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Naples advice, afew questions!

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Naples advice, afew questions!

Hi

I am determined to visit Naples next year, though lots of friends and family seem determined to put me off! We have seen it briefly, only the train station and Piazza Garibaldi though, on our way to southern Italy, needless to say, that was not too nice! I am certain, that there are some nice things to see in Naples, and like anywhere, we will be careful not to make ourselves targets.

I have some questions then:

1)How long is long enough in Naples? I was thinking 3 to 4 days might be about right? I enjoy sightseeing, seeing museums, taking in the general ambience etc. I have already been to Capri and the Amalfi in the past etc, so am not fussed about revisiting them, the same goes for Pompei.

2) What part of town should I be staying in? Obviously NOT Piazza Garibaldi! Do I want to be in the Bay of Naples? How far is that for access to the main City?

3)Does anyone know of an affordable hotel in a good location please?

4) I see a car is not particularly recommended in Naples? (I have seen how Neopolitans drive, so no surprise there!), however we are happy to hire a car when we leave Naples for our next location, but where should that be??? As I say, we have already done the Amalfi, and further south down to Calabria, so I was thinking of perhaps the other side of Italy, or somewhere north of Naples? We do not mind doing a few days here, and afew days there to see as much as poss. We intend our holiday to be between 10 and days in total.

Please advise me, and then I can look at flights!

Thanks

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1. Re: Naples advice, afew questions!

Do visit Naples, it is truly a beautiful city with many worthwhile monuments, churches, museums and beautiful neighbourhoods. It is no more dangerous or unsafe than any other large European city. I have now had two holidays in Naples - one in the summer and again last winter and found it to feel safer than London or Rome.

You can easily spend 4- 5 days there and still not do justice to all the important sights within the city itself and it is so much better to have a relaxed time than running about trying to see everything in a short space of time.

We stayed in a charming hotel - the Dimora Sant'Eligio on via B. Rota which is near the historic centre, the Spaccanapoli, just off the Corso Umberto - that I can wholeheartedly recommend - a small hotel with nicely decorated, comfortable rooms and warm, friendly service. It is in a good location within easy walking distance to all the main attractions. It is about a 15 minute walk from Piazza Garibaldi and a 25 minute walk to Piazza del Plebiscito.

Definitely do NOT drive in Naples unless you are a native. Anyway, the public transport services - buses, funicular and trains - are excellent and cheap.

Buon viaggio!

Hagerstown, Maryland
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2. Re: Naples advice, afew questions!

"I am determined to visit Naples next year, though lots of friends and family seem determined to put me off! "

I like your spirit Redpanda! Yes, Naples has a rather dubious reputation, but it is indeed a beautiful and fascinating city. One just has to dig a little harder to realize it. The city doesn't seem to promote itself and roll out the welcome mat for tourists to the same extent as other cities. I'm glad you are not judging the city on the basis of the admittedly unattractive area around the train station, as some people are determined to do. A much better vantage point would be the top of Vomero hill, overlooking the city and bay below, with Mt. Vesuvius in the distance. Frankly, I think there are few sights as enthralling as that one.

If you haven't done so yet, get a good guidebook - I especially like the DK Eyewitness Guide. And if you really want to get nuts for Napoli, read the book "Falling Palace: A Romance of Naples," by Dan Hofstadter. He's an American who lived in Naples for several years, and describes many of the Neapolitan traditions, myths, recent history, etc.

1) How long to spend there? I think 3-4 days days would be great, especially if you're not going out to Pompeii, etc. That's about how long I was there in late March, but I went out of town a couple of times. It wasn't nearly enough for me, and so I have return trip of 5 days planned for next Spring. I expect to devote the better part of one day to the island of Procida.

2) I suggest staying in either the Historic Center or Chiaia. A rather new and inexpensive hotel that gets great guest reviews is Hotel Piazza Bellini, which is fairly close to the Archeological Museum. I'm booked there myself for my next trip. Another one to consider is the Pinto Storey in Chiaia, which is where I stayed last Spring. A very nice hotel for the price, and it's right outside the Piazza Amedeo metro station (also a funicular station for going up Vomero hill). I've looked into the possibility of staying on the waterfront, but the hotels there tend to be rather expensive. Also that area seems a bit "away" from the Historic Center (though it's really not that far a distance) and there is no metro station there. Although there is a nice inexpensive B&B called Parteno at Piazza Vittoria with a great view of the sea - google it and find their website, you'll see what I mean.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

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3. Re: Naples advice, afew questions!

Hi

Thanks so much for your replies so far. My hubby and I like places like Naples, I just know we will like it. When we went around Italy last summer, people (mostly Italians) were amazed that we loved Salerno! We thought it was ace, with a really good vibe, and hardly any tourists there, that is the type of place we like! No doubt it has its problems, but we live in Manchester (UK) and that also has problems. We have visited, amongst other places, Cape Town, and New York, which we may have avoided had we listened to horror stories. You would never go anywhere if you were so afraid!!

I saw this programme last year about this guy who went around Italy, and on the "naples" section, he went to this underground crypt, it was amazing! I would love to see something like that, but I think he must have been "in the know". It was litereally at the back of someones shop!

Now...How big is Naples? We really love walking, and negotiated all of Rome, all of Prague and most of Manhatten on foot (I think you miss a lot if you are on public transport), how does Naples compare to this? Is it walkable, in theory??

Also, any more ideas as to where to head after our stay there??

Thanks again

R

Cambridge, United...
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4. Re: Naples advice, afew questions!

Redpanda, that would have been Francesco da Mosto, am I right? I think he probably did have "the right contacts", but if you google "Napoli Sotterranea" you might find some useful info - you can certainly get round some of the catacombs, but perhaps not all!

Hagerstown, Maryland
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5. Re: Naples advice, afew questions!

I saw a show like that too a while back on the History Channel here in the U.S. Yes, I remember one trip underground originating from the floor in someone's shop.

There's an extensive network of tunnels under Naples, many of which were built by the Greeks and ancient Romans. In more recent years, cars and I believe even whole buildings have been swallowed up when the ground underneath them collapsed. It's a major concern there. Napoli Sotterranea is a group that will take you on tours of some of these tunnels, including ones where many residents hid during the heavy bombing of WWII.

You should know there's an excavation of an ancient Roman shopping district underneath one of main cathedrals in the historic center. You don't need a tour guide to visit it.

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6. Re: Naples advice, afew questions!

Yes, thats the fella, I remember taping the whole series, it was fascinating. I really cant wait to see Naples, it sounds like there is loads to see. Thanks so much for replies so far, any other comments, or suggestions, especially as to where to go after Naples, much appreciated!

Thanks

R

Salerno, Italia
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7. Re: Naples advice, afew questions!

Dear redpanda30,

If you're going to stay on the water in the Santa Lucia district near Piazza Vittoria on Via Partenope with that great view of Vesuvio and even a slight view of Capri on a clear day, then you could walk around 5-10 minutes to reach ritzy Via Chiaia which then heads right to Piazza Plebiscito, Via Toledo, Teatro San Carlo, and the Galleria Umberto(parts have been renovated). Once you're on Via Toledo, you can walk toward the Centro Storico area/Piazza Dante and then over to the Museo Nazionale which might be around a 15-20 minute walk from Via Chiaia/Piazza Trieste e Trento.

Piazza Bellini is nice and Via Constantinopoli is also a nice street (antique stores, used/new book shops, musicians and artists walking around) to walk along as it's around a 5-10 minute walk to Via Foria and the Museo Nazionale. Someone said that Un Sorriso Integrale, the vegetarian restaurant, on Vico San Pietro a Majella near Piazza Bellini is good, however, we suffered through lunch (slow, one coldly served very mediocre/bad primo piatto) and looked forward to getting out of there.

There are scavi all over Napoli, some are free and some aren't. Napoli Sotteranea is right across the street from the Scavi (€5) of la Chiesa San Lorenzo Maggiore. Then there are Scavi under the Duomo on Via Duomo and at Piazza Bellini and the Scavi di Forcella (tricky neighborhood).

http://www.napolisotterranea.org/

http://www.sanlorenzomaggiorenapoli.it/

There's a tiny museum at the Museo Metro stop under the Museo Archeologico which costs I think €1 or so and shows all the ancient findings which workers bumped into when they started digging the new metro line 1 stops.

For royal palace museums, Palazzo Reale (built by an Ebolese) right across from Piazza Plebiscito and Capodimonte have some well-preserved rooms complete with paintings, sculptures, furniture, and the latter has some fantastic paintings:

http://preale.baa.remuna.org/

http://capodimonte.spmn.remuna.org/

The Villa Pignatelli museum down the street from Piazza Vittoria has one of the most well-kept lawns I've seen in Napoli:

http://pignatelli.spmn.remuna.org/

While in Napoli, it's a good idea not to wear a nice Rolex-type watch or gold jewelry (a wedding ring is ok). During one weekend in Sep 2007 four foreign tourists on different occasions in different areas of downtown Napoli (Molo Beverello, Via Chiaia) were robbed of their Rolex watches.

Napoli has changed significantly over the past 10 years and maybe EU money has poured in to put more indicator signs up for tourists and to redo roads and piazzas. Nevertheless, the city can seem like a maze so as mentioned a guide book and/or these forums can help.

Buona Fortuna...

United Kingdom
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8. Re: Naples advice, afew questions!

Hi

Great tips there, thanks. We should be so lucky as to own a Rolex LOL! I don't wear expensive jewellery anyway, so I will be fine in that respect, it was more our passports and money that I was concerned about.

Do you think, all things considered, we will be better staying on the seafront then? As long as it is walkable to most of the sites I am happy with that.

Thanks in advance

Salerno, Italia
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9. Re: Naples advice, afew questions!

Dear redpanda30,

For many locals, the most beautiful tourist/hotel area is right on the ocean, one of Napoli's most major assets. Santa Lucia is nice because as mentioned the view is nice and the area central. Plus there are many pizzerias and restaurants to choose from along the waterfront. The bad part about that area is that prices might be higher because the view and maybe the higher rents factor into the bill.

Nevertheless, the other hotels mentioned are also central and are around a 15 minute walk or so to Piazza Municipio and even Via Toledo.

Buona Fortuna...

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10. Re: Naples advice, afew questions!

redpanda30

I suggest staying in the Spaccanapoli area if you want to get a better feel for the day to day life of Naples - the narrow streets with the washing hanging from above, the small cafes and restaurants, the hustle and bustle.

You can always walk to the Santa Lucia for a walk along the seafront promenade and a visit to "Egg" Castle. The hotels there tend to be "Grand" and therefore more expensive and the area is a little gentrified to cater to the tourists.