I have read some of the reviews about Naples and can totally understand why they are so mixed. We went for four days and there wasn't time to do everything we wanted to. If you arrived here for a short time with no information or guide (such as a short stop on a cruise) I can imagine the impression Naples offers would be sadly lacking. Many parts of the city are a labyrinth of cobbled, narrow streets that are in many cases dirty and full of graffiti. Look past all of the surface grime though and it is a fascintating place. There are underground tunnels, funicular railways, an unfinished underground metro system and tons of history. Yes the traffic is totally manic and it would be very easy to be run over by thousands of mopeds but once you get used to it, do as the locals do and weave between it! There are castles - visit Castel Sant Elmo at the top of Vomero Hill. You can get on the funicular railway to the top of the hill and the views over the bay are amazing right out to Pompei. Most importantly though this is a city of two distinct parts. In order to understand it you have to see the Chiaia area which is completely different to the 'old' city and beyond this out to the sea. Get on the Metro out to Mergellina and walk down to the coast. Here you will find wide streets with little traffic and quiet hotels facing the sea which is a complete contrast. If you have time and a good map walk back towards the old city and you will pass through an area of designer shops and a quieter more refined district. Around the bay near Castel dell Ovo there are numerous restaurants with tables on the streets looking out to sea. It isn't a cheap place, but then again, what city is? An average 2 - 3 course evening meal with wine will set you back around 70 euros. It is a typical city where you do need to have your wits about you, but I felt quite safe. It would easy to dismiss it in a moment, I'd encourage you to look further and see it for the heady, mad, enthralling place it really is.
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