Naples Travel Guide
Italy's third largest city thrives on the chaos that prevailsamid its busy streets. This is the place where pizza was inventedand its restaurants continue to serve some of Italy's finestcuisine.
Sheltering on the Bay of Naples and dominated by the slopes ofMount Vesuvius, Naples is naturally imbued with the best ofnature's bounty. The city is somewhat schizophrenic in itsjuxtaposition of superb museums, Renaissance and Baroque churchesalongside crumbling tenement blocks and squalor. Noisy markets sella collection of items from high-quality food produce to fakedesigner goods. Roads are characteristically hectic with gung-homoped drivers weaving wildly through the streets and frustratingtraffic jams clogging the city's arteries. Despite its less refinedelements, Naples is a fascinating destination and a great base fromwhich to explore the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii and Herculaneum.
The city's transport hub is located around the immense PiazzaGaribaldi, on the east side of Naples. The area's growing Africanpopulation has imbued the streets with the flavours and favours ofits immigrants. Southwest from here is the Piazza Bovio andbranching to the left of it, the Piazza Municipio and nearby Piazzadel Plebiscito. On the watery edges are the Molo Beverollo and theStazione Marittima, the point of departure for ferries. From thereaches of Spaccanapoli one can explore the historic part of Napleswith its numerous palaces and churches.
Time: Local time is GMT +1 (GMT +2 between the last Sunday in March and the Saturday before the last Sunday in September). Electricity: Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. A variety of plugs are in use including the European-style two-pin plug. Money: The Euro (EUR) is the official currency, which is divided into100 cents. Those arriving in Italy with foreign currency can obtainEuros through any bank, ATM or bureaux de change. ATMs arewidespread. Travellers cheques can be exchanged with ease in thelarge cities, not so in the smaller towns. Credit cards areaccepted in upmarket establishments and shops around the cities.Banks are closed on weekends, but tend to have better rates thancasas de cambios.
Language: Italian. English is understood in the larger cities but not in the more remote parts of the country. Entry requirements for Americans: United States citizens must have a valid passport. A visa is notrequired for stays of up to 90 days. Entry requirements for UK nationals: British passport holders, irrespective of endorsement regardingnational status, do not need a visa to visit Italy for up to 90days. Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadians must have a valid passport. No visa is required forstays of up to 90 days. Entry requirements for Australians: Australians must have a valid passport. No visas are requiredfor stays of up to 90 days. Entry requirements for South Africans: South Africans need a valid passport and a Schengen visa totravel to Italy. Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish nationals require a passport. No visa is required for astay of up to 90 days. Entry requirements for New Zealand nationals: New Zealand citizens must have a valid passport. No visa isrequired for stays of up to 90 days. Passport/Visa Note: The borderless region known as the Schengen area includes thefollowing countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France,Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands,Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. All these countries issue astandard Schengen visa that allows the holder, in principal, totravel freely within the borders of all. Travellers are advised tohave a return or onward ticket plus all documents required fortheir next destination, and sufficient funds to cover period ofintended stay in Italy. Embassy or Consulate in US: Italian Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 6124400. Embassy or Consulate in UK: Italian Embassy, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 73122200. Embassy or Consulate in Canada: Italian Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 232 2401. Embassy or Consulate in Australia: Italian Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 (0)2 6273 3333. Embassy or Consulate in South Africa: Italian Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 423 0000. US Embassy or Consulate: United States Embassy, Rome: +39 06 46741. UK Embassy or Consulate: British Embassy, Rome: +39 06 4220 0001. Canadian Embassy or Consulate: Canadian Embassy, Rome: +39 06 85444 1. Australian Embassy or Consulate: Australian Embassy, Rome: +39 06 852 721. South African Embassy or Consulate: South African Embassy, Rome: +39 06 852 541. Health: There are no specific health risks associated with travel toItaly. EU citizens can make use of Italy's health services providedthey have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Cases of the N1bird flu were found in swans in southern Italy and Sicily, butthere is a low risk of human infection; as a precaution all closecontact with wild, caged and domestic birds should be avoided, andpoultry and egg dishes should be cooked thoroughly. Tipping: Tipping is customary in Italy and 10% of the bill is acceptablein restaurants (unless a service charge has already been included).Hotels add a service charge of 15-18%, but it is customary to tipthe service staff extra. Italians rarely tip taxi drivers, but5-10% is usual. Most other services expect some small change. Safety: The Italian Government has warned that the risk of aninternational terrorist attack in the country has increased, andtourists should be vigilant in public places and tourist sites.Domestic terrorism continues, but targets are usually Italianauthorities, however there is a possibility of being caught up inattacks. Tourists are vulnerable to pick-pocketing and muggings inthe bigger cities, particularly on public transport, in crowdedareas and around tourist sites, and should exercise caution whencarrying large amounts of cash and valuables. Be particularlycareful on bus 64 to St Peter's Square and around the main trainstation, Termini. Visitors should be wary of groups of children,some of whom will distract attention while the others try to stealwhat they can. Strikes by transport workers take place regularlythroughout Italy and delays are possible. Since February 2007 therehas been an increase in volcanic activity on Stromboli and part ofthe island has been evacuated. Customs: It is an offence to sit on steps and in courtyards near publicbuildings, including the main churches, in Florence; eating anddrinking in the vicinity should also be avoided. Shorts, vests orany other immodest clothing should not be worn inside churches. Business: Italians can be very formal and old fashioned, but are also warmand welcoming. Face to face communication is best, and often athird party introduction can speed initial negotiations. Businessattire is formal and usually stylish, and handshakes are the norm.Expect plenty of gesticulating and interruptions, or people talkingover each other. Business cards are used. Unfortunately thebureaucracy in Italy can slow down deal-making. Business hours areusually 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, but can vary according toseason and region. Communications: The international access code for Italy is +39. The outgoingcode is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for theUnited Kingdom). All numbers must be preceded by 0, whetheroriginating in Italy or out, unless calling a mobile phone.City/area codes are in use, e.g. 02 for Milan and 06 for Rome.There can be high surcharges on calls made from hotels and it isgenerally cheaper to use a calling card. Public telephone boxestake phone cards for local and international calls, which can bebought from newsagents. The local mobile phone operators use GSMnetworks and have roaming agreements with most internationaloperators. Internet cafes are available in the main towns andresorts. Duty free: Travellers over 17 years from non-EU countries do not have topay duty on 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigarillos, or 50 cigars, or250g tobacco; 1 litre spirits with alcohol content higher than 22%,or 2 litres dessert wine not exceeding 22% alcohol content andsparkling wine, and 2 litres of table wine; perfume up to 50g or250ml eau de toilette, and other goods for personal consumption tothe value of 175 per adult or 90 for children under15 years. Prohibited items include narcotic drugs, medicinalproducts, arms and weapons, explosives and protected animal andplant species.
Message Edited by LL_Editor on 05-30-2007 11:51 AM
Naples is so far down my list of where to visit in Italy, that I am surprised that its even on the short list of anyone. Its violent and aggressive. No Italian in their right mind (except perhaps a Neopolitan) would even think of visiting Naples, over Siena, Verona, or Ravenna. If you want to see the Amalfi Coast, go to Ravello, take a hydrofoil from Amalfi town to Capri, and see Naples Bay from the safety of your boat. Its a rough town, and unless you are staying 5 star Luxury, and have a car with driver, do not mistake Naples as a place for the carefree tourist.
Naples can be a great springboard for visiting southern Italy; there are day trips aboard boats that visist Sorrento, Ischia, Capri, and other impressive Amalfi coastal venues. Yes, crime is an issue, but it is non-violent for the main part, with theft of cars and purses most common. I visit there each year and behave prudently for the local mandated security. I recommend using a knowledgeable resource locally for determining one's agenda in this region, mine being a relative who's lived there for 8 years and her associates. We use word of mouth and experience gained in living and loving this beautiful area. It is hard to choose a travel representative for such planning needs if they have never spent time here.
The opera season here is a wonderful experience. Visit www.teatrosancarlo.it/english/home.html to appreciate the setting of an impressive cultural performance. Many Americans forget that this is a good way to experience the joys of Italy in a more affordable way than in the US.
Hi Rebecca W,
Excellent post on Naples. We just returned from Naples a few days ago and had a wonderful time there, due mostly to our driver. We would have never dared to drive there in all that chaos in Naples. The driver took us to the Amalfi coast, but when he found that the route to Sorrento was very congested, the took to the hills and we wound up in Ravello and Amalfi first and had a wonderful slow drive back from Amalfi to Naples.
On the second day our driver took us to Pompeii for 3 hours. We skipped Lunch since we wanted to see the Bourbon Palace in Caserta (wonderful place and lovely gardens well worth the visit). He allowed us 2 1/2 hours there and then we sped back to Naples to still catch the Archeological Museum, an absolute MUST, since it was closed on Tuesday, the following day. Without our driver we would have never seen what we did see. We spent one day wandering around in Naples, visiting Castello Novo, the Umberto Gallery, Teatro San Carlo, had lunch on the Via Tipoli and then took the bus up to the other Bourbon Palace which offered a most beautiful view of Naples. And the inside of the Palace was an absolute gem which I wouldn't have missed for the world. We were only able to take a short tour of the Teatro San Carlos. We could have seen the "Ballet Rustica" in the Teatro San Carlos, while we were there. The price was somewhat high (64 to 24 Euros) but we were also whipped from all the sightseeing we had done. Thank God we had a wonderfully comfortable hotel, the Grand Hotel Vesuvio, opposite the Castello dell' Ovo, which I can highly recommend, which let us rest in comfort and security.