Hotel Executive which is at the opposite end of the Centro Storico from piazza Garibaldi and we found it the ideal location - just on the edge of the Centro Storico so we could easily stroll around there, just round the corner from a street where most buses (including the airport bus) stopped, and 10 minute walk from both the main ferry/hydrofoil port Molo Beverello & the Teatro San Carlo. I'd recommend it and would stay there again if returning to Naples (which we hope to do).

Here's a link to my trip report in case it's useful - http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34830452

We took normal big city precautions & didn't feel unsafe anywhere. We didn't see anywhere we'd describe as icky/scary/full of drug addicts and people who will be happy to mug you / seedy as far as sex clubs and prostitutes.

Here are my opinions on the specific places you've mentioned, followed by comments on areas other posters have mentioned br />
1. (via Tribunale) & 4. (via L. Settembrini) are both right in the centre of the Centro Storico and if I were choosing from your list, I'd choose one of those. 4. sounds especially charming. But I think I'd still choose our location as more convenient. Also, don't choose one of these if you are likely to feel spooked walking home in the dark through very narrow streets.

2. (via Mergellina) Too far away from the centre. You'd have to get buses all the time & they are horribly crowded - it's much nicer to be able to walk most places. And in December there'll be no advantage in being at the seaside.

3. (corso V. Emanuele) Wouldn't recommend - big very busy traffic street, not very enjoyable to walk round there.

5. (via Melisurgo) Wouldn't recommend - too near the big very busy traffic street which goes along the seafront there, by the docks, that area is supposed to be dodgy.

The Santa Lucia area is where the big old grand hotels are, facing the sea. I think a lot of better-off travellers stay they because they think it's not safe to go anywhere else. I think I'd find it a bit cut off from the interesting areas & a bit of a long walk to most of the main sights.

Chiaia is also a nice, seasidey-area, but even further out. You'd need to get buses everywhere.

Vomero is an affluent suburb on top of one of the hills. Not great for sightseeing - you need to get a funicular to get down to the central area, then it's a bit of a walk to most of the sights.
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Old Nov 24th, 2006, 08:46 AM
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Carrie, that apartment certainly does looks promising (and about 1/4 of what we paid at the Vesuvio, I think) -- I am impressed with your research skills!

I would not necessarily disagree with Caroline about the relative merits/motivations for staying near Santa Lucia versus other areas. On this trip, when we were spending just one day and night in Naples -- half of which we spent in Herculaneum -- we were only expecting to do a limited amount of traditional sightseeing around town. And we were indeed looking for something "easy" for this stop on our itinerary, for a variety of reasons.

So I think it depends on what your priorities are. For me, the bay of Naples was itself a magnificent "sight", and was a great introduction to the history of a city in which the sea has, of course, figured so prominently.
I do wonder (without knowing), again, about what sights/restuarants in the center of the city may be closed on the dates you will be there.

In any event, sounds like you now have at least a couple of options to think about -- good luck planning and bon voyage!
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Old Nov 24th, 2006, 10:08 AM
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So much to decide!

The 3 finalists are the Donna Regina in the center, the apartment in Santa Lucia and another apartment next to the castel Nuovo, near the Hostel of the Sun, called Latt' e Liett'(http://www.initalia.de/lodging/show.php?ap=248). Since option 3 is kind of in between the center and the water front, and it's only 60 euro a night (!) and gets fabulous reviews, that is coming out ahead right now. Even if it's not the most beautiful location, it seems very convenient, and at a savings of over 150 dollars over 3 days, we may be willing to sacrifice.....
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Old Nov 26th, 2006, 03:12 AM
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I was in Naples in October 2005 with my 15 year old son. We spent 5 days based in Sorrento and then 2 days in Naples. I was very anxious about Naples having read lengthy threads on this site plus a friend had hated it! We stayed at a very small B&B in the Montesanto area just off Via Toledo.This doesn't feature on any sites - its very tiny basically a flat with three rooms that are rented out so it was a big risk!
The location was perfect as we could walk to most places. I initally wanted to be in Chia or St.Lucia areas but couldn;t find anything available in our price range. I agree that they would probably be a bit far out. Its clear that the Pzza. Garibaldi area is not nice ( we didn't see it as hopped straight on the metro) but the "old centre" area is fine. Yes it was hectic and noisy but we loved being in a "real" area.
Appreciate that we might have been lucky not to have had any bad experiences.Incidentally, we also liked Sorrento but it was very different. The area to the west of the train station is a lot less touristy and we were plaesantly suprised but Naples was something else. Don't expect to find much if any english spoken! Hope this helps.

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Old Nov 26th, 2006, 03:15 AM
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Re. Sorrneto - should have said the area to the east of the train station! Sorry.
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Old Nov 28th, 2006, 03:32 AM
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I'd vote for the Donna Regina./ My comments abput via Melisurgo still stand.
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