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NAPLES (Napoli)

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Naples, Vesuvius from Posillipo
Naples, Vesuvius from Posillipo, (c) Can Stock Photo / TaniaLerro

Naples is a city on the Bay of Naples on the Tyrrhenian Sea, which is in the Mediterranean on the west coast of Italy.  The city has an urban population of more than 3 million.  In southern Italy and Naples, the language spoken is a dialect of Italian known as Neapolitan.  Naples' claims to fame are the invention of pizza and neapolitan ice cream.  It is the nearest city to the archeological site of Pompeii.  Naples has long been known as one of the more dangerous and also more authentic areas of Italy.  In recent years effort has been spent on modernization and tourism.  The 2013 banning of cars along the waterfront just south of the ferry terminal is a prime example.

Weather:

The summer months of June through September experience average highs of 85 F (29 C) and average lows of 60 F (16 C).  Average highs in winter are just under 50 F (10 C) while average lows are around 40 F (4 C).  The rainy season extends from October to February.  The best time to visit Naples for good weather is July.

   

Transportation:

Naples International Airport (Aeroporto Internazionale de Napoli) is only about 10 minutes by cab from the Napoli Centrale train station, which connects to other Italian cities such as Rome.  Underneath Napoli Centrale is the regional Garibaldi station which takes passengers to Pompeii.  From Napoli Centrale it's less than 15 minutes by cab to the ferry port and cruise ship terminal at Molo Beverello, where you can visit many historical buildings on a walking tour or catch the ferries to Capri or Ischia.

Pompeii with Mount Vesuvius in the background, Naples, Italy

Pompeii with Mount Vesuvius in the background

Attractions in Naples:

Things to see and do:

Piazza Garibaldi, Naples

Piazza Garibaldi, Naples

Things to see and do near Naples:

  • Visit Pompeii - ride the Circumvesuvia train from the Garibaldi station, adjoining the Napoli Centrale.  Turn right when you walk off the train from Naples - there is no sign.  It takes less than an hour to get there.  The stop is not well marked, but almost everyone gets off at this stop, so follow the crowds.  The entrance to Pompeii isn't well marked either, but it's only a few minutes of walking from the station.

  • Take a half day excursion to the extinct volcano of Mount Vesuvius, which erupted to bury Pompeii in 79 AD.

  • Take a day trip to Capri.

  • Take a day trip to Isla Procida, a small island in the Bay of Naples that is easily accessed from the ferry docks.

  • Take a day trip to Ischia.  Ischia is in the Bay of Naples.  It is larger than Capri and is less inundated with tourists, which makes it a great option.  The largest city on Ischia is also called Ischia.  Visit the Castle, Castello Aragonese, which was built in the 1400s and dominates the landscape.  There are also thermal springs and great beaches on the island. Catch a ferry to Ischia at the Naples Port at Molo Beverello, which is where you also catch the ferry to Capri.

  • Pompeii and Amalfi Coast Day Trip from Naples

  • Private Tour: Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi and Ravello Day Trip from Naples

  • Travel to the coastal town of Ercolano, to explore the ruins of Herculaneum.

Street vendors in the Piazza Garibaldi, Naples

Street vendors in the Piazza Garibaldi, Naples

Naples with Tim Anderson
We were up too early for our free breakfast again in the morning in our hotel in Florence.  Over to the train station for our regular cafe lattes and the 3 hour ride to Naples. Naples was crazy, but fun.  We stayed at the UNA Hotel Napoli on the Piazza Garibaldi across from the train station.  This was a lovely room, our best on the trip, with a full bath and marble tile.  The room had wide screen TV and fancy remote controlling of all lights from the bed. There was a view of the piazza.  When you opened the windows, the sounds of Napoli came blasting through.  The square has cars coming in from 5 directions in a complicated traffic circle with no standard rules about where people or cars should be.  Throw you life in your hands and cross wherever you feel you might survive.  The horn honking is continuous; indicating that either the driver politely wants you to know they are there or impolitely wants you to get out of the way.  Add a few sirens and encapsulate this in a ring of street vendors and you have the constant din of Napoli. Lots of fun. 

Two way street for chariots, Pompeii, Naples, Italy

Two way street for chariots, Pompeii

We headed on foot to the Circumvesuvia train from the Garibaldi station, adjoining the Napoli Centrale station.  The Circumvesuvia is a small train full of graffiti and full of passengers heading to Pompeii.  When you arrive at Pompeii, there are no directions and the throng of visitors humorously comes to a stop as people start to pull out maps trying to figure out where to go.  We passed them and gambled to the right, which turned out to be correct.  The site is quite amazing, not only for its ruins but for its size.  We used the Rick Steves podcast map, which was great.  We also had the podcast audio but unfortunately I'm not a certified iPod operator and the battery was dead, so we missed the audio accompaniment by Rick.  In retrospect not a bad thing.  We enjoyed following the map for three hours.  A very pleasant day and we both agreed that city, the ruins and the hotel all received an unexpectedly much higher rating. 


Naples Traffic

Naples Tours:

Hotels in Naples:

Booking.com Hotel Listings for Naples

UNA Hotel Napoli on the Piazza Garibaldi across from the train station.

Naples International Airport - NAP (Booking.com) - including a list of hotels with a shuttle.


View Naples map


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