12 min read
After our Founder Greg spending 48 hours in Porto and bringing you some amazing travel recommendations, our Travel Expert Ellis takes you on a journey to Naples, the 'City of Sun'.
If you’re anything like me, taking a holiday to any part of Italy is always tempting. Pizza? Pasta? Wine? Say no more! But when it comes to Italy’s third largest city, the list of pull factors goes on far beyond really (and I mean really) excellent food.
Naples is located on the western coast of southern Italy overlooking the stunning turquoise waters of the Bay of Naples. This naturally beautiful setting is only improved by its unfailing good weather gaining Naples the nickname ‘The City of Sun.’ The foundations of this sun-drenched city date all the way back to 1000BC making Naples one of the oldest continuously inhabited areas in the world. Steeped in rich history, there are incredible artefacts, castles, churches and more on virtually every corner of Naples’ interweaving roads. The atmosphere here is chaotic but beautifully so. Buzzing with excitement and hidden wonders, but also home to calm and completely magical spots, Naples is the perfect place for both adventure and relaxation.
All this is just a two-and-a-half-hour flight away from London. Sounds pretty perfect to me! So, what are you waiting for? Grab your sun cream and happy travelling!
After a two-and-a-half-hour flight from London Gatwick, I land at Naples International Airport (the main airport in Naples). I want to make the most of my time in the city so I jump in a taxi and head straight to the 4* Palazzo Salgar to drop off my bag.
A cosy stay in the heart of a city with a thousand facets: Naples. The modern and functional rooms, attention to detail and a strong customer focus make Palazzo Salgar the ideal place to enjoy a nice relaxing time.
After a long day of exploring this beautiful city, take a break at the hotel's rooftop terrace where you can enjoy a traditional Italian cocktail or even start your day with a coffee and some well-deserved sun and get ready to fall in love with Naples at every step.
After a hearty breakfast, begin your explorations at the Castel Sant’ Elmo. This 14th century fortress is one of the best places to get acquainted with the city, as its position at the top of Vomero Hill means you get a bird’s eye view of Naples spreading out below you. Keep an eye out for the Spaccanapoli (meaning Naples splitter) which is a straight and narrow street that divides the city in two.
Photo Credit: @ella_raf
You can also spy many of the city’s main attractions as well as Vesuvius and the Tyrrhenian Sea in the distance. Next up is the Archaeological Museum. Here you will find the famous Farnese Bull which is the largest intact sculpture from ancient Rome that has ever been found. On top of that, the museum holds most of the artefacts and sculptures that were excavated from Pompeii.
Photo Credit: @soyhojadelaurel
If that isn’t enough to tempt you, the museum is also home to something a little more scandalous. It houses a large collection of extremely risqué Roman art featuring everything from erotic frescoes to penis-shaped wind chimes! Hidden away in the Gabinetto Segreto, otherwise known as the secret cabinet, these racy artefacts have been kept under lock and key since 1849. However, in 2000 the room was opened up to the public and now you can see everything - literally!
Head back out into the hustle and bustle of the Italian streets for a spot of lunch. Just of the main street Via Toledo, you can find the open-air market of Pignasecca. There are stalls selling everything from fresh fish, fruit and vegetables to local delicacies, fried pizza and sweet treats.
Photo Credit: @monyaelisa
If you prefer to duck away from the crowds, and put your feet up, Trattoria de Nennella is a lovely restaurant nearby that serves traditional homestyle lunches so delicious you will want to come back for more!
Photo Credit: @isabellelindblom
After lunch, head to the Museo Cappella Sansevero. The Sansevero Chapel Museum is a jewel of Italy’s artistic heritage. The building’s spellbinding baroque interior is amplified by the incredibly beautiful statues that line the walls. The showstopper is Giuseppe Sanmartino’s exquisite sculpture The Veiled Christ. Looking at the statue, it is almost unbelievable that the delicate and soft looking material that covers Christ’s body is carved from marble.
Photo Credit: @museocappellasansevero
After having your soul elevated by the artwork in the main part of the chapel, head down to the basement and turn your attentions to the body. The underground chamber is home to two gruesome “anatomical machines” which display a network of bare veins, arteries, and muscles.
The bodies were originally the possession of Raimondo di Sangro, the Prince of Sansevero and for many years it was rumoured that the machines were the preserved bodies of two of his servants whom he had killed. Only recently has it been proved that the visceral elements of these machines are actually made from beeswax, iron and silk, though the skeletons are real. Fake or not, they are sure to make you shudder!
Recover from that horror show with a much-deserved pre-dinner drink. The Piazza Bellini is a square lined with bars offering outdoor seating and it’s the perfect place to relax and do a spot of people watching in the evening sun. With the composer’s statue in the centre, plumes of lush greenery and even some ancient ruins, it is not surprising that this beautiful square is a favourite of visitors and locals alike.
Photo Credit: @maliavibes_
Move on to L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele for one, if not the, best pizza you will ever eat. Founded in 1870, Da Michele is one of the oldest pizzerias in Naples, and its popularity has never wavered. Over the years, this establishment has impressed the likes of Diego Maradona and Julia Roberts. Simple and superb, this is Neapolitan dining at its finest.
Photo Credit: @pizzeriadamichele
As the night draws on, either head back to the piazza Bellini, which by now will have filled with a young, fun-loving crowd, or see somewhere new and check out Lanificio 25. The courtyard of Lanificio 25 turns into an open-air dance floor at night giving the club a distinctive Neapolitan flare. So, sip cocktails and dance the night away – this is a holiday after all!
Photo Credit: @findingros
There’s no better way to start the day than with a fresh Italian coffee and one of their absolute must try delicacies – sfogliatella. The queen of Naples’ traditional pastries, sfogliatella are made from a puffed flaky dough and stuffed with a delicious ricotta, almond and cinnamon filling. We recommend the bakery Sfogliatelle Attanasio, and don’t feel guilty about scoffing down this sweet treat for breakfast, you will need the energy for the long, action packed morning you have ahead of you.
Photo Credit: @agapantoluxuryaccommodation
Once you’re all fuelled up, head to Naples’ main train station the Napoli Garibaldi and catch the express train to Sorrento, its time to visit Pompeii! Just 30 minutes away from Naples city centre, Pompeii is one of the biggest tourist draws in the area, and for good reason. When Vesuvius erupted in 79AD the city of Pompeii was buried under meters of volcanic mud, perfectly preserving the ruins.
Photo Credit: @vacationacademy
There is so much jaw dropping stuff to see here from impressive mosaics, columns, and the amphitheatre to the infamous brothel and the oldest ‘beware of the dog’ sign in the world! An exclusive BRB tip for hacking your visit to Pompeii is to download a Pompeii travel guide app onto your phone before you go. Much cheaper than a tour, and just as informative, these apps are great for explaining what exactly you are looking at as you wonder around.
Yesterday morning you spotted the Spaccanapoli from Castel Sant’ Elmo, and now it’s time to explore it. Not only is Spaccanapoli fun to wander around, soaking up the atmosphere and peeking into shops but it is also loaded with street food.
Photo Credit: @supermariocin
Replenish the essential body fat you burned walking around Pompeii with all kinds of Neopolitan delights. Some of the most popular tries are Cuoppo which is fried fish in a cone, Fried Pizza which is just as delicious and calorific as it sounds, Pizza a Portafoglio which translates to wallet pizza and is pizza folded in half perfect for eating on the go, and last but not least Baba, a syrup and rum soaked sponge cake.
Photo Credit: @arcdrinkerfood
Walk to the back of the Monastero di Santa Chiara where they have a gorgeous cloister and beautiful, peaceful gardens for a calm lunch spot.
Photo Credit: @ilaranel_
Feeling refreshed, throw yourself back into the buzzing streets and head to Napoli Sotterranea or Naples Underground. Hidden underneath Naples there is a system of manmade caves and tunnels dating back over 2500 years. These tunnels have been put to many different uses by a succession of empires and rulers. You can see Ancient Greek aqueducts, Emperor Nero’s dressing room, WWII-era cars and more, all hidden in this underground world.
Photo Credit: @zerby83
You’ll be ready to come up for some air after all that subterranean exploring. Enjoy a relaxing, sunset stroll along Lungomare, a beautiful footpath that runs along the seafront. The view of Vesuvius across the Bay is simply breath-taking and set against a gorgeous sunset, it’s a top insta-worthy photo opportunity.
Photo Credit: @mysoul.intheworld
Finish your walk at the Castel dell’Ovo, an imposing castle located on a small island connected to the mainland by a footbridge. Its name means castle of the Egg which comes from a legend that the Roman poet Virgil placed a magical egg into the foundations of the castle in order to support its fortifications. True or not, the castle is the oldest standing in Naples, so something must be right about its foundations!
Photo Credit: @pacopixel94
Bring your holiday to a sad but sweet end with a late dinner at Il Transatlantico. The restaurant overlooks the sea, so you can enjoy elegant dining with an amazing view.
Photo Credit: @ristorante_transatlantico
Also from here, Naples looks truly magical all lit up at night. Its always hard to say goodbye to a wonderful holiday but it is a lot easier with sore feet from exploring as much as you can and a belly bursting with delicious food!
If like me you love taking short weekend breaks across Europe and spending 48 hours in cities like Barcelona, Prague, Porto, Split, Bologna, Stockholm or Venice, but if like me you hate wasting hours trawling travel sites to plan and research your next weekend break, only to be hit by increased flight prices just before booking, then BeRightBack is for you!
The team at BeRightBack believes that the mission of a travel company should be to save you both time and money.
With BeRightBack, you get three trips a year to three surprise European destinations, all for the monthly cost of £49.99, which includes your return flights and your hotel.
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I hope you enjoyed my 48 hours city guide to Naples and do not hesitate to use our website chat or to email us if you have any questions!
Ellis King (Travel Expert at BeRightBack)
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