The 13 best things to do in Naples

Naples is one of Europe’s largest and oldest cities. It’s a chaotic, surprising and intense place stuffed with character; modern life and history clash on every street. More so than any spot in Italy, your mantra whilst there will be eat, pray, pizza (and football), sleep, repeat. With sunny islands, ancient history, beaches and a volcano, there’s enough here to fill an entire summer break—especially as you’re likely to lose track of time while wandering through ramshackle alleyways stuffed with the world’s best pizza.

Best things to do in Naples

Visit Pompeii

What is it? You know about Pompeii already, of course, but it’s genuinely overwhelming
in real life. Its perfectly preserved streets manage to remain eerie despite rivalling the footfall of Oxford Circus on a Saturday.
Why go? Always good to have a reminder that humans are ultimately at the mercy of Mother Nature. Few things say carpe diem like the plaster cast of a corpse who was looting a jewellery shop.

Explore Herculaneum

What is it? Pompeii may have got all the glory but nearby settlement Herculaneum also got completely engulfed by lava, and revealed even better-preserved scenes of everyday Roman life. A row of 12 boathouses, for instance, which were excavated in the 1990s, turned out to be the final hiding place of more than 300 people.
Why go? Though still popular with visitors, you get a bit of personal space at Herculaneum. All the better for getting to grips with the astonishingly old suburbia you’re exploring.

Pay respects to the pizza gods at Sorbillo

What is it? One of the few things that all Neapolitans can agree on is that they make the best pizza. You can get the signature chewy, crispy dough all over town but you have to start somewhere, and that should probably be La Pizzeria Sorbillo.
Why go? Gino Sorbillo’s dad was one of 21 siblings, all of whom were pizzaiolo. His dough is totally trad but – very unusually for Italy – he messes with convention on the toppings.

Drink like the locals in Piazza Bellini

What is it? Like a meeting post for the young and thirsty of Naples, this bar-lined square bubbles over with students, locals and tourists come aperitivo time (and beyond). There are also some ancient ruins left casually unprotected in its centre.
Why go? The walls at Intra Moenia are covered with rows and rows of vintage postcards and curios. Buy one to send home then claim a table outside to sit back and sip while the crowds gather.

Drink coffee in Mexico

What is it? Popular with everyone from local workmen to holidaying hipsters, Caffè Mexico in Piazza Dante is the best coffee bar in town. Stop in for an espresso, which in Naples generally comes sweetened unless you demand otherwise.
Why go? Its sunny yellow awning and bright orange espresso machine will perk you up as much as the caffeine does.

Go mad for the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea (MADRE)

What is it? A world-class museum of modern art that’s named after the gothic fourteenth-century church that sits within its walls. Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina’s beautiful main building holds site-specific works by Jeff Koons, Anish Kapoor and many other superstars of the visual arts.
Why go? You might, at some point, want to gaze appreciatively at something that’s not older than Italy itself.

Feast on fish at Mimì alla Ferrovia

What is it? It’s not just pizza that Neapolitans nail. This seaside city is awash with fantastic seafood, and Mimì alla Ferrovia is a great place to eat a load of it. As well as traditional food done right this local favourite also boasts excellent house wine and staff who could moonlight as Naples tour guides.
Why go? One of the restaurant’s many famous customers was legendary tenor (and food enthusiast), Luciano Pavarotti.

Go deeper underground at the Fontanelle cemetery

What is it? Beneath the heat and bustle of Naples’ streets is an old quarry that became a burial site in the seventeenth century when a plague took out 250,000 of the city’s residents. Though the Fontanelle cemetery’s piles of bones are undeniably unnerving, the local tradition of caring for a lost soul’s skull lends the place a very spiritual feel.
Why go? Watch for the odd Italian nonna on her way to tend to her designated skeleton in the hope of releasing its soul to heaven in return for a wish.

Get a breath of sea air on the Lungomare

What is it? A 2.5km strip of pedestrianised road that runs along the seafront, providing the perfect stress-free route for a stroll. Stop for lemon granita at the beach kiosks, claim a rock to sunbathe on or stop for a sundowner.
Why go? The views of Mount Vesuvius, Capri and Naples itself are spectacular. Add in a colourful sunset and it could be a Studio Ghibli set.

Experience Catholic grandeur at Gesù Nuovo

What is it? Over in the west of the city a spacious piazza is home to the almost brutalist-looking facade of a church called Gesù Nuovo. Its ridiculously opulent interiors will have you wondering whether it wasn’t only Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen’s hair that was Jesus-esque.
Why go? Learn more about Dr Giuseppe Moscati, who dedicated his career in the early nineteenth-century to healing the poor. Thanks to a miracle or two he was made a saint in 1987.

Watch a match at the San Paolo Stadium

What is it? The only belief system to rival that of the church in this town is football, and its much-loved poster boy is Diego Armando Maradona. Go to San Paolo Stadium to watch SSC Napoli and you’ll likely be rewarded with a world-class match; they play in Italy’s top league, Serie A. 
Why go? When surrounded by 60,000 fans all chanting for a common goal you’re guaranteed goosebumps. Remember to make the pilgrimage to Bar Nilo afterwards to visit the reliquary containing a strand of Maradona’s hair.

Take the funicular to Castel Sant’Elmo

What is it? Though you’re not likely to need the metro during your visit, it’s worth seeking out the funicular lines that shunt residents up to the hilly suburbs. Their colourful carriages are used by 10 million passengers per year.
Why go? For the panoramic views from the top. Take the line from Montesanto to Morghen then walk to the medieval Castel Sant’Elmo. The tangle of Naples city centre’s buildings is framed by the sea on one side and Vesuvius on the other.

Take a boat to Procida

What is it? Of the Bay of Naples’ three islands, it’s Capri that is most ridiculously beautiful, but that also means it’s constantly smothered in tourists. Ischia offers thermal spas, but it is Procida’s charming colourful houses and cobbled streets that make it the off-the-radar offshore choice.
Why go?  Procida seems to want to keep its secret to itself, although it’s popular with napoletani looking for a summer escape from the steaming, chaotic city. .

21 december 2018. Happy Birthday Napoli!

A few thousand years ago (472 BC), according to a neoclassical tradition, the city of Naples was founded in the winter solstice. Today, therefore, it is the birthday of Partenope: it is 2490 years old.

The legendary siren Parthenope, fallen victim of the cunning of Ulysses, left angry the fearsome rock of the sirens to reach the islet of Megaride, where today stands the Castel dell’Ovo.

A coastal dream

Drive the road of 1,000 bends, from Sorrento to Amalfi is one of the most magnificent coastal drives in the world.

SORRENTO

Facing north over the Bay of Naples, Sorrento is situated towards the end of the mountainous Sorrentine peninsula, over the hills from the famous resorts of the Amalfi Coast. In mythology, this area is often identified as the land of the sirens, beautiful maidens of the sea whose song lured mariners to their doom. Sorrento is built on a historic site settled from prehistoric times onwards; there was a Greek town here, and then the Roman town of Sorrentum. A few relics of these times can be seen in the town museum. This was an obvious site to build a settlement; surrounded by low cliffs on one side and ravines on the other, it had a natural ring of defences, as well as access by sea and a fertile hinterland. Nowadays parts of the ravine are filled in – a bridge and town gate were demolished to make way for the modern town’s heart, Piazza Tasso. But even without these physical defences, Sorrento has managed to keep its historic town centre reasonably intact. Although many properties are now converted to tourist businesses, the mellow old buildings still help create the delightful authentic atmosphere which gives Sorrento a big advantage over modern beach resorts.

Sorrento and its sister towns, Sant’Agnello, Piano di Sorrento and Meta di Sorrento now spread all the way along the large plateau that was once primarily agricultural. The towns are all separated from the sea by low cliffs, and there are hardly any beaches – one of the most important things to realise for travellers planning a summer holiday. Sea access is mostly from wooden boardwalks built out over the water, although there are a few scraps of sandy beach along the coast, and enterprising visitors can find attractive coves and pebble beaches around the peninsula.

POSITANO

Positano is a stage set of a town, its cluster of cubed, multi-hued buildings tumbling down the mountainside and closing around the grey shingle beach around which life revolves in the summer months. Once one of Italy’s most exclusive resorts, it has been thoroughly discovered by mass-tourism, but if you stay overnight, or come out of season, it’s still possible to get an elusive whiff of la dolce vita.

Insider’s tip: The only level street is the beachside walk. Anywhere else you need to go means negotiating lots of steep steps, so comfortable shoes are a must. Also, to get the best of the astonishing views, start in Positano and drive the cornice from west to east.

RAVELLO

Ravello, set like an eagle’s nest above the dizzying landscape of Italy’s Amalfi coast, is the most peaceful and charming resort on the Neapolitan Riviera. Early summer is the best time to explore its largely traffic-free lanes or to wander among the terraces and pergolas of its elegant gardens, from where there are vertigo-inducing glimpses of the Mediterranean miles below.

Greta Garbo, Jacqueline Kennedy and Tennessee Williams all holidayed here, and the place still has an air of restrained glamour (though neighbouring Amalfi has more in the way of beach and nightlife).

AMALFI

The busiest town on the Costiera, famous for paper-making and lemons, Amalfi was once a glorious Maritime Republic. Although unbearably crowded in high season it is a very pretty little resort wedged between the sea and the mountains and fringed by lemon terraces. At its heart is Piazza del Duomo, an open-air salon crowded with café tables and tourists and dominated by the striped façade of the Norman-Arab style cathedral a top a flight of steep steps. 

Since the 13th century, Amalfi has been known for its papermaking. It’s natural setting, wedged into a deep gorge rich with gushing streams that opens into the sea, provided the perfect conditions for the craft to flourish. In the late 18th century, there were 16 paper mills in the area; today there are just two. The small but fascinating Museo della Carta (housed in a 15th-century mill) documents the history of paper-making in Amalfi.

THINGS TO DO IN NAPLES IN DECEMBER

We are in December. December means Christmas, holidays, presents and sitting under the tree. But these aren’t the only things to do in December. Let’s find out some of the best events for this month.

HERE SOME EXHIBITIONS YOU CAN’T MISS IN DECEMBER

LONDON SHADOW. LA RIVOLUZIONE INGLESE DA GILBERT & GEORGE A DAMIEN HIRST

19/10/18 – 20/01/19The London Shadow exhibition recounts, through twenty-three works, the spirit of artistic renewal that began in Great Britain  (YBAYoung British Artists) in the late eighties and early nineties. At the end of the decade, these young artists finally glimpsed the possibility of breaking with the “old” generation imposing signs, messages and new expressive codes. Leader of the movement is Damien Hirst.

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EXPANDED INTERIORS

14/07/18 – 15/01/19Expanded Interiors explores ancient Roman wall paintings and Roman artefacts through fine-art practice at the two UNESCO World Heritage sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The project will develop site-specific fine art installations within two distinct architectural contexts: the House of the Cryptoporticus, in Pompeii, and the House of the Beautiful Courtyard, in Herculaneum. Expanded Interiors is planned by Newcastle University and brings together an experienced team from contemporary art, archaeology and digital technology.

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AN EXHIBITION FOR OLIMPIO GRECO

13/10/18 – 29/12/18. The retrospective exhibition dedicated to the Sicilian futurist and photographer Olimpio Greco, also called Grecolio. The exhibition, curated by Viktor Grobheiten, will present photos taken between 1919 and 1925. As Grobheiten says: maybe it’s time to shed light on Italian futurism artists, who didn’t have the visibility and the success they deserved. And it is certainly the case of Grecolio, a great interpreter of photodynamism.

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JEAN LOUP CHAMPION EXHIBITION

18/10/18 – 11/01/19The Mapils Gallery presents Bianchi i giorni che sovrastano le notti, from Jean Loup Champion. Jean-Loup offers an unpublished production realized in the last few years. The trauma caused by three consecutive liver transplants, made him discover, and then express, another body and another world, white and three – dimensional. In 2017, Jean-Loup Champion worked on a new series of works entitled Monumenti. These works refer to the Baroque funerary monuments of Naples and the Cy Twombly white sculptures. Made in wood and various materials, they are always painted in white.

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IL FUTURISMO (FUTURISM)

19/10/18 – 17/02/19. Works by BoccioniBallaCarràSeverini. Sixty-four masterpieces take us to the first and most important vanguard European Futurism of the early 1900s.

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KLIMT EXPERIENCE

20/10/18 – 03/02/19Klimt Experience is an immersive and multimedia journey dedicated to the life and works of Gustav Klimt. The main purpose is to thrill and fascinate the spectators, inviting them to deepen the knowledge of the man and artist and the understanding of his works. A multimedia jump in Klimt’s art and history. The exhibition includes the biography told by the monitors of the visual room, a magical kaleidoscope with signs and images projected on walls and ceilings in the hall of mirrorsvirtual reality with the Oculus VR. A different way to approach art, a dreamlike journey.

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PRESENZE ASSENZE 1978-2018

13/12/18 – 21/02/19. Peppe Esposito on show with his personal Presenze Assenze 1978 – 2018. 50 images between black and white photos and color portraits on display at the Private Baker Fideuram offices. A visual tale of Napoli, an ideal metropolis immortalized by the photographic eye of Esposito that conquers bodies and spaces, revealing the city’s many identities and its transformations, from 1978 to today.

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I DE FILIPPO. IL MESTIERE IN SCENA

8/11/18 – 24/04/19. Thanks to unpublished material, letters, photos, videos, costumes, posters, manuscripts and typescripts, this exhibition shows up like a some kind of dialogue between the De Filippo family and the public. People will meet Eduardo through the movies, through the poems, through the songs, will live his strength, his rigor, the importance that the theatre and the audience had for him and that took him not to stop even when life was terribly tough with him.

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ESCHER

01/11/18 – 22/04/19Palazzo delle Arti di Napoli will house the works of Maurits Cornelis Escher, one of the world’s most famous graphic artists. There will also be a large section dedicated to the influence that his work have had on subsequent generations: discs, comics, advertising, movies. A big journey through 200 works, from Escher to the present day.

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HERE SOME EVENTS YOU CAN’T MISS IN DECEMBER

DINOSAURI IN CARNE E OSSA (DINOSAURS IN FLESH AND BLOOD)

12/11/18 – 09/03/19. Dinosaurs are back, and they and they have established themselves at the. Astroni Crater, an extinct volcano just 5 km from Naples. It is a unique experience that helps us to reflect on a question: can you survive a mass extinction? A small group of survivors gave life to different species of animals, that have dominated the earth. Extinction is part of evolution, but over the past 350 years, our actions have placed the planet at risk of a new mass extinction. The exhibition tells the history of life, from Paleozoic till the present day.

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BRIKMANIA, UN MONDO DI MATTONCINI (A WORLD OF BRICKS)

13/10/18 – 27/01/19. The world’s biggest exhibition of Lego is here. 2 million of bricks, with vintage cars, pirate galleons and the Star Wars saga and an area with a pool full of bricks where children can play.

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I VENERDÌ DEL TAIJIQUAN (TAIJIQUAN FRIDAYS)

24/10/18 – 05/05/19Taijiquan is a Chinese fighting technique suitable for everyone and is based on a harmonious balance between body and mind, restoring the energy flow and psychophysical well-being.

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NATALE AL CASTELLO DI LETTERE (CHRISTMAS AT LETTERE CASTLE)

10/11/18 – 06/01/19. In the wonderful Archaeological park in Castello di Lettere, it will take place Natale al Castello. The Castle will be set up according to a traditional Christmas Market. The event, is the favourite destination for adults and children who spend a very special moment during the holidays, between tradition, games and typical tastings. With kiosks in which artisans, masters of the Neapolitan manger, producers and farms, will propose their creations.

MERCATINI AL CASTELLO DI OTTAVIANO (MARKETS AT THE OTTAVIANO CASTLE)

01/12/18 – 16/12/18. More than 100 exhibitors at the Mediceo Castle, organized in typical wooden houses, will offer a wide range of products. Christmas lights, artists, concerts, choirs and shows are the perfect setting for this typical Christmas atmosphere.

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MERCATINI DI NATALE 2018 (CHRISTMAS MARKETS 2018)

02/12/18 – 21/12/18. The National Railway Museum of Pietrarsa will be transformed into the city of the Christmas, giving visitors unforgettable emotions. If you visit the markets you can freely access and visit the National Railway Museum of Pietrarsa. Children can visit the house of Santa Claus, view the locomotives of the Polar Express, meeting characters from fairy tales and listening tales like Snow WhitePinocchio and The Pied Piper.

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CHRISTMAS IN THE MIDDLE AGES

10/12/18 – 24/12/18. For 14 days Borgo Martucci will turn into a historical road. Take a leap into the past and experience history in an original way. Ladies, knights, jugglers and minstrels, let yourself be guided towards the magic.

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HERE SOME THEATRICAL SHOWS YOU CAN’T MISS IN DECEMBER

MADE IN CHINA POSTCARDS FROM VAN GOGH

04/12/18 – 09/12/18. An original comparison between Van Gogh, the artistic genius, and China, the serial reproduction for commercial purposes. A very original show in which the reference made in China, suggests food for thought on contemporary society.

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POKER

07/12/18 – 09/12/18. A restaurant, the owner, his son, two waiters and the cook. Every Sunday after the closing, they go to the basement of the club to play poker all the night. This routine is broken by the arrival on the scene of a mysterious character. A character that brings to the life of the protagonists imbalance and curiosity, adding suspense to the developments of the story and, above all, to the game that will be played.

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COUS COUS KLAN

07/12/18 – 16/12/18. In a near future, the water is privatized and the rivers are guarded by the government guards. In an abandoned parking lot there is a homeless community, frayed by anger and conflict. Aldo and Nina, a rebellious and unpredictable girl, who will prove to be the biggest of their problems and, at the same time, the key to a social redemption, will be part of the community.

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AVEVO UN BEL PALLONE ROSSO (I HAD A BEAUTIFUL RED BALLOON)

11/12/18 – 16/12/18. Margherita is a young Catholic girl who, after moving to Milan, in a few years becomes “Mara”, leader of the Red Brigades. The show, through the conversations between her and her father, tells the story of Margherita and outlines the intimate and dramatic relationship between father and daughter, which mixes with the history of Italy.

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LE HO MAI RACCONTATO DEL VENTO DEL NORD

12/12/18 – 16/12/18. A wrong e-mail address, triggers a spark between 2 strangers. Based on the book by Daniel Glattauer, with millions of copies sold all over the world, the show describes the birth of an intense and virtual bond. Can a relationship of this kind survive to a real meeting?

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NEW MAGIC PEOPLE SHOW

14/12/18 – 16/12/18. In 2007, with Magic People Show, Giuseppe Montesano told the global consumer, the average human being, the slave of the advertising, and then, national economy healers, air to breathe sellers, souls sellers and buyers. Ten years later a new version of the show, which mixes opera buffs and drama, made up of ridiculous monsters drugged by the dream of money, of deluded prisoners of being free and people who have buried passion and love. A new tragicomic chapter of the sick Italy.

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GHOST TOUR. GHOSTS IN NAPLES

09/11/18 – 30/12/18. Do you believe in paranormal activities? With this tour, the De Rebus Neapolis, which represents the Paranormal Research and Analysis Center in Naples, will explore the results of a surprising survey in the alleys of the ancient center of Naples. This tour will provide some precious knowledge to all those who want to approach to the paranormal. The purpose is to make contact with the occult.

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ANGELI E DEMONI. A TOUR IN THE MOST MYSTERIOUS CHURCHES IN NAPLES

16/11/18 – 28/12/18. The history, the anecdotes, the curiosities about the three churches of mystery: Church of Gesù Nuovo, Basilica of San Domenico Maggiore and the Basilica of Santa Chiara. Ghosts, angels and other entities, a walk that will tell the miracles, the mysteries and the paranormal. Every corner and every facade of these churches carries a hidden history.

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HERE SOME CONCERTS YOU CAN’T MISS IN DECEMBER

CHRISTMAS CONCERT WITH THE 3 TENORS

08/12/18 – 29/12/18. In the wonderful Filangieri museum, a work inspired by the concert La traviata, from Luciano PavarottiJosé Carreras and Placido Domingo. Between the great Italian opera and the Neapolitan tradition, and speaking of Neapolitan tradition, O’ Sole mio and Torna a Surriento, are just a couple of the songs in which the tenors protagonists of this evening will challenge themselves.   

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CHRISTMAS CONCERT

22/12/18. Orchestra of the San Carlo Theatre, with the participation of the Sanitansamble Orchestra.

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THE NUTCRACKER

29/12/18 – 05/12/18. The famous ballet adapted from E. T. A. Hoffmann’s story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

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Naples food & drink guide: 10 things to try

The home of every Italian dish you know and love, Naples offers everything from classic pizza and pasta to fresh seafood and powerful volcanic wines

Although you probably already know that humanity’s finest pizza and pasta graces the whole nation of Italy, the culinary history of Naples is notorious, and older than Rome itself. The traditional food in this region is characterised by the simple ingredients of the poorer classes, executed with great skill and a sense of perfection.

Neapolitan street food offers everything from fried morsels of fish, to fried pizza, cheese-filled pastries and even pork offal for the bravest foodies. Restaurant creations of meatballs doused in ragù may be served alongside pasta, cheeses, vegetables and sweets. Naples is a place to forget your waistline and enjoy every culinary masterpiece you find. We suggest you take on the flavours of the city with full force, so eat like a local by following these tips.

Pizza Napoletana

Need we say more? Naples is the motherland of pizza as we know it. Pizza slathered with tomato sauce, cheese and basil existed here as early as the 18th century, but later named Pizza Margherita after the queen of Italy in 1889. The texture should be chewy, the cheese is always mozzarella, and the basil is fresh. Most importantly, look out for a slightly charred crust, the signature of a stone oven.

Where to try: Almost every slice in Naples will leave you in pizza euphoria, but for some of the best of the best, head to Di Matteo (Via dei Tribunali, 94) where you’ll find fried variations, too.

Ragù

Better than the stuff in tightly sealed glass jars in aisle at the grocery store, and probably better than your grandmother’s, Neapolitan ragù pairs with pasta to make the perfect marriage. Chefs start with good, volcanically enriched tomatoes and add meat to create a robust flavour unique to Naples. The sauce is traditionally mixed with pasta of the ziti variety. Just so you know, the town of Gragnano in the Municipality of Naples produces some of the finest grades of pasta in the world.

Where to try: Tandem (Via Paladino Giovanni 51) is a favourite among locals and serves generous helpings of their slow-cooked speciality ragù.

Polpette

Ragù cheats on its partner, pasta, with these tender meatballs that come in twos or threes. Polpette showered in spoonfuls of ragù make a filling, protein-packed meal for any hungry traveller. Throw vegetarianism out the window, forget the noodle bits, and munch on this treasured, spherical meat.

Where to try: Try Neapolitan meatballs encased in sandwich bread at O’Cuzzetiello Panineria Take Away (Via Rimini 51) or find the dish at various restaurants throughout the city.

Impepata di Cozze

It goes without saying that you simply can’t visit Naples without trying the fresh seafood brought in daily. Aside from delicious fish and squid dishes, make room for Impepata di Cozze; a simple bowl of mussels prepared with tomatoes, peppers, and white wine. Chunks of bread soak up the juices at the end.

Where to try: Trattoria Da Patrizia (Via Luculliana, 24) is by the harbour and serves a range of seafood dishes.

Cuoppo

Fried foods of all varieties in a convenient handheld cone. The brown paper cups contain fried eggplant and zucchini nestled with items like battered fish and shrimp, golden brown mozzarella bites, and potato croquettes. It may be hard to discern what some of the fried lumps are just by looking at them, but don’t worry; you can’t go wrong with deep-fried Italian food.

Where to try: Il Cuoppo (Via San Biagio Dei Librai 23), the brainchild of brothers Giorgio and Andrea Sangiovanni, hands cones of cuoppo stamped with their blue logo to sidewalk strollers every day of the week.

Panino Napoletano

Many compare the panino or panini to its other toasted sandwich cousins, but these Italian sandwiches find a special place in the hearts of those who purchase them in Naples. Panino Napolitano looks like a cross between a sticky iced bun and a calzone. Thick bits of pancetta and molten provolone ooze out the sides of this dense street food, making it a holy trinity of meat, cheese, and bread.

Where to try: Try Panino Napoletano at any of the dozens of kiosks and stands that sell the sandwich to take-away.

Sfogliatella

This shell-shaped pastry shows off its paper-thin folds in glass cases at bakeries across the city. Created by monks and first sold commercially by Neapolitan pastry chef Pasquale Pintauro in 1818, these light bites still thrive on the market today. Sfogliatella are baked until the ridges bloom and separate, cooled and filled with ricotta or almond paste, and finally dusted with powdered sugar.

Where to try: Pick up some from Antico Forno delle Sfogliatelle Calde Fratelli Attanasio (Vico Ferrovia 1/2/3/4).

Babà Rum

Babà of the rum variety are found in patisseries throughout the city and resemble glistening, spongy mushrooms. These tiny cakes are often garnished with whipped cream and berries. To eat appropriately, take an espresso in one hand and a babà in the other; alternate between bites of the confection and sips of coffee.

Where to try: It’s everywhere. Pop into glamour Pasticceria Capparelli (Via dei Tribunali, 327)

Limoncello

A speciality of the Gulf of Naples and the Amalfi coast, this neon-yellow liqueur is typically made using grappa infused with the zest of local Sorrento lemons and sweetened with sugar. There are endless homemade varieties, often created in bars and restaurants, and a chilled ceramic cup of Limoncello is the perfect summertime digestivo.

Where to try: The expert liqueur producers at Limoné (Piazza San Gaetano 72) will gladly give you tasters, and this is the place to go if you’re looking to bring some bottles home. If you’re only in the mood for a sip, try any restaurant in the city.

Lacryma Christi

This celebrated wine is produced on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius, and archaeologists have declared it the nearest equivalent to the wine consumed in Ancient Rome. It’s available in white, rosé, and red varieties – so there should be one for every occasion! Lacryma Christi has been immortalised in books by authors like Voltaire, Alexandre Dumas, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, so relax with a glass and taste a piece of history.

Where to try: Pop into Enoteca Belledonne (Vico Belledonne a Chiaia 18) or book a wine tour at one of the vineyards on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius outside the city.

MOKA POT PREPARATION GUIDE

Background

A tiny, Italian-made, eight-sided wonder, the Moka pot has been with us through our fair share of postage-stamp-sized kitchens and far-flung journeys. It’s experiencing a resurgence lately, which is no doubt due to its ability to produce a viscous, appropriately dense espresso with no electricity or fancy equipment. We’re also charmed by the little gurgle it makes as it works its magic on the stovetop.

Step 1

Grind about 20-22 grams of coffee, about as finely as you would for each shot of espresso.

Step 2

Fill the bottom half of your Moka pot with water.

Step 3

Fill the pot’s filter basket with the ground coffee, and give it a shake (don’t press) to settle the grounds evenly. Now place it into the bottom compartment.

Step 4

Screw on the Moka pot’s spouted top.

Step 5

Place the pot on a stove set to medium heat.

Step 6

When the water in the bottom chamber approaches a boil, the pressure will push a stream of coffee slowly and methodically through the upper chamber. If it explodes upward, your water’s too hot, if it burbles lethargically, turn up your flame. You know it’s done when you hear a hissing, bubbling sound.

Step 7

Enjoy.

Naples

In the shadow the Vesuvius tourism’s roots run deep: on the imprints of great greek columns refined aristocrats and roman emperors built their sumptuous villas and oasis all along the shoreline of the Gulf.

It is not a coincidence that at the begining of this third millennium the peculiar magic of this civilisation continues to generate new sources of amazement: the recovery of age old monuments and traditions – folklore, gastronomy, genuine cultivation – that were thought irreparably lost, events and shows worthy of the great international circuit, new fodder for artistic and scientific research.

The artistic treasure of Naples to visit are, in fact, to many to count: the historical centre, a patrimony under the tutelage of UNESCO, the palaces, churches, catacombs and underground passageways, the Archaeological Museum, the places of medieval and renaissance power amassed around the Castel Nuovo and Royal Palace, the unforgettable waterfront from Castel dell’Ovo to Posillipo. The hilly area of Vomero offers masterfully restored buildings like the Capodimonte Royal Palace and the Certosa (monastery) of San Martino, museum collections amongst the most important in the world.

A trip through the twentieth century city takes you, among the notable urban and architectural sights, to the rationalist Mostra d’Oltremare, with its park, sports complex and exhibition space. Science is also witness to the recovery of industrial archaeological complexes and the originality of a scientific tradition that renews itself. Unusual and surprising is the exploration of the new homes of contemporary art: monumental structures like the PAN, Palazzo delle Arti Napoli, the MADRE, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina (Donnaregina Contemporary Arts Museum), and the unique artistry of the metro stations that evidence the original horizons of farseeing cultural politics.

Naples, in the final sum, remains, deep in its roots, even with all the difficulties and contradictions inherent to all big metropolitan cities, an extraordinary place to live, admire, and enjoy with all the senses: for the depth of the art and civilisation that has idelibly marked its history; for the mild climate that accompanies day and night the shows, musical and theatrical events, exhibitions, fairs and religious gatherings; for the gourmand possibilites to search out the age old culinary tradition, the seafood and the unique typical products (buffalo mozzarella, pizza, Docg wine, varied and refined pastries) in all their local translations, or for finding fine hidden little.

Il curniciello. The Neapolitan Amulet.

In Napoli you will see a lot of what look like red chili peppers. Each is actually a horn, corno in italian, designed to ward off the Evil Eye and bring good luck. The origins of this amulet are lost in the mists of time: since ancient times, the horn was a symbol of power and fertility. But to be really magic and keep spirits away, the neapolitan curniciello has to be realized according to a few but necessary rules. First of all, it must be red, the traditional color of fortune, and made of coral wish is a precious material having special powers to chase away evil. It has to be crooked and pointed. Last but fundamental rule is that the horn must not be bought, but received as a present in order to truly bring good luck.

San Gregorio Armeno

It is one of Naples’ most famous streets, thanks to the presence of artisan workshops dedicated to the art of representing the Nativity Scene. Especially during the period that precedes Christmas, San Gregorio Armeno, that is  located in the heart of the historic center, becomes the most characteristic street in the city. In fact, the whole area is crawling with stands, shepherds and decorations in order to show the amazing skills of local artisans. As you walk, you will see statuettes whose appearances do not exactly recall the Christmas theme. Shepherds often embody characters from the television, political or Star System worlds and the care for details is almost extreme. As a matter of fact, the perfection of the faces and the magnificence of details characterize every single statuette and they are a real source of pride for the local artisans.

The Neapolitan nativity scene is characterized by the coexistence of sacred and profane elements. The birth of Jesus is usually set in the eighteenth century, in a context where baroque taverns and scenes of everyday life merge with the classic characters of the Nativity. Some of the shepherds that are habitually placed in the so-called ‘presepio’ are: Benino, a sleeping shepherd placed on a hill, a woman with a baby and the bagpipers, who are usually located near the cavern, and the ‘ciccibacco”,a robust boy sitting on a barrel of wine near the tavern. As time passed by, many characters have been added, which represent different rituals and traditions. For this reason, the Neapolitan Nativity Scene is not considered just a religious symbol, but also the milestone of an entire population.