Districts of Naples
The city is rich in age-old history and contradictions. As a tourist, you have to decide which of its many attributes you want to focus on: the mysterious and fascinating aspect which has its roots in legends, or the city's more brutal and violent side, which is just as intriguing and displays the wounds of its turbulent history. Perhaps the sunny and easy-going side of corruption appeals to you, or the efforts made to give the city a new cultural and moral code.
The city is divided into 21 zones, and it has so many monuments that the city is rightfully known as an open air museum. Meanwhile, here is a little guide to allow you to choose the most significant places of interest and tourist attractions, should you find yourself in this glorious city, but with time as your enemy.
Quartiere 1: Chiaia - Posillipo - San Ferdinando The places, monuments and landscapes in this triangle are probably the ones that have made Naples famous, and they also offer one of the best itineraries for visitors. The tourist who lands in Naples finds themselves immediately immersed in the scenery of the Piazza Municipio, which is itself dominated by the impressive
Quartiere 2: Avvocata - Mercato - Montecalvario - Pendino - Porto - San Giuseppe Naples is characterized by its uniformity in town planning. In fact, the quarters that makes up the ancient center still faithfully adhere to the Greco-Roman plans for the city of Neapolis. In these quarters are layer upon layer of history which unfolds before the eyes of the unsuspecting visitor like the pages of an enormous history book. The alleyways overflowing with life in quarters such as San Giuseppe, Porto, and Pendino are the same ones in which Greeks would trade and build temples during the 4th Century. This is also the area which faces the bay; you must visit and take a long walk along the promenade from Via Partenope past Via Caracciolo until Mergellina, or stop by at
Quartiere 3: San Carlo all'Arena - Stella Piazza della Sanità holds the 17th century
Quartiere 4: Poggioreale - San Lorenzo - Vicaria It is practically impossible to list all the monuments that you will find in the three decumani and the numerous side streets (i cardi) which run perpendicular to them, but mention must be made of the following churches: San Paolo Maggiore which is built upon the foundations of the Tempio dei Dioscuri (two columns of the temple are still visible) and San Lorenzo Maggiore, underneath which are important archaeological remains which the public are able to visit. These two churches are located in Piazza San Gaetano, the ancient Roman marketplace along Via dei Tribunali. The church and street of San Gregorio Armeno are also worth a visit; the church was also built on the site of a temple. Via dei Tribunali ends in front of Castel Capuano, the oldest fort in the city built for Norman kings. Behind it lies the
Quartiere 5: Arenella - Vomero These are hill zones which were developed at the end of the 19th Century as a residential district for the Neapolitan bourgeoisie. Il Vomero underwent radical changes in the 1950s and 1970s, which made it into one of the busiest and most chaotic areas in the city. It is linked to surrounding areas by three funicular railways, and it still retains among some of the city's most important monuments. The
Quartiere 10: Bagnoli - Fuorigrotta A modern residential zone where the Rai and the Politecnico have their headquarters, the Fuorigrotta is also the new home of the Universitaria and important sports complexes such as the
The Province of Naples Outside of the city of Naples, there are fantastic day trips and sights to see via train or boat! The nearby cities of Salerno,
Entertainment in Naples
When talking about Naples, the subject of entertainment is bound to come up as all the main attractions of the city have the joyous, carefree spirit of a people who are traditionally devoted to music, singing and dancing. Nonetheless, as often happens, reality is very different, however, the great cultural and creative legacy of the city has produced art and shows of international appeal, since ancient times. One example of this is the Neapolitan song tradition which still charms the world.
Theatres The Neapolitan theatrical tradition is extremely rich. Various families of actor-writers such as the Scarpetta, Di Maggio, De Filippo and Giuffrè families have give life to a great variety of farces and plays which are still performed in various theatres around the city.
Teatro Bellini, was opened as a lyric theatre in 1864 and is now the most beautiful theatre in Naples. It is located at 17, Via Conte di Ruvo, near Piazza Dante, and offers an international programme. Not far from here, in two streets which cut across Via Toledo are two, small theatres which offer playes for a young, cultured audience. Trendy shows are performed here, written in search of new, expressive languages. Galleria Toledo is in Via Concezione at 36, Monteoliveto, and the Teatro Nuovo is in 16, Via Montecalvario. Teatro Nuovo has two rooms. The smaller is called Sala Assoli, and is little more than a basement, where historic performances have taken place. The two theatres also show important, cinematic programmes. Another large theatre in the city is Agusteo, built at the beginning of the twentieth century in Piazzetta Duca d'Aosta not far from the central Via Toledo. The theatre is now the important home of musical and light theatre and musicals, review shows and singing recitals are put on here.
In Piazza Municipio, another historic, Neapolitan theatre was opened in 1995 after a long closure. The Mercadante was opened in the second half of the eighteenth century and hosted the great, opera of the time. It is now the great prose theatre of the city.
In 157, Via Chiaia is perhaps the best loved of the Neapolitan theatres; the Sannazzaro. Popular theatre is performed here, linked to the dialect tradition and it has hosted the most important, loved and venerated Neapolitan actors, including De Filippo, Nino Taranto, Pietro de Vico and Luisa Conte. The comic theatre of great historic writers of nineteenth century theatre is the Politeama in Via Monte di Dio. Not far from here the Teatro Bracco offers a programme which is mostly based on dialect, comic theatre.
The Vomero, the hilly district of the city, is home to another, imortant theatre in Naples. The Diana, at 69, Via Luca Giordano 69 is where great, Italian prose is performed as well as a variety of other plays. In the same area the Teatro Cilea has a good, theatrical school and offers works by local, contemporary writers. Other theatres to remember are the Teatro Tenda Partenope in Via Barbagallo, near the Palazzetto dello Sport, where jazz and rock concerts take place and the Teatro la Perla at 35, Via Nuova Agnano, the Teatro Leopardi, an experimental theatre in the street of the same name and the Teatrino di Edenlandia in Viale Kennedy which offers an interesting programme of children's theatre.
There are also a number of smaller places that offer interesting shows, cabaret and true discoveries such as the Sancarluccio at 49, Via San Pasquale, Al Bruttini in Via Port alba, Teatro Totò in Via Frediano Cavara, Tunnel Cabaret at 16, Via Santa Chiara, Spazio Libero in Via Parco Margherita and La Riggiola in Piazza S.Luigi.
The great, Teatro San Carlo in the street of the same name, is another matter. It is adjacent to Piazza Trieste, and is one of the main monuments of the city and one of the most important lyric theatres in the world, second only to the Scala in Milan, although it is larger and has impeccable acoustics. This temple of music, has hosted the world premieres of many operas, in the course of over two hundred years and now offers a first rate programme.
Cinema The crisis of cinema in the 1980's forced many cinemas to close. Only the largest have survived here and now that the crisis is partly over, many new cinemas have emerged with avant-garde technology and in many cases modern multi-screens.
In the city centre are traditional cinemas such as the Fiorentini at 5, Via Bracco, Santa Lucia at 59, Via Santa Lucia, the Roxy and the Modernissimo that has four screens and is near Piazza Dante. Near the university is the Accademy Astra at 109, Via Mezzocannone and the Adriano at 12, Via Monteoliveto. These are average size, and can each hold about 500 people and have large screens. Near the Central Station at 60, Corso Meridionale is the Corso Cinema and there are two, rather small cinemas, one of which is the Agorà in the city centre and the other is the Pierrot in Via De Meis.
Chiaia, the most elegant area of the city, offers a number of good cinemas including the Delle Palme at 12, Via Vetriera which has two, new screens and around a thousand seats. In the same area is the Alcione at 3, Via Lomonaco not far from the Filangieri, the Arlecchino and the Fiamma which all offer comfortable, medium sized halls.
In the Mergellina district is the President at 19, Via T.Campanella, the Empire at 20, Via F.Giordani, the Ambasciatori at 33, Via Crispi and the Amedeo at 69, Via Martucci. These are all cinemas which show new releases and seat more than three hundred. Towards Posillipo, is the Posillipo which is very popular with young people as it is cheap and has good programmes. . The Vomero district offers a good choice of quality cinemas, including the two multiscreens, Arcobaleno, with three screens at 7, Via Carelli and the Plaza, at 85, Via Kerbaker which has two screens. Other cinemas in the area include the Vittoria at 8, Via Piscicelli, the Abadir at 35, Via Paisiello and the Acacia at 10, Via Tarantino which all have large capacities and avant-garde technology. Most of the cinemas in Fuorigrotta have closed down and the old buildings now house banks or large shops. There are only two cinemas in the area which are both multi screens. There is the renovated La Perla at 36, Via Nuova Agnano and the new Duel in Via Scarfoglio.
In the outskirts of the city, in the Chiaiano district is the Felix which has three, small screens which have good quality. In Via San Michele in Ponticelli is the Maestoso which can hold up to eight hundred people.
Many of the alternative or independent cinemas in the city have been turned into x-rated cinemas. Amongst the survivors are the Galleria Toledo and the Nuovo which show art films.
Naples by night In the last twenty years the city has seen a proliferation of bars, pubs, sandwich bars, spaghetti houses and other locals which are full of young people from night until early in the morning.
The rich, musical panorama of the city has contributed to the birth of many of these places as well as discos which offer live music such as the Vibes Cafè at 26, Largo S.Giovanni Maggiore, the Otto jazz Club near Corso Vittorio Emanuele and the Sanakura at 5, Via Pallonetto Santa Chiara.
Amongst the most popular discos are the Blues e Blues in Via Michetti, Vertego in Via Caccavello and the Twenty Three in Via Mancini, as well as the B.Out, Zeppelin Club, and the Dry Dock in Via Cinthia both of which are in Fuorigrotta. There is also the Casablanca in Via Petrarca, Chez Moi in Via Parco Margherita, My way near Piazza dei Martiri and the mythical La Mela in Via dei Mille. There are also many disco pubs such as La Bavarese in Via Astroni, Dug Out in Mergellina. There are many trendy pubs which attract the night owls in Naples such as the Livingston .
Dining Out In Naples
The wonderful Neapolitan food scene is an amalgamation of a history full of splendour and misery, riches and poverty, the fruit of numerous dominations, and the ability of Neapolitans to make a virtue of necessity. An elegant gastronomy which has roots in tastes and habits of the people who produced traditional local products which have now become synonymous with the glorious city of Naples: pizza, spaghetti, ragù, mozzarella, a tazzulella e caffè, not to mention desserts such as babà, sfogliatelle, pastiera (puff pastry filled with cream cheese, barley and candied fruit), and gelati.
Neapolitan cuisine owes much to the city's fertile soil, which offers up a bounteous offering, above all the San Marzano tomato, and the sea, which is the basis for seafood dishes such as the exquisite spaghetti alle vongole (a clam pasta dish), impepate di cozze (a mussel-based dish), and the exquisite soutè, and we haven't even mentioned the grilled fish and seafood dishes or the elaborate fish- and seafood-based soups. Many restaurants serve raw oysters, cannolicchi, and taratufi, which are strictly from Naples.
If you want a traditional restaurant you should head for the Borgo Marinaro area, where the streets wind down to the Castel dell Ovo. Try La Bersagliera or Zi' Teresa.
In Santa Lucia, you'll find exclusive hotels and exclusive restaurants, such as La Cantinella and Caruso; they all offer wonderful views of the gulf.
Mergellina sits right on the coast and has great restaurants where you can taste the fruits of the sea. The following places are well worth a try: Dal Delicato, Ciro a Mergellina, Don Salvatore, and Al Sarago in Piazza San Nazzaro, where there are other restaurants that are a little more economical.
Sbrescia is in Posillipo and also has a wonderful view. La Sacrestia offers very sophisticated cuisine and Giuseppone a Mare serves traditional fish recipes made with the freshest fish possible.
If you consider yourself to be a true romantic, then Fenestella di Marechio is the place to be. Relax in this beautiful area and feast on Parthenopean cuisine at La Fazenda or A Fenestella.
The Centro Storico has plenty of trattorias to choose from which serve traditional dishes at low prices. These places are less fancy but which are just as welcoming, and you will definitely meet the real Napoletani here! Try Dante e Beatrice in Piazza Dante; Ciro a Santa Brigida close to Teatro San Carlo; or San Carlo (the restaurant), which is close to Palazzo Reale. On Via Monte di Dio in the ancient area of Partenope, there's the splendid Amici Miei. In the heart of the city, you'll find Umberto. If you are close to the station and looking for a bite to eat, why not try Da Mimì alla Ferrovia?
Pizzerie deserve a mention of own, and Naples is full of them! They differ from the traditional evening eateries and are filled with students, professionals, salespeople, craftsmen - nearly everybody, in fact! They are as busy and as popular as fast food joints, but offer delicious flavours and high quality ingredients. L'Antica Pizzeria in Forcella has large marble tables, and they serve only delicious seafood pizzas (seasoned with garlic, olive oil, tomato, and oregano)and Pizza Margherita with its traditional mozzarella topping.
The creative genius of the Neapolitan pizzamakers is now taking precedence over tradition as they wildly combine weird toppings to make the ultimate taste sensation. Every pizzaiolo (pizzamaker) worth his salt has invented a topping, and each pizzeria includes variations on traditional themes on their menu.
Where to stay in Naples
Naples is a city that never sleeps, but it still offers a wide variety of places to stay for the weary traveler; there are hotels to suit all tastes and all pockets, and some of them are world-renowned. You can find some of the city's most luxurious and famous hotels on the beaches in the zone of Santa Lucia, home of the legendary siren Partenope (from whom the ancient city took its name) and where Greek colonies settled in the 7th Century. While standing on the beach, you'll understand why it inspired poetry, as you delight in the beauty of the bay, stretching from Vesuvius to the hill of Posillipo, with Capri and Sorrento on the horizon, and where silver stars still sparkle on the sea.
Quartiere 1: Chiaia – Posilipo - San Ferdinando Some of the cities greatest hotels reside in this district, close to all the major sights, transportation and the sea. These include Hotel Excelsior, which is situated on Via Partenope: this is an example of elegance, luxury, and tradition, and the rooms have the best view of the bay. Its majesty and refinement make it the ideal place for wealthy guests who know exactly what they want. Grand Hotel Vesuvio is prestigious and very elegant and has been host to many famous people, amongst who is the great Caruso, after whom the hotel has named its best restaurant. The last of the grand hotels on this street is the Grand Hotel Santa Lucia; it is a little less expensive than the others, but just as refined and comfortable with a splendid view of Capri. Along the promenade is the Hotel Royal Continental, both modern and functional, with a swimming pool and an architectural style that is quite different from the neighboring hotels. Not far from the sea, in the Largo Vasto a Chiaia, between the Villa Comunale and Via Dei Mille, one of the most elegant zones of the city, you'll find the Hotel Majestic. Near the Via Partenope, Hotel Miramare is housed in an ancient patrician villa, restored to its former glory on Via Nazzaro Sauro; its rooms should suit the most refined tourist. Hotel Paradiso stands on Via Catullo on the Posillipo Hill, and has a beautiful terrace garden overlooking the bay. In Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Hotel Britannique and G. H. Parker's are exquisitely furnished with period furniture and boast wonderful views that will satisfy everyone's tastes. If you want to stay in the Chiaia area, you might want to look for the following: the Hotel Canada, which is close to the sea; the Hotel Splendid on Via Mergellina faces the Phlegrean fields and the islands in the bay. One of the more affordable hotels close to the sea is the Hotel Rex.
Quartiere 2: Avvocata – Mercato – Montecalvario – Pendino – Porto – San Giuseppe If you want a hotel in the centre of the city that is close to the most important monuments, try one of the following: Renaissance Naples Hotel Mediterraneo on Via Ponte di Tappia, not far from the attractive shop windows of Via Toledo and Piazza del Municipio; Mercure Napoli Angioino Centro on Via De Petris close to the maritime museum; Grand Hotel Oriente on Via Diaz; or the Jolly Hotel housed inside a skyscraper on Via Medina. All of these hotels have a welcoming atmosphere and are stylish and elegant. Not far from Corso Umberto I is the Hotel Suite Esedra and near Via Toledo is Hotel Executive and Hotel Toledo. There are many pensions and small hotels, especially in the university area, and close to the railway, where the prices are moderate compared to those in the city centre: Duomo, Hotel Gallo, Hotel Milton, and Albergo Nettuno. There is also the Hotel Luna Rossa.
Quartiere 3: San Carlo Arena – Stella On the Capodimonte hill, near Via Moiariello, the Hotel Villa Capodimonte has a large green park and offers a breathtaking view of the city and its surroundings.
Quartiere 4: Poggioreale - San Lorenzo – Vicaria – Zona Industriale Near Corso Umberto IHotel Nuovo Rebecchino, the Hotel Siri, and the There are many three-star hotels in Naples, and many can be found near the train station, such as the Hotel Cavour. Close to Central Station, it is very comfortable and has impeccable service. Hotel Palace is on the corner of Piazza Garibaldi and the Starhotel Terminus. Hotel delle Nazioni is in Vicolo Ferrovia and close to Central Station. The Holiday Inn is set amongst the skyscrapers in the Centro Direzionale and is perfect for business travelers. Heading down to the central zone, on Via Cerare Rossarol, you'll find the historic Hotel Prati.
Quartiere 5: Arenella – Vomero One of the more pricy options within the city and close enough to all the action is the Hotel Belvedere on Via Angelini in Vomero. Or, if looking for more affordable accommodation in this area try the Hotel Oasi.
Quartiere 10: Bagnoli – Fuorigrotta In Agnano, which is close to the most important sports grounds, you'll find Hotel San Germano on Via Beccadelli; its rooms are elegant and well furnished. In the Campi Flegrei zone protected by beautiful parks, are the Hotel delle Terme on Via Agnano Astroni, Montespina Park Hotel on Via San Gennaro close to the thermal baths, and American Park Hotel on Via Scarfoglio. In Fuorigrotta, near to San Paolo stadium and the Mostra d'Oltremare (the headquarters of the trade fairs), perfect for those who are just passing through, are Hotel Serius, the Hotel Cesare Augusto in Viale Augusto, Hotel Leopardi, and Villa Medici on Via Nuova Bagnoli, which is housed in a renovated villa. The Hotel Miravalle is close to the nature reserve in Astroni, the Villa Maria is in Bagnoli,