|Subject: Re: Naples|
We were in Napoli this past March and, happily, will be returning next
month. We found the city was more cacophonous than any other, almost as
crowded as Hong Kong, clearly poorer than cities further north in Italy and
quite dirty. But a great deal of fun and a very interesting city to visit
and experience. We can't wait to get back. It is a very busy city and for
someone seeking a restful, tranquil and easy place to visit, then Napoli
is not for that tourist. We found the food to be excellent and at least
equal to, and often much better than, other parts of Italy. The sea food is
The museums and other sites are magnificent and the views of Vesuvius, the Bay of Napoli and the Sorrento Peninsula from many parts of the city, but especially the Vomero section, on a clear day are wonderful. It is a bibliophile's paradise too, which, I guess, is surprising given the criticism the city usually gets.
Depending on one's budget, there are several excellent hotels which are centrally located on via Partenope--Santa Lucia, Vesuvius, Excelsior are examples of these hotels. For more moderately priced hotels, I would look into these on the net as they are well-rated in my Italian guide book (and easily found on the net): Executive; Mercure Napoli Angioino; Miramare; and, Suite Esedra. The latter one appears to be charming to me.
Restaurants for all budgets abound--Da Dora, La Cantina di Triunfo, Ciro a Mergellina, Giuseppone a Mare and Da Ettore (a pizzeria) are examples of good restaurants that are moderately priced. Napoli also has excellent street food--the fried potato croquettes and pizza alone are worth the trip to Napoli. The coffee and pastry (look for Cafe Mexico) are treats as well as is the gelato. As in any trip to a foreign country, careful research about the mores, customs etc. always pays dividends. I have always found it helpful to discuss what the traveler would like to do with the hotel concierge and/or the hotel people. In my experience they have always been very helpful and will confirm and/or amplify your plans plus will usually recommend other options.
The web has ok information about Napoli and Campania, but guide books such as The Eyewitness Guide to Naples, The Knopf Guide to Naples and the Cadogan Guide to Naples are all good. I would recommend studying all three of these. Also, Plotkin's Italy for the Gourmet Traveler, Arthur Schwartz's Naples at Table (a cookbook) and Kummer's article about Naples, which can be found at http://www.theatlantic.com, are excellent sources to gather reliable information about Napoli and the Region of Campania. Good maps of Campania and Napoli are also keys to the drafting the travel plan. Save your money by eschewing the other, more popular guide books.
The pity is that travelers quickly pass by Napoli in order to head for the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento and/or Capri. While Ravello on the Amalfi coast is a lovely place to stay for a few days, Sorrento and Capri are interesting only from the viewpoint to say that I have been there in my opinion.