Here in Indiana, things are slowly opening up after social distancing. So what's on the horizon? Vacation!
A few years ago, my dad and I got to go on an amazing vacation to Italy. Every city we visited was beautiful but my favorite was probably Naples.
I was surprised to like Naples so much. We only went there in the first place so we could see an opera (we visited at the end of the opera season and Naples was the only place we could watch one) but I ended up falling in love with it.
We stayed for a short time before jetting off to Modena, just about 2 or 3 days. But we crammed everything in! Today, I'm going to share with you my top eight places in Naples. That includes dining, sightseeing, the outdoors, and even a subway station. Enjoy!
You absolutely cannot go to Naples, Italy and eat gelato. Naturally, I was excited to try gelato in Italy. Before going over, we looked up many different gelato shops in Naples. We found one (Casa Infante) just a few minutes away from the Piazza del Plebiscito that had great reviews. It ended up being my favorite gelato of the whole trip! We went there twice in our short stay and each flavor we tried was delicious.
Try the lemon, coconut, and/or Amalfi Coast flavors. We loved them!
Note: As you walk the streets, a gelato-shaped trash can marks the entrance of each gelato store. Trust me, you'll see a lot of these quirky trash cans.
You can grocery shop at Wal-Mart all you want back home but when you're in Italy, you've got to hit a market! Mercato Pignasecca was vibrant and lively, full of merchants and customers speak-singing Italian as they bought and traded goods.
We visited the market in the morning to get fruit for breakfast. It was about an eight-minute walk from the Piazza del Plebiscito.
As you're walking, watch the roads. Naples traffic knows no bounds and it can be funny to watch Vespas and little cars zip around each other. You'll find that Italians can get as creative with their parking spaces as with the laws. Small Italian cars will often squeeze into inventive spaces in alleys to find parking spots.
The market pretty much has everything: from jewelry to clothes to fresh meat and fish to fruits and vegetables. Haggle if you dare or just buy the amount you need and enjoy. We ate ours on a bench nearby, enjoying the sunny weather and sea breeze and listening to the wild traffic.
The often-overlooked sibling of Pompeii, Herculaneum, might not be as widely discussed as its counterpart, but it's just as awe-inspiring. Smaller and easier to reach from Naples, Herculaneum's ruins are beautiful and historic. Carefully preserved, it's fascinating to see buildings, outdoor spaces, and objects from long ago. Sure, it's smaller than Pompeii, but there's still tons to be discovered.
Like I mentioned before, the first time I thought about going to Naples was when we were researching where we could see an opera. It was the end of the opera season, which meant we could only go to a very small amount of operas. We were able to find an opera in Naples and that's when I started to get really excited.
The Teatro di San Carlo is actually the oldest working opera house in the entire world. It puts on operas and ballets and is absolutely beautiful. Red drapes and gold are everywhere. The stage is also gorgeous, with intricate sets and costumes.
Of course, you can take a guided tour but I think the real magic is during the show. The arias, storytelling, and theatrics aren't to be missed.
English speakers: Don't know much more than a ciao bella? Don't worry. There are English subtitles playing on a screen above the stage.
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There are many picturesque beaches on Naples' coast. This one, called Bagno Sirena, was recommended to us by our Airbnb host. It had both a deck and a sandy beach view, both for a low price.
You can stick to the sand and swim from shallow water out or hit the deck. The desk had stairs and then a small ladder that allowed to climb right into the water. Jump off the rocks surrounding the deck's stairs if you're feeling adventurous!
After sight-seeing on the streets, the sea is the perfect remedy for sore feet. Relax on the deck or take a dip. Granted, we came in June, which meant the water was a little chillier, but we still braved the Mediterranean and took a refreshing swim. If you're more of a lizard than a fish, I still recommend laying out on a deck chair and soaking in the sunshine and the views.
You didn't think the metro was going to make it on the list, did you? Don't be fooled by its humble name, however. This subway station is definitely one of the more artistic ones. With lighting and decorated walls, this metro looks like a snowglobe.
Naples is easy to get around without breaking the bank by either walking or taking the subway. Pop into this station on your way to a new location and admire the wintery scene as you go.
Piazza del Plebiscito
This piazza is at the heart of Naples and just a few minutes walk away from some of the other sights on this list, such as Casa Infante, Teatro di San Carlo, and the Mercato Pignasecca. The piazza is a wide-open space where people mill about. It's surrounded by beautiful statues and buildings. Stroll around it to take in the sights or sit on a bench to eat gelato and people-watch. Either way, you're in Italy, so you just can't go wrong.
Napoli, Italia is the birthplace of pizza, so get ready to "unbend and really eat." This restaurant, just a one or two-minute walk from the Piazza del Plebiscito, serves the original pizza margherita, as well as many other delicious pizzas and appetizers.
This was by far the best pizza I've ever eaten! I loved the margherita pizza and the prosciutto and melon appetizers.
Pizza lovers, you're going to love this: traditional Italian restaurants will give you an entire pizza. Don't look like a tourist though. Italians fold their whole pizza and eat it like a sandwich. Try it, it's delicious!
That's all the Napoli sights I've going to share with you today. Naples is a beautiful, lively city and I hope you get to enjoy it, whether that's through a trip or just through these photos. Don't forget to follow me on Instagram for more Italian snapshots.
Have you been to Italy? Are you dying to go and live that dolce vita? Let me into the comments. Ciao, Zoe.