Say even the biggest fans of Italy to visit Naples and their reactions will vary – from shock to horror. For many, the very name conjures up images of piles of junk and Mafia that breathes in the neck of the entire city. Naples is dusty. Naples is chaotic. Naples is a crazy city. Naples is also one of the most fascinating cities in Italy.
1. The best pizza you will ever taste
Ask any Italian whence comes the best pizza in Italy and the answer will undoubtedly be the same: “Napoli”. This is the birthplace of pizza and 19th-century Neapolitans have turned cooking into an art. Some of the best pizza in Naples is located on Via dei Tribunali, which is something of a Holy Grail.
Our advice: Pass recently at our favorite pizzeria Da Michele, which after “participation” in the film “Eat, Pray, Love” has become quite a tourist place and head to the not so popular I Decumani (Via dei Tribunali 58-61 ) or Di Matteo (Via Tribunali 94). In these two pizzerias will try criminally good pizzas. But we do not trust so blindly: Try them all and tell us what is your favorite place for pizza in Naples.
2. All those treasures of Pompeii? They are in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples …
A small part of frescoes, sculptures and mosaics from Pompeii, Herculaneum and other places destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD remained in place. They moved in Naples. The Archaeological Museum in the city is one of the best in Italy, if not in the world, packed to the brim with antique treasures: Farnese collection of statues, the statue of Artemis of Ephesus and a number of unique frescoes. If you’re lucky, Secret Gallery (Gabinetto Segreto) with erotic artifacts from the not-so-reputable establishments of Pompeii and Herculaneum can be opened.
Travel Tip: The secret gallery at first glance seem closed to visitors (lying is a chain on the door and the lights in the hall were extinguished), ask an employee at the museum that is indeed the case. Sometimes the demonstration of decorum, preventing the entry of children or the faint of heart, employees apply this strange tactic. The idea is that if you ask for Secret Gallery, you surely know what awaits you there and enter by accident.
3. Underground Naples
Naples is built on tuff, a soft volcanic rock. In the last 2500 years the locals have taken advantage of this fact by carved spaces and streets in the city. Today in the underworld of Naples travel can be seen from Ancient Greek aqueducts to pagan burial chambers, Christian catacombs and shelters from World War II. There are organized tours in the dungeons – for details ask at the tourist information center.
4. Not a castle but three (better known as Four)
Castel Nuovo, built in 1279 by Charles I of Naples; Castel dell’Ovo castle with an ancient origin and carrying a fresh name “Egg Castle”; Castel Sant Elmo – fortress that overlooks the town and dates back to 1275 in Naples is more Castel Capuano, castle from 12th century, located at the eastern end of the street Via dei Tribunali. But he was restored beyond recognition and today a little difficult find its person of the 12th century from under his new facade.
5. Caravaggio, Michelangelo and Raphael!
Even many not interested in art, be sure to stop by Capodimonte, even briefly. This gallery holds more treasures of art from any collection in Italy (except only the Uffizi Gallery in Florence).
You get a bonus: no need to squeeze five hours among a crowd of art lovers to stand in front of the paintings. Capodimonte boasts works by Caravaggio, Raphael, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Titian, Bellini, El Greco and even Andy Warhol – Picture topic eruption of Vesuvius.
6. carefree liveliness of Naples
Few cities are as lazy as Naples. Shops and tourist sites rarely open before 10 am, everything closes again around 12-13 pm. Debt-lunch siesta to 15-16 hours.
In the evening the city comes alive, especially the streets around the university and Spakanapoli (literally means “split Naples” – this is the street that separates the historic center of Naples in two). Hotspots recovery are Piazza Dante, the area around Castel del Ovo and coastal neighborhood Kiaya, especially the area between Piazza Amadeo and Piazza dei Martiri.
7. Baroque and bizarre sculptures
Art in Naples far limited to Capodimonte gallery or museum. One of the most remarkable sculptures are in the Museum of Sansevero Chapel (Capella Sansevero). There are sculptures from the 18th century, from the late Baroque period. The most famous is the statue “veiled Christ” Giuseppe Sanmartino.
Be sure to take a look and a different kind of statues which are located in the dungeons of the chapel. There you will see “anatomical models” who are true men of the 18th century whose skeletons arteries and veins are preserved almost intact today. Well, there is another, far more boring theory that the veins are made of beeswax, wire and silk. It seems that contemporary exhibition “The Human Body” has a version of the 18th century, which can be found in Naples.
8. Pies, cakes, pastries
Pizza is not the only food that Neapolitans cook well. Their “frit” (fried bites of whatever you remember, shrimp, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc.), Seafood and pasta are inhuman delicious. But there is something for nothing in the world should not overlook, and these are the Neapolitan bakeries.
Between the 12th and 19th century Naples was under the control of Frenchmen, Spaniards, Austrians, Burbons and this mixed heritage is reflected in the best way local sweets. Still, France, Spain and Austria have strong traditions in confectionery. Add to their influence and Italian culinary talent.
The result is salivation, often leading to spontaneous buying a plane ticket to Naples for the coming weekend. Local pastry surely try grandma sfoliatela.