(Note – Most of the pictures in this article expand if clicked on, to get a more detailed view)
- The Greeks discovered “Napoli” in the 8th century BC in which it was named “Neopolis”
- 2nd largest metropolitan area in Italy after Milan
- Used to be a part of the Spanish Empire until 1861 when unification of Italy happened
- Naples was one of the first Italian cities to rise up against the Nazis in WWII that pushed the Germans out. This was called the “4 days of Naples”.
- Pizza was invented in the late 18th century in Naples when locals decided to add tomato sauce to flat bread.
General Feel Of Naples, Italy Attractions
Naples, Italy attractions are going to give you the most extreme culture shock out of all of the Italy destinations. Even if you do live in a big city, you will still have culture shock from this crazy city. But you will love it. People are all over the place doing anything you can imagine. Street vendors everywhere. Kids outside playing a soccer game next to the church. Businessmen walking around in suits. Live music on every street. Pretty much anything you can imagine.
It would amaze me how tired I was after walking around the streets of Naples for several hours. It’s because you have to be constantly alert with everything going on around you at all times, unlike any other city I have been to. The nice part about it is everyone is outside interacting with each other constantly. It’s definitely a very social city. It was one of the most eye opening travel experiences during the time I was in Europe. And you are right next to the Mediterranean Sea!
Some People Have A Negative View of Naples
I heard countless stories about people getting pick pocketed when they traveled to Napoli before I arrived. Yes, Naples looks like a place where you could easily get robbed. But looks can be deceiving. It’s just an extremely old city with the best pizza in the world. If you cover up your belongings you have nothing to worry about. Like any huge city, it has it’s bad parts, but overall it’s a pretty safe place.
How Was The Transportation?
The only time while I was there that I paid for a taxi, was when I was leaving my hostel and going to the airport. I paid 19 Euros from the “Hostel of the Sun” to the airport. It was about 5 kilometers away, so 19 Euros was a decent price. I was fortunate enough to have the staff at the hostel negotiate the fixed 19 euro rate before I left. There is a good chance that you will be taken advantage of for a higher fare if you don’t speak Italian or negotiate a fixed rate. This is where taking the metro comes in handy. And you only have to pay 1-2 Euros each time.
The only hostel that I stayed at when I was in Naples, was the Hostel of the Sun. It was a great place to stay and would recommend it to anyone. If you look at reviews online, you’ll see that it got 5 stars. What made it a great stay were the employees that ran the place. They had amazing Italian accents and tons of energy. Right when I walked in, they gave me a map showing me all of the best places to visit and made me feel right at home. This hostel is really close to the sea and very easy to find once you get off at the Municipio metro stop. They had a great kitchen with free breakfast, a common area where you can sit around and meet people from all over the world, and clean facilities. The staff made it a great stay for the last couple of nights in Europe! Especially the girl who works up front in the morning, with the beautiful Italian accent!
If you are crossing the street in Naples, prepare to get honked at. Like most Italian cities, you just have to begin walking across the street in order to get the cars to stop. You have to be brave, because it isn’t like other places where cars are going to stop before you go. In Naples, they stop after you make the first move. It’s always interesting when you see oncoming traffic and you say to yourself, “alright, I guess I’ll go now”. And then you just walk into oncoming traffic. But it’s nice. I actually started to prefer this way of crossing the street rather than having to hit a button and wait for the walk signal. Sounds strange, but it feels more natural. And if you do end up getting honked at, its no hard feelings. It’s more like “Get the hell out of my way”. Okay everything is fine now. No grudges.
Maybe it is me, but it seemed like the motorcycles made a different sound in Naples than in other cities. My friend that I was traveling with said the same thing. It definitely has to do with the general energy of the whole city. There is a different intensity. You have to be alert at all times. You might think that you are walking with zero traffic and then all of a sudden a motorcycle comes out of nowhere and barely misses you. It’s pretty intense. But it’s just how it is in Naples, Italy.
Main Naples, Italy Attractions – Food
The first thing I did when I got to Naples was grab a 5 Euro “Buffalina Mozzarella” pizza from one of the hundreds of pizza shops in the city. What makes the pizza there amazing, is the fact that it is thin crust, but is also soft. When you think of pizza in the US that is thin, you think of thin and crispy. But here, it’s “thin and soft” pizza with just a few ingredients. It’s just the amazing dough, the tomato sauce, the cheese, and then a little Basil. And it’s all natural. When you pick up a piece of pizza, the end of it will flop over, and that’s what I have learned is the signature of good pizza.
Of course you can add meat, mushrooms, vegetables, etc. on your pizza as well. But really the basic cheese pizza is satisfying enough. Pepperoni in Italy is not the same as Pepperoni in the US. I ordered a pepperoni pizza at one restaurant expecting it to be like I am used to, and they brought out a pizza with a bunch of red peppers on it, and very little meat. I recommend either ordering the “Diovola” pizza or the “Buffalina Mozzorella” pizza. Diovola is spicy with what we would call pepperoni on it. Except, they come in little strips instead of round. The Buffalina Mozzorella is going to be a cheese pizza with the BEST cheese you can find. Straight from a buffalo and it is thick. You have to try it.
You can expect to pay anywhere from 2 Euros to 11 Euros depending on how big and what kind of pizza you get. For the Diovola pizza in the picture below I paid 8 euros.
This is arguably the most famous Naples, Italy Attractions. The most famous pizza restaurant in Naples. The best pizza I had in Italy and probably my lifetime. When you visit this restaurant you are going to have to wait in line, period. It is always busy. I walked by there a couple different times and it was jam packed. However, there is a add-on Sorbillo pizza place next door, that only sells margarita pizza and marinara. And they are mini pizzas that cost 2 euros. I was able to visit both, and the pizza is just as good at the add-on, minus the variety of selections, but with faster service.
Another place I highly recommend going to is this little kebab shop right across the street from train station. You can see it if you are leaving the train station right across the street. It is in “zona industriale”.
Unfortunately, I didn’t try any pastas or any other real types of a food I can write about. The pizza is so good, that it is literally the only thing I ate while I was there.
The very center of Naples with many of the 400 churches in the city. With some Greek ruins remaining.
Beautiful island close to Naples, which I will do a post on later.
Famous place that Mount Vesuvius turned into ruins.
A city about an hour south of Naples.
There are a ton of other attractions that I am not able to list on here. You will just have to find out for yourself. It will wake you up and become one of your best travel experiences that you will remember for a long time. Not to mention how cheap it is! Don’t make Rome the farthest south you go in Italy, as most people that I talk to do. Naples should be on your list as an Italy destination based on the rich history, amazing pizza, and unlimited things to do.
I love Napoli. No other place that I visited put an imprint on what there culture is like more than Naples. It might have been because the tourism isn’t so apparent, and you get a good taste of what a southern Italian culture is really like. When you have that mixed in with the history of this ancient city, it is close to perfection in my opinion of places to visit in Europe.