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Why Everyone Should Travel To Naples
14 August 2015

My recent discovery, an article in the Business Insider UK, has shaken my world a little bit. “Why no one wants to travel to Naples” was a headline that immediately caught my attention yet I couldn’t have guessed that an article implementing such a poor level of journalism could have been published in a leading UK magazine. Read the piece of crap here.

Now, in case you are interested in learning some up-to-date information that has not been mixed with bizarre statistics and incorrect facts about Naples, read on.


Business Insider UK: “TripAdvisor lists a total of 149 sights and landmarks and 118 activities and tours for Naples. For Rome, there’s 552 sights and landmarks and 618 tours and activities.” Therefore, there is “not all that much to do or see in Naples“. Wow. Just wow.

One of the best things about Naples is that it is not a crowded tourist hellhole. Tourists are often unaware of the gems of the city, but once found, they will be shocked to realise that there is no two-hour queue to enter the landmark. This will save you not only time but also a great deal of frustration on your holiday.

The Historic Centre of Naples is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Naples’ centro storico is full of artisan shops and handicraft boutiques

I bet there are not that many cities where you can go visit an ancient underground network of tunnels beneath the modern city. See my blog post about our visit in Napoli Sotterranea here.

Napoli Sotterranea offers tours in English and Italian

Museo di Capodimonte not only has a great collection of art but the park and the view are also spectacular.

Capodimonte view
Capodimonte view from inside the gallery

The National Archaeological museum has a section dedicated to sex and penises.

Penises not visible in this photo, though.

There are so bloody many churches just around every single corner that you could not possibly visit even half of them during your holiday.

Church of Gesu Nuovo looks like a dull wall of concrete on the outside, but surprises every visitor once you step in

Same goes for castles.

Castel Nuovo is so big it went all distorted in the photo.

Riding tours on an active volcano (which also happens to be the world’s most dangerous one, although I’m not sure if that is a great selling point… However, horses would sense an upcoming eruption long before humans would so being around them could actually save your life). Book your Vesuvius Horseback Riding Tour here.

Riding to the sunset. Photo via Vesuvius Horseback Riding Tour

Kayak trips to Roman houses and secret caves, anyone? Kayak Napoli‘s website here.


Graffiti, more or less artistic, can be found just about everywhere.


If you are into creepy stuff, try Catacombe di San GennaroFontanelle cemetery and Santa Maria del Purgatorio. Photo courtesy here.

Cimitero delle Fontanelle

Teatro di San Carlo, the oldest opera house in Europe, shows opera continuously. Photo by Vittorio Pandolfi, via Flickr.

Teatro di San Carlo is the oldest theatre in Europe

Stazione Zoologica is the home to the oldest public aquarium in Europe. Photo via SZN.

SZN is located in a beautiful park by the sea

The stations of Metropolitana di Napoli look bloody amazing. Each station is designed by a different architect.

Press play.

Pompeii, one of the world’s most visited archaeological sites, is only a short ride away. Photo by Jon Berghoff.


The Amalfi Coast is considered one of the most beautiful coasts in the world. Hire a car and you’ll be there in 1.5 hours. More on the Amalfi Coast in my blog post here.

Amalfi, here we come!
The town of Amalfi

Caserta Palace is a 40 minute ride away. I wrote about our visit there in this post.

Caserta Palace and park view
See that shady brick at the end of the park in the distance? Yes, that the ridiculously enormous Palace of Caserta.

The islands of CapriIschiaProcidaVentotene and Ponza surround the Bay of Naples.

Capri at night
Capri at night in the winter


Wait, does this mean that Naples has the best food in the world? Wouldn’t doubt it.

Naples is the birthplace of pizza… (Read my post about the Neapolitan pizza here)

Margheritas and a Filetto at Gino Sorbillo on Via Partenope

Home to espresso


Riccia has a crispy outside and a creamy inside…


Mozzarella di Bufala will blow your mind…

The real mozzarella has a sweet skin and is full of buffalo milk, most commonly eaten with piece of bread dunked in the milk. Simply divine.



Let’s not even get started with the seafood

Spaghetti alla Vongole. Penne alla Siciliana on the background

What about gelato?!

Pistacchio e stracciatella.


Let the photos speak for themselves.

Castell dell’Ovo in the distance
Chaotic yet charming. An alley off Via Toledo, the main shopping street
Piazza Amedeo. Not all areas in Naples look like landfills for toxic waste.
Lungomare, Via Partenope


Although often overlooked by tourists, I consider this an essential element about Naples. One cannot really understand the soul of Naples without acknowledging that the city is all about love, emotions and passion.

Graffiti around the streets of Naples may look disturbing to someone visiting the city for the first time, but once you realise that the majority of them are just love letters from one lovestruck teenager to another, your heart melts. Ti amo Maria and Mi manchi Francesco seem to be written all around the city.

Subtle declarations of love

Imagine St. Valentine’s day in Naples: couples walking hand in hand, immigrants selling roses to bypassers on the streets (and the women getting offended if their partner doesn’t buy them one), and restaurants decorated with heart shaped balloons, offering only San Valentino‘s special menus. This is the most romantic day of the year and Neapolitans are not afraid to show the love.

Neapolitan love locks.

In fact, PDA’s (public displays of affection, what a terrible term) are a common sight on the streets of Naples all year round.

Yes, there is a girl underneath the man without a head on the right.


Now that was a bold statement, but certainly not any bolder than the “facts” stated in the Business Insider article.

Just like the streets of the city, the people of Naples are also colourful, lively, warm and fun. When I first met my boyfriend (who would probably like me to state here that he himself is Sicilian, not Neapolitan) and started my regular visits to Naples, I did not understand a word in Italian nor the locals a word in English, but somehow I always found myself in conversations with locals, feeling like we were already friends.

This boy casually asked me to photograph him and immediately stroke a cool pose like a pro. Clearly Neapolitan!

Something that should be taken into account when comparing Naples with the glorious and clean Northern Italian towns is that Naples is one of the few cities that has been continuously inhabited for over 3000 years. That means Naples existed long before Rome, Milan or Venice. It is a city that has seen it all and survived it all, whether it was a powerful eruption of a volcano, an invasion of the Greeks, Normans, French or Spanish, or the ground being sabotaged by toxic waste by the mafia. Naples has almost always been poor and thanks to that, the poor man’s kitchen, cucina povera, and pizza, a street food dish for poor people, were born. (Edit: Naples has not indeed always been poor; Naples used to be the capital of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.)

Naples has always highlighted its Greek heritage, even in the Roman times, and is proud to be considered different from other Italian cities and towns, holding the head high while doing so. Neapolitan dialect is still alive and well, and people a little louder and prouder than elsewhere. It is not a surprise that writers and artists from Oscar Wilde to Andy Warhol have been inspired by the beauty of the city – the rustiness, the loudness and the liveliness of it.

Bella Napoli – filthy and poor or vibrant and inspiring? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I guess Naples is not a city for everyone, though. There are travellers who are not willing to step out of their comfort zone and wander to streets where the sightseeing bus tour won’t take them, and tourists who cannot be bothered to learn a word or two in Italian to know what they are ordering in a restaurant where no one speaks English. Some are frightened by rumours of high rates of criminality and don’t realise that Barcelona and London are cities where you are just as likely to become mugged or pickpocketed, and that Camorra, the Neapolitan mafia, does not mean a bunch of criminals going around the streets culling tourists as they come.

Yes, the traffic rules may be only suggestions in Naples and the drivers complete maniacs, the train station may look dreadful and spotting stray dogs may break your heart, and you may have to rise your voice from time to time to get what you want. However, every city has its faults. Wouldn’t it be justified to excuse this ancient, way too densely populated city from a few of her defects? Because once you let yourself to go with the flow and the city to embrace you, I guarantee that the Neapolitan people, culture and all the treasures will give true meaning to the old proverb, “Vedi Napoli e poi muori!“.

Vedi Napoli e poi muori.

I would like to thank a recent post on the Napoli Unplugged Facebook page for giving me the inspiration to write this post. I was glad to see I was not the only one with a word or two to say about the Business Insider article.

Edit 10.8.2015 : Some typos corrected, a note about the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies added.

Fonte: always abroad