Naples is a fascinating city for shopping. Shops are generally open from around 9:30 in the morning to 1:30, when they close for lunch, reopening around 4:30 and staying open until 7:30 or 8, although certain higher-volume addresses will do orario continuo (all-day opening). Most stores are closed on Sunday. Sales run twice a year, mid-January–mid-March for the fall-winter collections and mid-July–early September for the spring-summer collections, with half-price discounts common.
Most of the luxury shops in Naples lie along a crescent that descends the Via Toledo to Piazza Trieste e Trento and then continues along Via Chiaia to Via Filangieri and on to Piazza Amedeo, as well as continuing south toward Piazza dei Martiri and the Riviera di Chiaia, where fashionistas flock to the upscale boutiques there. A good city for male fashion, Naples tends to spoil its male clotheshorses (many would use the word peacocks). Argenio, Eddy Monetti, Marinella, and Mariano Rubinacci are among the must-stops for the guys. And Italy wouldn't be Italy without shoes, for which there are many worthy shops here.
Naples is paradise for bibliophiles too. Chiaia has the city's largest cluster of bookstores, ranging from mass-market to superelegant antiquarian shops. Secondhand book dealers tend to collect between Piazza Dante, Via Port'Alba, and Via Santa Maria di Costantinopoli in the Centro Storico, where historians and rare-book lovers alike can also unearth hidden treasures.
The charming shops specializing in Nativity scenes are in the Centro Storico, on the Via San Gregorio Armeno. The classic handicraft of Naples is the presepe—or Nativity crèche scene—with elaborate sets and terra-cotta figurines and elements of still life. The tradition goes back to the medieval period, but its acknowledged golden age arrived in the 18th century. The tradition is alive and flourishing; although the sets and figurines retain their 18th-century aspect, the craftsmen keep their creativity up-to-date with famous renditions of current political figures and other celebrities. The scenes contain a profusion of domestic animals and food of all sorts, meticulously rendered. Some of the smaller articles make great Christmas tree ornaments.
Antiquarians or simple robivecchi (secondhand shops) are found along Costantinopoli, San Sebastiano, Via Tribunali, and other streets. High-end antiques dealers do business in Chiaia, among them Domenico Russo e Figli and Galleria Navarro. If you're interested in original antiques, several prestigious dealers are clustered along Via Domenico Morelli and in Piazza dei Martiri. Via San Sebastiano, close to the Conservatory, is the kingdom of musical instrument shops.
The densest selection of goldsmiths' and jewelers' shops is located around the old jewelry-makers' quarter, Via degli Orefici (Street of the Goldsmiths), between Corso Umberto and Via Marina, but the area is noisy and frenetic. Dealers in the Centro Storico offer good choices and competitive prices. Shopping in an outdoor market is an essential Neapolitan experience too; food markets are all over town, and Neapolitans are the world masters of the used-clothing trade and unofficial brand-name knockoffs, sometimes of excellent quality. You might find shoes made by the same factories that turn out top brands, quality leather purses, or secondhand cashmere at the price of discount-store cotton. Of course, quite often you have to wade through a lot of dismal stock in order to get to the good stuff, but that can be part of the fun. Take precautions to guard against pickpockets.
In Vomero, the area around Piazza Vanvitelli, and Via Scarlatti in particular, has some good shops. Funiculars from Piazza Amedeo, Via Toledo, and Montesanto serve this portion of Vomero.