naples italy

Naples Italy vacation

Some people tell that things get more bizarre the further south you go in Italy and Naples, south of Rome, is a great city to see yourself if that is true. This is an important and jammed city with some of the most chaotic traffic in Europe, but it’s close to the Mount Vesuvius volcano and also so full of history that you won’t have to be anxious about getting bored here. Naples is well-known for pickpockets and other petty criminals, however, so caution and common sense should be used.

What To Do in Naples Italy

Naples was founded by the Greeks around the Sixth Century BC, so as you might suppose, the constructions in the city center can reach from old to too much, much older. The complete historical center of Naples was constituted as UNESCO World Heritage Site and there are several castles and cathedrals all over the area. The pizza was manufactured in Naples so trying out a pizza Margherita is a delicious ritual for newcomers that one shouldn’t refuse just because it’s so cliché.

naples italy tourist

The Naples Archeological Museum is where you’ll discover art and other objects extracted from the two most important adjacent excavation sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum. There is also a display of the Farnese collection of Roman sculptures.

12 Top Tourist Attractions in Naples & Easy Day Trips

Even if you’ve been to many Italian cities, nothing prepares you for the exuberant, colorful, and sometimes chaotic hubbub of Naples. The entire population seems to be in the streets that spill down into its harbor, and they’re all talking at once. Colors here seem brighter, and aromas of pizza – Neapolitans claim to have invented it – waft through the air, along with operatic areas (everyone here is a tenor waiting to be discovered), laughter, and maybe an argument or two. It’s a city that will keep all your senses busy.

1 Naples Harbor

Along the waterfront, at the historic gateway to the Mediterranean and the world, you can get a feel for this vibrant city. Naples harbor is divided into separate docks and basins by a series of piers and breakwaters, and is always bustling with activity.

2 National Archeological Museum

The Museo Archeologico Nazionale holds one of the world’s finest collections of antiquities, many of which were brought here from early excavations of Pompeii.

3 Capodimonte Royal Palace and Museum

Intended originally as a hunting lodge for King Charles III, the Palazzo Reale di Capodimonte grew to become the royal residence and a place for the king to house the Farnese collection, which he had inherited.

4 Cathedral

Although dating back to the late 13th century, the cathedral has been altered considerably due to earthquakes and restoration, especially after the one of 1456, but the 1407 doorway in the center of the front has survived.

5 San Martino Monastery and Museum

The former Carthusian monastery of San Martino, built in 1325 and rebuilt in the 17th century, also houses the Museo Nazionale di San Martino. The church, where you should also be sure to see the sacristy and treasury, is richly decorated with marble, ceiling frescoes, and paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries.

6 Catacombs of San Gennaro

The second-century Catacombs of San Gennaro, like the Roman catacombs, are a maze of passages and tomb chambers, but are more ambitious architecturally and have finer paintings than their Roman counterparts.

7 Castel Nuovo

On the south side of the Piazza del Municipio, the five-towered Castel Nuovo, also known as the Maschio Angioino, was the residence of kings and viceroys of Naples.

8 San Domenico Maggiore

San Domenico Maggiore, built about 1300, is among the most beautiful and interesting churches in Naples, filled with Early Renaissance work.

9 Santa Lucia

South of the wide Via Santa Lucia, this is an area of modern streets laid out on a regular plan, but to the north, it is a picturesque huddle of narrow stepped lanes where you can see – and be part of — traditional Neapolitan life.

10 Santa Chiara

The cloister of the Monastery of Santa Chiara, founded in 1310, looks more like a park in a seaside resort town than a solemn retreat for nuns.

11 Cappella Sansevero

The Cappella Sansevero, now a somewhat bizarre museum, was built in 1590 as the private chapel of the Sansevero family and later became its burial chapel.

12 Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace)

Along the east side of Piazza del Plebiscito is the former Royal Palace, begun in 1600 by Domenico Fontana and restored from 1837-41. It is one of four palaces in the area that were used as residences by the Bourbon kings.

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Many kilometers of tunnels and caverns have been dug out of the soft stone below the city, and part of these tunnels are available to visitors in a unique attraction that is an excellent way to interrupt your time between all the churches and castles.

IDENTIFYING A NEAPOLITAN PIZZA IN THE WILD

If you’re to ask the Associazone Verace Pizza Napoletana—one of the few certification organizations that dole out authenticity certificates to pizzerias around the globe—what constitutes a true Neapolitan pizza, you’ll be met with an extraordinarily stringent set of rules. God help the pizzaiolo who claims to be making true Neapolitan pizza and gets audited on his process.

Among the criteria are such things as:

  • Compressed yeast, biologically produced, solid, soft and beige in colour ,with quite an insipid taste and a low degree of acidity must be used. Yeast must be purchased in packages ranging from 25-500 grams. (Saccharomices cerevisiae) (See Italian Decreto Ministeriale. 21/03/1973 e 18/06/1996). The use of Natural yeast is also permitted (see appendices).
  • The dough must be made by slowly adding flour (1.7 to 1.8 kilograms depending on protein content) to a water, yeast, and salt mixture over the course of ten minutes and must mix on low speed for precisely 20 minutes.
  • The dough should have a final pH of 5.87, ±10% and a final density of 79 grams per cubic centimeter
  • When stretched, the center of the dough must be no more than .4 centimeters (±10%) in thickness.
  • The following variations of fresh tomatoes can be used: “S.Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-nocerino D.O.P”., “Pomodorini di Corbara (Corbarino)”, “Pomodorino del piennolo del Vesuvio” D.O.P.”
  • Certified mozzarella di bufala campana D.O.P, mozzarella S.T.G.

The traditional domed, wood-fueled ovens that a Neapolitan pizza is baked in has remained identical in design for several hundred years. Made with stone or brick and completely sealed (aside from the door and the chimney), it’s this oven that allows a pizzaiolo to stoke wood fires (oak, ash, beech, or maple are recommended, though there is no restriction other than that it must be free of moisture or excessive smoke) up to crazy high temperatures.

When inserted into the oven, the moist, loose Neapolitan pizza dough should instantly start to puff, creating bubbles with thin walls and micro-bubbles on top of them, with even thinner walls.

There are two “basic” Neapolitan pizza styles that cover the vast majority of the pizzas you’ll find in Naples: the Pizza Marinara, which combines tomatoes, oregano, olive oil, and garlic (and in which “the green of the oregano and the white of the garlic has perfectly amalgamated”), or the Pizza Margherita which uses tomatoes, olive oil, fresh mozzarella di bufala (water buffalo milk mozzarella), and basil leaves (applied before cooking so that their green color has been “slightly darkened by the cooking process.”).

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Getting in Naples Italy

Naples isn’t too far away from Rome, so many visitors will come to Rome and then do the remaining of Italy by rail. But it is workable to fly straight away to Naples from most of Europe’s airports and even further away. You can book a flight into Capodichino International Airport (code: NAP) and then take public transportation into the city center. If you are coming from out of the region, it’s in all probability easier to book a flight into Rome and then arrive by train.

Where To Stay in Naples Italy

There are many accommodations in Naples and needless to say the usual variety of hotels in all price ranges as well. Commonly Naples is cheaper than Rome and Florence, but some of the sites here come down below the standards of most places in those other cities. When booking the cheapest hotel in Naples, you can find it’s important to realize you might only be just getting your money’s worth here.

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