Naples is not for the weak of heart or those unwilling to be adventurous! It is raucous, dirty, vivacious, exuberant, fast, furious and fabulous. I love it! I think it is one of those places that will draw extreme opinions…love or hate. Nothing in between!
One of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, maybe they have it all figured out. It is not like the larger Northern cities in Italy, Rome and Milan, and not like any place on earth as far as I can tell! Naples historic center is listed on UNESCO’s world heritage sites. In World War II, Naples was the most bombed Italian city. In the 20th century, much of the periphery was constructed under the Fascist government of Mussolini. Today, Naples has developed a large business district, a high speed train network to Rome, and a subway system, that when completed is planned to cover most of the region.Since Naples is in the South of Italy, I couldn’t help drawing many comparisons with the South of the US where I am from. Fried foods, beautiful produce,the friendliness of the people, going barefoot in the streets, the heat, spicy foods, and speaking with a distinct “accent” all seemed in line. We stayed near the train station, and as in most cities in the area near the train station, it was “colorful”. I remember the first time I went to Naples in 2006 on a tour. The tour director was very adamant that we not wear any jewelry while there in order to eliminate the risk of theft. It is true that Rolex watches are the prime targets for armed robbery in Naples, so if you have one, don’t wear it. Every Italian will tell you that Naples has the most crime of any Italian city. Putting that in perspective it is low to moderate compared to most US cities, according to the US Department of State. www.osac.gov. Yet, as I perused the travel sites, it is all that Americans talk about! Interesting! Naples is the birthplace of the Camorra, a mafia type organized criminal ring that dates back to the 16th century. As a tourist, this is not something you should be concerned with anymore than you are concerned with it in the states, where they also operate. We did manage to catch a glimpse of The Godfather at a little place where we stopped for a beer. He had the owner bring out all of the receipts and book keeping and did his own accounting. Check out the ring!
While in Naples, we visited the Archeological Museum, a must before you go to Pompeii, and walked the streets with Rick Steve’s walking tour to read and see the other sites. On this trip, we never made it down to the sea, which I am sorry about, but that will have to wait for next time.The photos of the city speak best for themselves. I personally can’t wait to go back!