48 Hours In Naples

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If you’ve been following our travel diaries, you’ll know that we chose to visit the south east of Italy, specifically the Napoli district and the Amalfi coast on our honeymoon. Take a look at our experience in Sorrento here and stay tuned for posts on Amalfi, Ravello, Capri, Pompeii and celebrity favourite, Positano, coming up over the next few weeks.

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Today’s post is all about our whirlwind weekend away in Naples, the city in which pizza was invented. Also known as my holy grail. But seriously, I’ve wanted to visit Naples ever since I saw Julia Roberts eat what looked like the most mind-blowing pizza Margherita of all time in Eat Pray Love. Like she says, it was my moral imperative to enjoy the pizza and then buy bigger jeans!

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Pizza aside though, Naples was full of beautiful architecture, alleyways filled with cafes, a fantastic line-up of shops and plenty of tourist attractions to keep us busy. However, like any large cosmopolitan city in the world, it was a little rough around the edges and not as traditionally pretty or safe as the neighbouring Amalfi towns – think walls splattered with graffiti, unsightly characters hanging around alleyways and practically every little nook and cranny had a scaffolding attached to it signifying construction, repair work, restoration or refurbishment – it reminded me of home!

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That being said, it was beautiful nonetheless and most definitely had a buzz about it that left you going to bed excited and waking up eager to explore everything it had to offer. We were staying at the amazing¬†Renaissance Naples Hotel Mediterraneo which was a short walk away from everything and had the most breathtaking view of the city spread out beneath it from the open-air cafe on the roof where we ate our breakfast in the warm Italian sunshine in the mornings, before heading out to turn the city inside out. Here’s everything we managed to squeeze into our short weekend in Napoli:

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{OUTFIT DETAILS} Dress: Hill Road (similar here) | Jacket: Spring Break | Shoes: Vans | Bag: Charity Shop | Watch: Daniel Wellington | Sunglasses: Prada

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{PHOTOGRAPHY} James Moore, Anushka Moore

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1. Main Square of Naples (Piazza del Plebiscito)

Also known as the main square of Naples. We sat here and enjoyed the beautiful architecture and watched the world go by. This famous square is used for open-air concerts, with artists like Elton Jon, Maroon 5 and Bruce Springsteen having performed here. The buildings that make up the square are famous on their own, too, and are absolutely wonderful tourist spots should you choose to visit – the Palazzo Reale Napoli (Royal Palace of Naples), the Palazzo Salerno (the Salerno Palace), the Palazzo della Prefettura (the Palace of the Prefecture’) and the Basilica Reale San Francesco di Paola (the Church of San Francesco di Paola) where we witnessed a couple getting married and all the guests descending down the stairs in what can only be described as a sartorial affair akin to fashion week.

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2. New Castle / Fort (Castel Nuovo)

Also known as Maschio Angioino, this medieval fortress, civic art museum and chapel is one of the main landmarks of the city. Located a stone’s throw away from the main square of Naples, it offers great views of the city and the coast on which it is located.

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3. Royal Palace Of Naples (Palazzo Reale Napoli)

We didn’t get a chance to look around here as much as we would have liked, but in addition to seeing how the King Of Spain lived at the time, it also houses within it a museum and a romantic garden which we believe is breathtaking and a must-see!

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4. The Naples National Archaeological Museum (Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli)

If you only visit one museum in Naples, let it be this one. Considered of the most important museums in the world, it houses important artifacts from Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae and includes work from the Roman, Greek and Renaissance times. If, like me, you happen to know a fair amount about the erotic art of Pompeii and its history, you will find a lot of it in this museum, as opposed to visiting the Pompeii ruins / excavation site, where it has all been removed.

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5. The Underground Tunnels

We cannot stress enough how this was by far the best part of our weekend in Naples! We didn’t know about the tunnels till they were recommended to us by one of my lovely Instagram followers, @boogerworm. A short Google and TripAdvisor search later, we knew we absolutely had to check it out. Naples has two different underground tours – (1) the Tunnel Borbonico (The Bourbon Tunnel) an ancient underground passage constructed for military purposes to connect the Royal Palace to military barracks and (2) the Catacombe di San Gennaro (Catacombs of San Gennaro) an underground paleo-Christian burial site. We wanted to visit both, but the catacombs were fairly far away from us and were closed when we got there since it was a Sunday.

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The Bourbon Tunnel (situated in a tiny residential alleyway just up the street from the Naples main square) was absolutely magnificent and we couldn’t recommend it more. The tour was worth every penny and the guides were funny, knowledgeable and fun. Our favourite was the young, chatty, theatrical Fabiana (seriously, go on her tour and thank me later) who was confident, organized, hilarious and whose command over the English language was incredible. She showed us around the aqueducts under the city, what it was like living under there during the war, the legend of the little hooded Monk and told us fascinating facts about the rusty vintage cars in the tunnels. There is also an adventure tour of the Bourbon tunnel for those of you who love an adrenaline fix. The only little downside to the experience? The fact that you’re not allowed to take photographs down there until the very end of the tour. And that you probably shouldn’t attempt it if you happen to be claustrophobic.

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6. Shopping in Via Toledo

The best shopping in Napoli is in Via Toledo (a short walk from the Naples main square) Рan ancient street now lined with beautiful old banks and all your favourite  stores from H&M, Zara, Stradivarius and MAC to Max Mara, Gucci and Ferragamo. Slightly off Via Toledo, opposite the Teatro di San Carlo (San Carlo Opera House) is the Galleria Umberto I. Arguably one of the most beautiful malls in the world, the building was constructed in 1891 and boasts of the most dramatic glass roof and stunning, intricate mosaic-work on the floor. Just a little added visual treat while you shop, because Italy is kind like that.

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7. Magnum Pleasure Store Napoli

If you haven’t been to one of these yet or experienced it for yourself last season at fashion week, let Naples be the place you have your first ever Magnum Pleasure experience. Perfect for when you’ve had your fair share of gelato, head on over to the Magnum Pleasure Store located just off Via Toledo to customize your own ice cream. I’m drooling at the very thought!

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8. Dinner at the Ristorante da Ettore

And finally, at the end of a long day walking around in the heat, when all you want to do is relax with some great Italian food, a glass of wine and a chat about all the great things you’ve just seen, there’s no better place to do it than the Ristorante da Ettore. Tiny, quaint and friendly (and incredibly busy for the same reasons!) this little traditional Italian restaurant is again, short walk away from the main square of Naples, has the best pizza in Napoli and is frequented by the locals in the area – which we think is always a good sign of authentic, well-prepared food. Make sure you try a pizza, a plate of traditional Napoli ‘pizza fritta‘ (‘fries’ made of deep-fried pizza dough) and some pasta with mussels.

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9. The Fountain of Neptune (Fontana del Nettuno)

We ended the last night of our trip to Naples with a romantic walk around this iconic fountain which looks absolutely gorgeous when lit up at night. Again, only a short walk away from the Naples main square, it was so lovely to sit there and admire the architectural beauty while the air was punctuated with the sound of little kids laughing as they played around it.

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GENERAL TIPS: (1) Everything is closed or open only half day on Sundays (making restaurant reservations is much harder, too) so plan your trip accordingly. (2) Be careful whilst crossing the street. Cars go very fast and barely stop out of politeness here. (3) Keep an eye on your belongings if you happen to be in a crowded area – pickpockets are everywhere. (4) Try and avoid taking pictures of shops and restaurants – the owners get annoyed if you don’t offer them your business after you finish.

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1 Comment

  1. madhavi shastri
    July 4, 2016 / 3:22 am

    Hi Anushka, I am visiting Naples in september this year and so looking forward to it. Can you please tell me what tour did you use to visti the underground tunnels?

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ABOUT

Anushka Moore is an almost-thirty-something blogger who moved across the world when the love she met on Tinder put a ring on it. She now lives in Manchester with her husband and her two little Poodle-cross fur children.

Her day job includes running her own social media content company and is the founder of popular Instagram account, Midsize Collective.

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