Naples is a wonderful city of contradictions
With 2500 years of history and as much art and culture as you could wish, not to mention an UNESCO World Heritage Listing for its trouble. Beautiful and at times down-at-heel – the city gives way to the splendour of the Bay of Naples, Amalfi Coast, Neapolitan Riviera and Mount Vesuvius as a dramatic backdrop.
Naples is one of the largest cities in Italy, so there’s plenty of good shopping to be had – both high-end and otherwise. The city centre’s long Via Toledo is the most obvious shopping street, with a healthy clutch of fashion boutiques and various chain stores, although many of the most famous outlets are found elsewhere, such as Marinella (Riviera di Chiaia 287), which has provided silk ties to countless dignitaries and celebrities, and Fratelli Tramontano (Via Chiaia 143-144), lauded for its handmade leather goods. Elsewhere, classic Naples souvenirs can be found on Via San Gregorio Armeno.
Food & Drink
Naples is the home of the pizza, so leaving without sampling at least a slice or two of the good stuff is almost unpardonable. For a truly authentic example, join the queues at Da Michele Pizzeria (Via Cesare Sersale 1-3) which has been firing up its ovens since 1870 and still serves only two varieties. For a more varied menu, try Osteria da Carmela (Via Conte di Ruovo 11-12), which offers traditional Neapolitan cuisine, or the inventive Palazzo Petrucci Ristorante (Piazza San Domenico Maggiore 4), where an extensive wine list and a taste for culinary flair make it a great option for a special occasion.
Settimani della Cultura
Running for nine days each spring, this nationwide initiative always proves popular in Naples, where museums, libraries, monuments and other cultural attractions are opened to the public for free. Exhibitions and workshops are also held.
Napoli Teatro Festival
Showcasing a vibrant variety of different musical and theatrical events, the programme draws national and international performers and audiences to a range of venues across the city. Expect everything from interpretative dance to orchestral music.
Giffoni Film Festival
Taking place in a village just outside Naples, Giffoni is considered the second most important film festival in Italy (after Venice). Ostensibly a children’s festival, it draws some 100,000 visitors annually and has a strong international reputation.
Festa di Piedigrotta
Centred on the feast day of the Madonna of Piedigrotta, this annual celebration involves a number of big concerts, a parade of colourful floats and a week-long singing competition. Song and dance have been part of the event since the 1900s.
Natale e Napoli
Naples marks Christmas with a series of communal festive events, among them markets, concerts, plays and exhibitions. Almost all of the city’s churches play home to elaborate crib scenes over the period.
Naples’ famously intense street life is a whirl of different tastes and styles – as is its hotel scene. At the high end of the market, the 160-room Grand Hotel Vesuvio (Via Partenope 45) is a five-star property located right on the seafront, while the more compact La Ciliegina Lifestyle Hotel (Via Paolo Emilio Imbriani 30) is similarly chic but complements slinky white décor with a rooftop view overlooking the city. The simpler 74-room Best Western Hotel Paradiso (Via Catullo 11) is another Naples hotel that’s notable for its scenic panoramas, while the Golden Hotel (Via Dei Fiorentini 51) is a three-star property close to the port.