Perhaps the best way to discover Naples is to mingle amongst the locals within their everyday lives. Stroll the streets, admire the surroundings and enjoy the plentiful street food options, which is a culture of its own.
Words by Lalla Usai | Extract taken from March's 2023 Il-Bizzilla Magazine | Read more here
There are at least 200 steps within the city, for you to climb and reach the many breathtaking and hidden views. If you are willing to put stereotypes aside, you will discover that the city itself is unique, vibrant, romantic, yet always with something different to offer.
ACTIVITIES IN THE CITY
• Explore for yourself the underground beneath Naples at the Lapis Museum within the Complesso della Pietrasanta.
• Visit the unique churches of the 14th century Donnaregina Vecchia and the 17th century Donnaregina Nuova (the works of Giordano, Solimena, and Vaccaro) or the hidden San Giovanni a Carbonara.
• Climb along the 440 steps of the Pedamentina connecting the historic center to the Belvedere di San Martino, to appreciate a new perspective of the city.
• Take a tour of the Galleria Borbonica and discover the ancient tanks and air-raid shelters, featuring a tunnel dug by King Ferdinand II.
SOME ADVICE ON WHERE TO GO
• If you are in search of street art, go to the Alleys of the Old Center. There you will find graffiti and murals done by Jorit, Bansky and many others.
• The neighbourhood of Rione Sanità embodies the tradition and history of Naples more than any other in the city, and it is experiencing a cultural rebirth like no other. Some sites not to be missed are the Palazzo dello Spagnolo, the Catacombs of San Gaudioso and San Gennaro, the Church of Saint Maria and the Veiled Son of Jago.
• If you’d like to go kayaking or canoeing along the coast, best to visit Posillipo. From there you’ll explore the Roman ruins and the protected marine area of Gaiola with ease.
• The central shopping street Via Toledo and the hilly Vomero district offer endless possibilities for all tastes and budgets. Meanwhile, the area between Via dei Mille and Via Calabritto is a destination for those seeking higher end brands.
• The search for the unique pieces stops in the Historic Center, where you’ll find an interesting choice of ecclectic shops. The vintage shops house unique treasures at reasonable prices.
• Artisan shops in the Historic district worth noting are those near San Biagio dei Librai and Basilica of San Domenico. Here you can find handmade hats (Artigiano Freak), handcrafted leather bags, accessories.
• When you’re waiting to see the Veiled Christ at the nearby San Severo Chapel, duck into the Gallery Art Shop for artistic artifacts.
WHERE TO EAT
Eating poorly in Naples is difficult when the offer is this wide and varied. From the classic street food delicious anywhere you go, to the newer gastronomic concepts, Naples is a dream for all foodies.
• At Pino Napoli in the Chiaia district you can taste traditional dishes in an elegant and sophisticated environment, welcoming you into the garden illuminated by fireflies.
• Essencia Restaurant (Largo S. Maria La Nova), a refined place that "reinvents" Neapolitan flavors with Spanish contaminations.
• At the Luminist Caffè & Bistrot, inside the Galleria d'Italia on Via Toledo traditional ‘comfort food’ is presented in a contemporary and accessible way, with the chef not too far away.
• Discover a modern interpretation of pizza with quality seasonal ingredients at The Albero dei Visconti in History Centre. You also have Isabella De Cham at Rione Sanità offering a light and delicious fried pizza, filled with quality ingredients and unusual combinations.
• For a sneaky aperitif, enjoy places such as the Botanical Barrio at Palazzo Fondi, as well as the Archivio Storico in Vomero, set in an atmosphere of history and contemporary art, alongside a rich menu.
• When it comes to pastry shops, the choice is endless. Ciro's staple to Poppella's Fiocchi di neve, from Mignone's puff pastry to Capparelli's babà, the city is a paradise for gourmands.