Advantages Great City, lots to do
Disadvantages can be a bit dirty, very hot in summer
|Value for Money|
|Ease of getting around|
Some people have said that Naples is a very dangerous city, but in my experience of walking around the city day and night, you just need to take the normal precautions as you would in any city in the world. Don't flash the cash etc. In my time in Naples, I didn't see one single crime - unless you count the ones the fashion police should have caught!
If you ever go to Naples, I would advise against renting a car, just use public transport or taxis - in my time there, I don't recall seeing a car without a dent, a scratch or bits missing. The train system is really reliable and frequent, and cheap (tickets are sold by the minute). The line I used most of the time - The Metropolitan will cost 1 Euro for a 90 minute ticket. (certainly puts our railway system to shame) The central station is adjacent to Piazza Garibaldi, and unless you need to be there to get a train, it is probably not an area to go to, the Piazza is a car park & bus station, you have to cross several roads - I found the best way to do this was just to walk out, the cars seemed to stop! There are at various times people with stalls trying to sell imitation Gucci bags or other "designer" stuff.
The taxi drivers are interesting, best not sit in the front with one, I find it best to put a seat between me and the oncoming traffic.
Also I developed something I called the "Napoli Shuffle" many people have dogs, and there are quite a few strays, everybody just lets their dog go where ever it is, so do look down too!
This area was my base for this trip it is about 5 miles from the centre of Napoli, the hotel I was staying in (Best Western - San Germono allegedly 4 star but I would say 2.5 star was nearer the mark ) was 500 metres from where I was working. The area is to be honest is a bit rough, the roads are bad, and quite dirty. Going into the centre of Bagnoli, there are a couple of nice restaurants, but people don't go here unless they need to! There is a big steel works though! You can walk down to the sea, and walk along the front to Pozzouli. The station is easy to get to, and the trains are very frequent
The last stop on the Metropolitan line. The first thing that greets you when you get off of the train is the smell of Sulphur! This is due to the fact that there are vents from the volcanic systems all around here.
Walking around, the harbour is very nice. You will find a lot of Roman buildings here, including the 3rd largest amphitheatre in Roman Italy, which I visited, and it was amazing, especially the undercroft, you can really see how it was built. This cost 4 Euro to visit. In the town centre is the Tempio Di Serapid which is a Roman temple, you can't go down to it, but you can walk around the outside looking down on it, I'm sure it was very impressive in 78AD! Further up the hill from the railway station, I found a lot of overgrown very impressive Roman ruins, it turns out that they are developing an archaeological park - no doubt with European funding, I'm not sure when this will happen though.
This is a beautiful area, certainly one to visit. It is just a really nice place, there is a marina, which contains some rather expensive looking yachts. You can get jet ferries from here to various islands. The shops are some of the more up-market ones, I found it a great place to while away a couple of hours.On Sunday, some of the roads are shut, and a massive car boot sale takes place, although the items for sale look far better that anything I've seen in a car boot in England!
From here I walked along the coast to Naples itself, I would say it is about 3 Km, but is totally flat.
No trip to Naples is complete without visiting the ultimate Roman site - I didn't visit during this stay, as I have been before, I just had so many other things to visit first! To get to Pompeii, the easiest way is by train, get the Circumvesuviana from Napoli Central Station, take the Sorrento train, Pompeii is about 20 stops. Be aware though, this train gets really busy.
You can from Ercolano station take a minibus to Versuvius (16 Euro including entry to the walk to the top) It is an interesting journey, which takes about 30 minutes, the minibus driver I had was completely mad, and the roads were madder! So I made sure I was well strapped in! One thing you notice on the way up, is the amount of rubbish, there were piles of it everywhere, it certainly looked as no collection had been made for months. Eventually after some stunning views over Naples you are deposited at the car park, the driver gets your park tickets, and off you go UP. Be warned if you are frail, unsteady on your legs, or need assistance, or have heart of breathing problems, then this is certainly not for you. It is very steep, I am fairly fit, and it took me 20 minutes at a fair old pace to get to the top, and I was sweating when I got there. It was worth the climb though, to seem the steam coming out of the volcano, smell the slight sulphur smell, and to look at the view was incredible. The Italians never ones to miss an opportunity have constructed two shops at the top, where you can buy polished lava, drinks, food, pictures, the usual tourist bric-a-brac and for some reason figures from Ancient Egypt! The bus leaves you about an hour and 15 minutes to go to the top and come back down, I guess they wouldn't leave you there if you were late!
As I had time to spare, I thought a day trip to Capri would be good, and I wasn't disappointed. I got the fast jet ferry from the Harbour in Naples to Capri, it coat 15 Euro each way, the trip to Capri took around 45 minutes. The one thing that struck me about Capri, was how different it was from Naples, there was no litter, hardly any cars, it was a generally nice place.
Looking around the harbour, there were lots a restaurants and bars, which all seemed to be very nice. I didn't eat in any of them, as I wanted to maximise my time walking around.
Some of the boats in the harbour were like a large house! And these were big boys toys.
One place to definitely visit is the Muzeo Archeologico Nazionale you need at least 3-4 hours (open various times, generally 10am-7pm but check before you go, it costs 10 Euro to go in)- this is the National Archaeological Museum, here many of the best artefacts recovered from the excavations of Pompeii and other places are preserved, there are hoards of coins, broaches, rings more mundane pots and pans, it is a fantastic look at Roman life. Some of the statues are quite amazing, and quite a lot of the male statues have had their wedding tackle knocked off! I think maybe it is to do with an altogether prudish nature of past generations. In fact in the museum there is a room, called the room of secrets, which contains some of the more..well lets just say phallic objects, and some quite graphic frescoes too! There was a small marble statue of a Roman lady in a bikini, I overheard a couple of middle aged Italian women tut tutting at this! Apparently you have to book your visit to the room of secrets, but nobody seemed to check.One thing to look out for is the rather large 3D plan of Pompeii which was made in 1879, compare it with the later map on the wall, and see how more they have excavated.
In the Egyptian section they have of all things a mummified crocodile
There are many other places to eat, there are also many places where you can just drop in for a coffee and a cake, try ===Gambrinus=== in Piazza Trieste E Trento, you can just sit outside and watch the world go by.There is a little Pizzaria in Bagnoli, and I would say some of the best food I had, it was also very cheap. It is easy to find, come out of the stations, go straight down the hill and it is on the left, it is called Pendsceconna, 2 starters, 2 mail meals water & wine all for about 28 Euros!
I was in Naples in October/November, the temperature was very mild, around 12-14 degrees C at night, and 18-21 during the day. There were a couple of cloudy days, one day of rain.
From the Airport a taxi is the best option, I cost me 35 Euro to my hotel (although the meter did say 18!)All in all I really enjoyed my stay in Italy, so if you were thinking about Naples but were put off about the stories of crime etc, then just give it a go, you'll be impressed.
Thanks for reading this.
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