Naples is considered the most special city in Italy and undoubtedly the most “Italian” of them all. A kind of bittersweet dessert that ranges between pulsating history and total chaos, between welcoming tourism and tough types, between wild landscapes and messy alleys. It is the capital of the Campania region and the unofficial queen of southern Italy, the third largest in terms of population and the second largest in area. It was founded between the 7th and 6th centuries BC by the Greeks and since then has quite closely combined the ancient Roman culture with that of modern Italy. The city is considered a world heritage site and is dotted with 448 churches – the highest number of churches for a city.
Naples is a wonder you can love or hate. Even today it still suffers from the image of the bakeries and garbage that stuck to it, but it is also famous for the Neapolitan pizza which is considered the best Italian pizza of all, the magnetic views and the busy and colorful street. And those who choose not to give it up even after the baptism of fire of the first day, will discover an unusual and addictive city, which has not yet been commercialized, jealously guards its culture and provides (like its pizza) also good additions of wonderful nearby destinations where there are additional attractions and a lot to do.
A large number of travelers to Naples combine it with a larger trip in southern Italy that also includes destinations such as Capri, Amalfi and Sorrento, so most overnight stays in the city are usually for a day or two. On the other hand, those who stay in the city for a longer period of time in order to make the most of it, will be happy to discover a very diverse city in its hotels, cheap accommodation options such as guest houses, holiday apartments and hostels alongside first class quality hotels. In Naples there are about 2,300 different accommodations from which you can choose your favorite.
The recommended accommodation area in Naples is the old city, which centers most of the popular tourist sites and a great abundance of shops and restaurants. Here too, as in all areas of the city, you can choose the level of your hotel and not be satisfied only with the luxury hotels. The price range for accommodation in 3-star hotels is around NIS 350-300 per night per couple, while the rates in luxury hotels are NIS 1,000 per night per couple.
There are many, many words to pour out about the restaurants in Naples, and the food in southern Italy in general, but we will try to be brief:
The climate here does wonders for the vegetables, the breads are served fresh straight from the oven and there is nothing more delightful than the Neapolitan limoncello. So much for the nibbles, and now for the main thing: pizza a la Napolitana that can easily be crowned as the queen of the world pizzas. A typical Neapolitan pizza consists of a thick but simple traditional dough and cheeses prepared exactly that day. Sprinkle oregano, mozzarella, tomato and anchovies on top. The result is a pizza that literally melts in your mouth and you can eat a lot of it. Another pizza is a Margherita, which includes a thinner base and without anchovies, but with a layer of tomato spread on top of which the cheese is spread. Beyond the usual tourist restaurants, it is very worthwhile to look for a good home restaurant that serves authentic foods. The street food is full of sticky and sweet homemade sweets and the bigger the crowd around the stand, the better the quality of the food.
The popular pasta in Naples is Bucatini – thick and tubular, similar to spaghetti number 8 from the supermarket, only much better quality and richer of course. Another interesting pasta that is worth dedicating a few lines to is spaghetti alla putansca and if the name sends you to the name of an ancient female profession in Spanish, it is not by chance: this dish was probably eaten by needy prostitutes in older days, thanks to its quick preparation and eating it in a hurry, with a high feeling of satiety is very. Another recommended and favorite dish in Naples is il serto di risso – a rich rice casserole that includes chopped meat, brains, chicken livers, mushrooms, sausages and peas, with pieces of mozzarella and parmesan sprinkled on top.
Beyond that, the area specializes in fish, antipasti, ragout, lasagna and marmalades. Southern food is different from that of northern Italy in terms of the composition of the dishes and the methods of preparation, but the abundance and variety as well as the maddening flavors invite a desire for more and more meals at the restaurant.
In Naples you can wander for a whole week or you can just pass on the road, depending on the type of traveler you are. You can use the city’s developed transportation system to move between the various sites in and out and also buy combined tickets that include entry to several recommended attractions. Here are a handful of the best attractions that the city offers:
La Pignasecca, the ancient and colorful market of Naples, is not to be missed! Delicacies, seafood, fruits and vegetables from local agriculture, local cheeses and wines, even textiles await you here. Suitable for lazy cooks in a local apartment and also for those who want to wander and have a snack, or buy some good souvenirs.
Medieval Naples was not very merciful. One of the ancient customs spread here was the decoration of the burial caves with the skulls of the dead, with the greatest concentration being in the church of San Gennaro, who was the patron saint of the city. The remains of Bishop St. Gaudiosus, various nobles and key figures in the Christian world are also preserved here. Here is also the crypt – the impressive and threatening burial cave.
Bellini Square is a central and lively square that is an attractive center where you can rub shoulders with Bohemia and sip fine coffee. The square overlooks the Greek walls built here in the fourth century AD. Visiting Bellini in the evening is a recommended experience of romantic lights, restaurants and a lively atmosphere.
The Neapolitan Chapel Museum is housed in a special Baroque church from the end of the 16th century and houses amazing works of art from the city’s best artists, including amazing marble sculptures.
The tourist hill of vomero will allow you to watch from above the whole city and also visit the 14th century St. Elmo Castle, St. Martin’s Monastery which includes a museum and the possibility to reach all these stations by cable car.
Amongst a multitude of churches and ancient sites, a volcanic park is certainly not an ordinary sight in Italy. This is an active and rare volcanic area where there are 40 volcanoes that emit lava at low and harmless intensities and it is an experience not to be missed!
Royal Palace of Caserta
Around Naples there are quite a few other sites worth seeing and the Royal Palace is one of the must see sites among them, located in the town of Caserta about an hour from Naples. The palace from the 18th century includes 1,200 rooms and is surrounded by gardens and particularly impressive waterfalls that can fill an entire day trip. The palace is visited by about half a million tourists a year and you should combine the visit with one of the successful (and cheap) restaurants in the area. It is the largest royal palace in Europe. An extraordinary structure that also starred in several blockbusters such as Mission Impossible 3 and Star Wars 2.
It is recommended to visit both the port town and the legendary Limoncello of Capri and the nearby Sorrento. Another town located between Sorrento and Ampelli is Positano – a prestigious location that includes several fine luxury restaurants.
The city of Pompeii is one of the most visited sites in Italy and for good reason: these are the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii, which was destroyed following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. According to scientific determinations, the eruption was several thousand times more powerful than any modern atomic bomb, but the large amount of ash and the lack of moisture in the place created an incredible situation in itself, so that a significant part of the city remained intact and provides a rare glimpse into the life of the city in the ancient Roman period, when Mount Vesuvius from the terror missile is found in the background.
Herculaneum is a Roman city that was also destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius, although this occurred about 12 hours after the destruction of Pompeii. The powerful sheet of hot ash at a temperature of more than 400 degrees Celsius roasted the city and was accompanied by rocks and volcanic gases that destroyed everything at a speed of over one hundred kilometers per hour. This created the appearance of a city frozen in time, wonderful and intriguing, even better preserved than Pompeii.
The tourist bus of Naples
An attractive way to discover Naples especially with the children. The circular route stops at the city’s attractions and allows tourists to get off at any interesting stop, stay there indefinitely and get on the next bus to continue. The route moves over 3,000 years of culture and history in Naples, without you having to plan the day of the trip in detail, without relying on the public transportation system and with great ease.
Another option is to purchase a combined ticket for the attractions and museums in the city including: Capodimonte Museum, Sant’Elmo Castle, Pignatelli Villa and the Certosa and San Martino museums. The ticket is valid for two days.
Italians are not known for strict adherence to traffic laws and the urban jungle of Naples is the least subtle expression of Italian driving culture. A typical driver takes the traffic lights and road signs as a recommendation, the signaling is accepted here like a seat belt in a kibbutz and thousands of small scooters fly fast and can jump even experienced drivers. Therefore, the basic recommendation is to avoid driving within the city, unless there is a real need for it that cannot be solved by traveling by public transportation.
If you rented a car in Naples, there are many city parking lots where you can leave the car such as the Garibaldi train station, the Stella district and even in the airport parking lot, but if your hotel has a private car park (almost always for an additional fee) – it is better to take advantage of it. The reason is to avoid car-breaking thieves who operate on a large scale in the city areas.
In the center of Naples, the parking lots are called “garages” and in them you will be asked to drive the vehicle up to the guard booth and from there the guard will take the keys from you and park the vehicle with incredibly precise density. If you prefer to avoid, look for an orange/orange-blue/blue street spear. The first two are parking for a limited time as indicated on the parking sign. The blue is parking for an unlimited time. In any case, parking is paid at the Mechan.
If you use the car to continue to other destinations in the south or to the towns near Naples, you will not have any problems with them regarding parking and driving.
Naples Airport – Aeroporto Internazionale di Capodichino is 25 minutes from the city in total and offers varied access routes.
There are flights from Israel to Naples that are usually made with El Al, Alitalia and EasyJet (low cost), but most of the flights (not all. There are also direct flights) include stopovers at additional destinations in Italy or Europe itself. Throughout the year it is difficult to get the direct flights, which are naturally also more expensive. The duration of the direct flight to Naples is 3 hours and 25 minutes, with the time getting longer the longer the stay at the connection destination. On the other hand, the farther the connection is by air from Naples, the cheaper the flight price will be.
Flight prices in the season are about 550 dollars on average for a single round trip ticket. The months January-February are considered the cheapest dates and the cost of the ticket in them is about 150 dollars per person. The cheapest prices are always in the 90th minute and are below 90 dollars per ticket.
The ideal months for the magnificent southern Italian tourism are July-August, although as in any other Italian city, you have to take into account the crowding and congestion, the heavy heat and the high prices of the hotels. Therefore, the recommendation for those who wish to absorb the city in a more comfortable and pleasant way, is to visit it during the Israeli holidays (September-October), or between the months of March-May and enjoy relatively similar weather to Israel as well as favorable prices.
“See Naples and die” is no longer a worn saying. Some of you will indeed feel that it makes them want to run away within a day, but those who will give it a real chance, who will experience it for another day or two, who will listen to the rhythm, the culture and the pulse of the city that folds the old and the new in it, will undoubtedly find in it what their soul loved.
Naples is the capital of southern Italy and despite the negative image it is an interesting city with many worthwhile points of interest. You can find on the site suggestions for itineraries in Naples.
On the Simple Italy website you can find all types of accommodation that Naples offers, certainly also hotels that are suitable for families with children.
Great question! There are so many great pizzas in Naples that choosing just one would be an injustice. You can find on the website a list of recommended pizzerias in Naples and check for yourself.
The views and nature of the Campania region are breathtaking, and of course Naples was blessed with a large part of them. On the site you can read about all the must-visit sites in the area.