Being one of Europe’s largest and oldest cities, Naples is full of old-time charm mixed with a modern intensity. Many get attracted to Naples for the pizza, but there’s more to the Grande Dame than just these delicious global favorites. In Naples, you’ll have a chance at other types of food. You should also get yourself into the football spirit, and you might even possibly have a religious experience. Anything goes in Naples, and if you’ve never been before, brace yourself to be surprised because we’re sure that it’s nothing like you’ve ever seen or been to before. Here are 10 things you should do if you’re visiting Naples, Italy for the first time.
1. Start with the pizza
Of course you have to start with the pizza. This is the birthplace of one of the best foods ever invented in the history of mankind after all. You’ll have to try the true and original Neapolitan, which is basically the margherita. A true Neapolitan pizza is all about the quality, and it’s something that the citizens of Naples are proud to have shared to the world.
2. Stray from the main roads
There’s nothing like experiencing Naples on foot, but you should go through the busy neighborhood streets instead of the main roads. You’ll find the vibrancy intoxicating, and you’ll really get a good picture of daily living in this beautiful part of Italy.
3. Visit history IRL
Pompeii and Herculaneum are must see sites. Both ancient cities were buried in the ashes of Mount Vesuvius, and while you’ll definitely get an eerie feeling while you walk the empty streets, you’ll also feel the depth of history right beneath your feet.
4. Have an espresso, zuccherato style
Every street in Naples is laden with coffee bars. There’s no particular time for coffee here. Neapolitans drink their coffee all day long. The coffee sub culture in Naples is fascinating. You’ll often see unusual mixes of people enjoying a cup or two together at the coffee bars. There are hipster coffee bars, modern coffee bars, historical coffee bars, and many other coffee bars of all types. Go to one. Go to them all.
5. Skip the pizza, eat something else
You should already know by now that food will play a large part in any trip to Naples. Make sure you try the fresh, local mozzarella. Have the catch of the day fresh from the Bay. Sample all the best local desserts that are made daily. And of course, make sure you get the best Italian wine on the menu. There are plenty of restaurants in Naples, but make sure you skip the tourist tropes and go for the local favorites instead.
6. See some skulls and bones
If you’re up to doing something completely and uniquely Neapolitan, you’ll have to be open to doing something morbid as well. Naples has a huge cultural subgroup that takes care of the skulls and bones of the deceased. The religious sects in the area frown upon this practice, but for you as a tourist, it will be an experience to remember. Visit one of the many cemeteries in the city and you’ll know exactly what you’ve come across.
7. Step into a church
It might be a good idea to do after you go through some skulls and bones to visit a church for a cleansing. You’ll see and hear the atmospheric differences between the inside of the churches and the busyness just outside the church doors. Religion is a large part of Neapolitan culture, and there’s so much more to it than street shrines and nativity scenes for sale. There’s architecture, history, politics, and literature in every single church you might visit.
8. Dive into ancient archeology
Visiting the Museo Archeologico Nazionale is a nice break from being outdoors. There’s also plenty of learning to do here if you’re up for it. Otherwise, you can simply marvel at all the ancient tidbits left over from Pompeii and other ancient cities.
9. Fancy some football
Neapolitans love their football, and when you go to the city, make sure that you pick up on some of that spirit. You’ll find shrines all over Naples paying respect to the best football player that ever lived according to Neapolitans—Diego Armando Maradona. You could either visit the shrines or really get in the action by going to a game.
10. Spend some time by the sea
The Lungomare is the best place to do this. The 3km seafront promenade boasts some of the best views in the city. You can walk around or sit on one of the rocks to soak in some sun. Either way, you could easily turn this into an all-day affair if you wanted to. Time slips by easily at the promenade.