You arrive in Naples. Find your hotel and drop off your bags. You have one day to see the highlights before your off again tomorrow morning. What to do?
This was the situation we were in after arriving into Naples by train from farther north in Italy and on our way to Ischia. After deciding to explore Napoli on our one-day stop over, we knew that we'd only have limited to time to see the heart of the city.
Where better to go than the "Spaccanapoli" district. This is part of the "centro storico" / historical district where most of the ancient Greek and Roman parts can be seen. Spaccanapoli is also the informal name of one of the streets that crosses this area and means "Naples splitter" because it splits the Greco-Roman area.
The entire area is full of plenty of piazzas, old churches, shops, restaurants, and lots of people-watching. We walked there from our hotel near the station, and it was about a 10 minute walk, and as soon as we reached Via dei Tribuali I could tell that we'd arrived at an area of town that was quite unique.
We meandered down this narrow cobblestone street and peeked down iconic alleyways with laundry lines and motorini parked outside. There were plenty of little shops along the way and the locals as well as the visitors shared the street with cars, strollers, scooters, delivery trucks and pigeons. We made our way to the cross street Via del Duomo where we turned off to visit the city's main cathedral.
After that we continued on through a few more piazzas and then turned south and ran into the actual "Spaccanapoli" road (officially Via S. Biagio dei Librai at this section). This is the area one can pass a slew of churches and famous piazzas all in one fell swoop.
Some of the sites in this area, which is easily walkable, are the Church Gesu' Nuovo with it's unique grey armor-like facade, San Domenico Maggiore, Santa Chiara, Palazzo Venezia, Palazzo di Sangro, and the old city gates and walls. Towards the western section of this district, you're only a few blocks walking distance to the National Archeological Museum, and about 10 minutes walk to the east is the train station.
This is definitely a must-see area of Napoli, and one where you can find most of the famous pizzerias and pastry shops as well.