So far, I feel like my preconceived notions of cities in Southern Italy have been wrong. I was told that there’s not much to see in Naples, but that would be wrong.
I took two and a half days to see Naples city, and I don’t think I saw all of it.
I arrived by bus from Bari and by the time I got to my hostel it was 3pm.
I stayed at La Controra Hostel.
The first afternoon, I toured the historical center and planned out my stay. Just like in Bari, I was confusing my languages; however, as I continued my stay, I stopped using Czech and started using more Spanish. Still the wrong language, but it’s a lot closer.
The historic old town is the classic European town. Tiny cobblestones streets and churches on basically every block.
And pizza everywhere! Of course, Naples is the home of pizza, but I was so surprised. And it wasn’t just the tourists….locals lined up (in classic Italian chaotic lines) for food. Since the eateries, I don’t want to call them restaurants as they were hole in the wall places, were so small the line invaded the narrow streets.
The historical center was definitely packed with people!
My hostel gives free food with a purchase of a drink so for most dinners I ate there (paying one euro for a coke). I met several interesting individuals.
One was a woman from New Zealand. She said she is a classists. I had no idea what she meant until she explained it was the study of Greek and Roman history etc. Her passion was contagious and she was super excited that I was going to Paestum, a Greek ruin. Please see my Paestum post.
Met a British man who goes around Europe advocatimg about how most of our negative thoughts are society inflicted and that we only need ourselves to be positive. I’m not doing justice to what he advocates, but I was agreeing with, if not all, most of it.
There was also a Polish woman in my room and it was nice talking with her about familiar things (Polish/Czech things).
The next day, I got an early start because I wanted to view this Chapel that houses a really beautiful statue of a dead Jesus. I didn’t see it this day, but saw it later and for sure this Jesus marble statue looks like a real being. It was very life like. No pictures allowed inside, however. I asked a clarifying question to a worker and she showed great pleasure in telling me it was “forbidden.”
I didn’t do it my first day because the line was so long to buy tickets and then to wait to enter. When I did go, the line to enter (no ticket line) took me 15 minites. The Chapel is called San Severo. It was originally built for a family’s mausoleum.
I wandered along the coast as, besides Bari, it has been a long time since I was at the water’s edge.
At the waterfront there is a free castle that offers nice views of the gulf. I also took a tour of the Opera house. It’s your standard opera house- beautiful and elegant.
It was firemen day or something and there were a lot of activities in the big square near the water. I sat on the church there’s steps watching as the children took rides and we’re pillow in fighting (???).
I had bought a day ticket for the transportation and it also covered the funiculars or cable cars to the top of Naples. There’s another castle here (full price is 5 euros) that offers 360 degree views of the city. The view is really nice, but you get a smaller version for free below the castle (depending how much you would like to cut costs, I would recommend this).
I took advantage of my day pass by stopping in the metro stop called Toledo. It is supposedly one of the most beautiful in Europe. I compared my photo with that the Polish girl took and hers clearly showed it’s beauty….mine is ok.
They also have several beautiful squares and their main cathedral or duomo is quite impressive (as most cathedrals are) and free.
On the Sunday that I was there all state run museums were free (every first Sunday of the month). I again woke up early because I wasn’t sure how busy things were going to be. My first stop was the Archeological museum which I heard was big and full of treasures from the ruins (Pompeii, etc). It also had some Egyptian things. I spent 4 hours there and barely waited in line at all.
My next stop was Palazzo Reale which is the royal palace. It is your basic royal palace museum, but it was nice since it was free.
Now to the food! I of course had a pizza. A small size cost me 1.50 euros off a street vendor and it was delicious. Also walking around I saw people eating like crazy these weird bread dessert looking things. Apparently they are called Babba and the most common is with rum, I believe. It was quite good.
I got pizza later on at a restaurant and that was scrumptious as well.
Now, I bought this tourist card from Napoli Artecard. Student price for 3 days was 25 euros. This covers most uses and transportation. It was a really good bargain and I suggest people to take it.
They have other prices and amount of days. Pick one that works for you though I suggest the 3 day since 7 days don’t include transport.
I bought it on Friday and used it Monday through Wednesday as it covered all the ruins and the regional train which I needed to use to get to Paestum which is about 7 euros one way.
Please refer to my post on Pompeii, other ruins, and Paestum for more details.
Naples was great, it wasn’t what I was expecting in some ways, but it was in other ways.
If you are coming or leaving by plane, transportation is pretty easy. There’s a bus shuttle (its like a public bus) that’s 5 euros and it runs pretty regularly. I had a flight to Milan as I found it was a lot cheaper and at the end of the day the same time frame as taking a train.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!