Written by Mark Gokingco on 27 Oct, 2010
Again, my wife and I joined an excursion offered by the ship which was a visit of the National Archeological Museum of Naples and Pizza Tasting. Again, I found myself wasting money here. Now keep in mind I have been in the area…Read More
Again, my wife and I joined an excursion offered by the ship which was a visit of the National Archeological Museum of Naples and Pizza Tasting. Again, I found myself wasting money here. Now keep in mind I have been in the area before on a previous trip. The last trip, though we stayed at a local hotel, we went to Pompeii, visited Sorrento and had a scenic drive up and down the Amalfi Coast. If this was my first time in Naples, I highly recommend this itinerary instead of what we took. I ran into some of my Port Promotions friends that used them to go touring the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento and Pompeii and they said they were perfect and the trip was spectacular. Anyway, the visit to the Museum was good and I thought our guide was very knowledgeable explaining most of the major pieces within the Museum. I tipped him well given his passion and knowledge. The Pizza tasting however was a disappointment. I thought it was more like a Pizza lunch than a tasting. One would think you would have several slices of different types of Pizza in Naples especially this was where Pizza was born. Besides, the itinerary description said "pizza tasting" not pizza lunch. At the restaurant, we each received a full, personal size cheese pizza and a glass of wine. Yes, that’s it!For what I paid for the tour, I thought again, I wasted my money. I would have walked to the Museum which was just a few blocks away from port and picked myself a restaurant to eat the local pizza (which there was tons). The ship will be docked at a very good, central area where all the action in Naples can be safely navigated by a good map and a good pair of walking shoes. Close
Written by airynfaerie on 27 Jun, 2010
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…Read More
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. Close
Written by airynfaerie on 24 Jun, 2010
On our last trip to Italy, we spent the first day with friends in Umbria, and stopped in through Naples for a quick trip on to our main destination of Ischia (island in Bay of Naples). It took about 4 hours to arrive to Napoli…Read More
On our last trip to Italy, we spent the first day with friends in Umbria, and stopped in through Naples for a quick trip on to our main destination of Ischia (island in Bay of Naples). It took about 4 hours to arrive to Napoli by train from our quick time in central Italy, and by the time we got there it was well into the afternoon. Our only prior visit through the city was just to continue on to the Amalfi coast, but even finding our way around Stazione Napoli Centrale was bad enough. Although I'm quick to say that you can't judge a city by the train station, as most cities' worst parts happen to be around that area. I was a bit hesitant to check out this city without much planning or previous research - plus, not knowing anyone there didn't help much either. Most people would either say that they avoid it at all costs - or that it was a 'must-see' city. There tended not to be a moderate viewpoint. Gritty. Dirty. Chaotic. Disorganized. Dangerous. Sketchy. Traffic.These were the words of warning.Pizza. Real. Tasty. Pastries. Espresso. Unorthodox beauty. Colorful.These were the words of encouragement.People have said that if you like Italy as far south as Rome, then go further south because everything just gets amplified. But if you're feeling like you're reached your limit in Rome, then stop.I definitely love Rome, and have visited Sicily (Italy's most southern part) - and can say that up to this trip Palermo had been the most dramatic of all the Italian cities I'd visited.But Naples topped that for me. Not so much in a good way - because I enjoyed Palermo a lot more - but just in the fact that it seemed to be to me a culmination of all the Italian drama, chaos, traffic, and food - all in one place. In somes ways this was good, but in others not so much.We got checked in at a nice and simple hotel not far from the station so it would be convenient for us arriving and then catching a bus to the port the next day. Immediately walking out to the streets we were hit with the massive motion of everything - people, cars, motorini, buses. But then we found a bar to take a quick refuge - and to see if the rumors were true: that Naples had Italy's best coffee.And, as it turns out...they did! Not only the best coffee, but some of the best cuisine. Pizza, pastries, and fried snacks...hey, not saying any of it was 'healthy' cuisine by any means!We stopped by a museum, wandered the streets of the "Spaccanapoli" district, relaxed in a few squares, and dodged many a motorini.Our short 2 days and 1 night in the city turned out to be just enough for me. I'm sure we missed plenty of sites, but I felt like we got a feel for the craziness that is Naples, and besides being sad about leaving the tasty food behind, I was quite happy to be heading to Ischia. Close
Written by MALUSE on 24 Sep, 2009
At the beginning of April 2004 I spent 24 hours in Naples, I‘d like to show you what I saw. I stayed in a hotel in the historical centre, the description on the net said, ‘easily reachable by underground (Metropolitana) Montesanto station or by bus…Read More
At the beginning of April 2004 I spent 24 hours in Naples, I‘d like to show you what I saw. I stayed in a hotel in the historical centre, the description on the net said, ‘easily reachable by underground (Metropolitana) Montesanto station or by bus direction Corso Umberto‘. Ha!, says I, nonsense, nothing is easily reachable in Naples that isn‘t situated directly beside an underground station. There are only two lines in the whole city and they do not cross the historical centre. I left my luggage in the station and only took my night things in a rucksack with me and went by underground to Montesanto station as advised. After getting to the surface I found myself in the middle of a street market; whatever you think of street life in Naples is right, rows of stalls with clothes, shoes, music cassettes, fruit and vegetables, fish and octopus, you name it. After about 20 minutes I reached the Piazza Gesù Nuovo (there‘s a tourist information office on the place) with the church of the same name, built at the end of the 16th century and integrated into the row of buildings to the right and left as so many churches are in Naples. Its façade looks a bit like a fortress with its big slabs of grey rock, but it‘s baroque inside, overwhelmingly so, with rich gold and red ornaments everywhere, a multi-coloured marble floor and huge paintings on the walls. Difficult to concentrate on the service with so much to look at! When I stepped in I heard heavenly music, a group of young musicians was practising, a welcome I appreciated.Some 50 m to the right and I was on the Piazza San Domenico Maggiore, (another church there and a pretty coffee bar with tables outside and the most delicious pastries, unfortunately the place is the meeting point of lowlife scum at night) where I found my hotel on the first floor of an enormous palace. Looking out of the reception hall across the inner courtyard I saw a workshop with men making mandolins, very typical, the centre of Naples is full of workshops and small factories. I was in the heart of the old city, but I decided to leave its exploration for the evening, first I wanted to see another part.I went back to Piazza Gesù Nuovo and stayed on the street passing it which leads to Via Toledo (take a left turn), a minor version of Oxford Street in London with big department stores on either side but also tables with knick knack on the pavement sold mainly by Chinese and African vendors. After approximately 500 metres there is the famous Galleria Umberto I on the left side of the street, constructed at the end of the 19th century, a three-storey high shopping arcade covered in glass with a showy 57.5 m high cupola and a richly decorated circular hall underneath. It was built after the one in Milan but doesn‘t reach its splendour and elegance if you ask me, the Neapolitan version is a bit shabby (in this respect it mirrors the city).So on to the Piazza del Plebiscito and the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace). If you‘ve never seen a Royal Palace you should certainly go in, but I was there in 1965 and doubt that it has changed much, besides I‘ve seen other Royal Palaces elsewhere, so I skipped it.After crossing the piazza I found a garden/tiny park looking out onto the bay and the Vesuvio, at last! The top of the volcano was covered in clouds, though; I would have been very disappointed had that been my first and only visit, but I‘ve already been up twice, quite impressive to look into a fuming crater!Dusk was setting in when I walked back. To the left of Via Toledo there are the (in)famous Spanish Quarters, two-storey houses built in the 16th century for the Spanish soldiers when Naples was under Spanish rule. In summer it‘s cool in the narrow alleyways, when it‘s too hot to stay inside life takes place outside, washing lines cross the street, housewives lower a basket with money inside when the street vendors come with their goods. I looked into an open door, saw a tiny room with a big bed, two chairs, a sideboard with a telly on it and a woman watching TV, didn‘t look very romantic to me. Poverty rules here, unemployment is more common than employment, it‘s here that the people live who sell smuggled ciggies on the black market and where brand goods are faked. I wandered aimlessly through the maze of streets, once I came to a kind of half-open court yard with a fountain, decorated with garlands of bright plastic flowers and a statue of Maria and Jesus, the whole scene illuminated by flashing light bulbs. It was by now pitch dark, wasn‘t I afraid? No, I was not, the tourist season hadn‘t begun yet, the crooks seemed to still be hibernating. Ignorance is bliss! My husband told me later that only some days before a young woman had been killed in one of those streets when two thugs of the Camorra (the Neapolitan Mafia) decided to have a shoot out in the street and a stray bullet hit her.I was hungry, I had only had some pastry in a bar around noon, so I walked to the Antica Pizzeria Da Michele in Via Cesare Sersale 1 (easy to find coming out of the train station and going down Corso Umberto, right turn at the first traffic lights). The restaurant still has its original tables from the 1800‘s, it‘s very simple furniture-wise, but arguably the best pizzeria, Neapolitans and foreigners queue outside. I was early, didn‘t have to wait, the perfect pizza needs only 3 1/2 minutes, so I was quickly satisfied. They only serve classic pizzas like margherita (mozzarella and tomato) and marinara (mozzarella and garlic), a pizza and a small beer cost 5 Euro, when you leave you‘re spoilt for life and know that you can only have second best wherever you are in the world!Back to the quarter where my hotel was, oh my feet! and cobblestones everywhere. The artery of the historical centre is the long street (really two streets with different names, but they appear like one) in whose middle the Piazza Gesù Nuovo with the baroque church is, called Spaccanapoli in dialect (split Naples [into two parts]), narrow and flanked by high houses giving it a gloomy atmosphere with restaurants or shops (open until late evening) selling either food or souvenirs which often are produced on the premises. The most famous street is a small one to the left, San Gregorio Armeno, where each house has a workshop producing and selling statues of saints and Nativity scenes. Tourists can enter and watch the craftspeople work, look attentively, often the shepherds have the faces of politicians, footie or pop stars! The following morning I visited the Chapel Sansevero just around the corner from my hotel (open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed on Tuesday, sorry, have forgotten the price of the ticket). It was built at the end of the 16th century in the baroque style but is not as pompous as the church Gesù Nuovo, it is small, just one big room with perfect proportions. Art lovers from all over the world go there to admire the wonderful marble statues, in the middle of the room lies a more than life-size statue of Christ covered with a veil, a female statue, not a religious character, standing to the left of the altar is also veiled, but the veil is made of marble, it is so fine, from a distance it looks like a silk cloth. My fingers itched, I wanted to touch the statues, also the one standing to the right, a male figure covered by a loose net, the loops about 5cm long, made of marble, incredible, the two guards don‘t stand there for nothing! This chapel alone is worth a visit.A bit down the street from the church Gesù Nuovo is another jewel, the church Sant‘Anna dei Lombardi. It‘s really a museum with the most stunning Renaissance artefacts, wooden inlays, marble reliefs, a free standing Pietà group, to name but a few, if you have a feeling for these things, you‘ll realise that not much can surpass this in our part of the world.I could easily have filled the rest of the day, although I had also seen the Archeological Museum during my first visit I‘d have liked to see it again, it houses the finds from Pompej and Hercolano among other fine things. I would also have liked to do a tour through Underground Naples which I haven‘t seen yet, there is an enormous cave system which has been used by the inhabitants for more than 2000 years (Naples was founded by the Greeks), but my time was up. Maybe next time! Close
Written by Taylor252 on 13 Aug, 2003
Herculaneum had a college! One of the last buildings in the excavated area before modern day Herculaneum begins is the Imperial College or College of the Augustans as its sometimes called. In this area, there is evidence that the roads…Read More
Herculaneum had a college! One of the last buildings in the excavated area before modern day Herculaneum begins is the Imperial College or College of the Augustans as its sometimes called. In this area, there is evidence that the roads were restricted to pedestrian traffic. Close by is the basilica or judgment seat and the Forum (which is mostly still unexcavated) is also right around the corner. All these areas together would have comprised the heart of the city and it is a shame that excavations are not ongoing. The modern day Herculaneum people who own the homes close by wish to keep their homes!
The Imperial College has one of the largest rooms in the city. The ceiling of this room is supported by four strong columns. All around the room are beautiful and detailed paintings most of which are surrounded by red paint. One of these paintings is of Hercules with Minerva and Juno. Another is of Neptune with Aimone and Amphitrite. There are charioteers and dancers in pictures as well. One wonders how the students studied in such distracting areas.
Our guide who who leading us through the city told us to go on in this building while he held the door open. We were stopped cold by the incredible walls. Our guide chuckled to himself as he knew what we would find in there and I think he enjoyed our surprised Oooos and Ahhhhs! We had only allocated a morning for Herculaneum and that simply was not enough time. We''re going back in Oct. of 2003 for an entire day at Herculaneum and that is the amount of time I would recommend if you can spare it. This is an amazing archeological treasure that gets passed over for it''s more famous sister city in destruction Pompeii, and that is unfortunate. Herculaneum contains treasures unlike anywhere else.
Written by JulieHolm on 28 Sep, 2004
We entered the church quietly because some kind of event to pray for world peace was going on. I wanted pictures, but was hesitant to take them in a church that was being actively used at the time. A few people were praying and saying…Read More
We entered the church quietly because some kind of event to pray for world peace was going on. I wanted pictures, but was hesitant to take them in a church that was being actively used at the time. A few people were praying and saying the rosary, there was a priest saying confessions in the reconciliation chapel. I asked Mark to take picture with the digital camera, because he can do so without making any noise, whereas mine makes a pronounced click.
The church is beautiful. You enter through beautifully carved wooden doors, past all the informational things on modern racks and posted. This church does not have an entry way or Narthex you enter directly into the Sanctuary. The main altar is old, and was covered with flowers and candles (unfortunately electric). It rises to the ceiling, with the building continuing behind it a little ways. There are two side chapels on the left, a reconciliation chapel, which we did not enter, because the priest was saying confessions there, and a holy sacrament chapel with a very bloody rendition of a dead Christ in a little alcove in the wall. Along the walls were another six altars, two on the side with the chapels and 4 on the other side. All were dedicated to someone or given by someone and I searched these for mentions of the Troisi family, to no avail.
This was a very moving experience for me, much more than I expected, to be in the church of my ancestors. I felt like there was some kind of a connection to the past. Lighting a candle for my mother, who I remember numerous times in her life lighting candles for her parents and for others she cared about, living or dead, and saying a prayer, felt like she, and her father and Troisis back generations were watching. It was being somehow connected to the spiritual heart of my family. All I could find of their life here, all I knew of the in Solofra was this church, which the Troisi family had supported for generations; indeed there had been, in my grandfather's childhood, an endowment so that a member of the Troisi family in every generation could be a priest. Our family has a tradition, therefore, from as far past as we can remember, of being deeply involved in their churches, and of those churches being the center of their lives. It's a tradition I am glad to try to uphold!
I lit a candle for Mom, and after thoroughly checking out the church, we went outside. There we found a big marble panel to memorialize Carmine Troisi, right out side on the facade of the church (or possibly actually the monastery.) This was very cool. I continued to walk around the church to see if there was a nearby graveyard, which there did not seem to be one of, so I walked across the street to get a better picture of the church.
On the outside of the church, a plaque commemorated Carmine Troisi. There have been 2 canons since him.
After visiting the Ducal Palace, we ran into a man at a bus stop who invited us back to the church.
We were standing with him beside the marble memorial to Carmine Troisi, and Mark managed to communicate that we were interested in Carmine Troisi. Eventually, with my Italian dictionary and my copy of Domenic's story we were able to explain that we were from the Carmine Troisi family. This guy became even more enthusiastic. He led us back into the church, and we paused while a short service, related to their peace weekend or whatever (it may have been a novena, since it had public events planned for this Saturday and Sunday and the next Sunday) finished. Then he led us around the church explaining stuff as we went. We found out that the statue with the wound on his leg was St. Rock (sp?) We saw St. Anthony and St. Felipe, and St. Giovanni. He showed us the relics, which I had seen before. However on the wall there is a marble relief of a man in a casket. He identified this as Carmine Troisi. He spoke to someone briefly, and as he did so I drew a little family tree, so I could show him how I fit into the Troisi family, using my Italian-English dictionary.
A statue in the side of the wall was presented as being Carmine Troisi. Since he is buried elsewhere, I assume this is just an effigy.
He asked permission and took us to the vesting chamber for the priests, and on the way to it he showed us marble plaques on the floor, and after much confusion back and forth we came to understand that the sacerdotes/canonicos were buried under those marble slabs; including Carmine Troisi. We took pictures of all and then into the monastery proper, which appears to be now used as a school. There were some teenagers there, and he explained excitedly who we were, as the teenagers, like teenagers anywhere gave us a kind of big deal look, but they were friendly.
He showed us the places in the wall where the (presumably cloistered) monks could talk to visitors. There was also a place in the wall, a small door opening into a small space, maybe 18 inches by 3 feet by a foot deep) where their food could be placed, without them coming into contact with regular people.
After returning back through the vesting room (which also had frescos by the same artist who did the ceiling in the church itself, Guarino) (this is if I remember correctly, when he showed us the place of internment for the Sacerdotes) he then took us to the choir loft, which is behind the altar. We had to genuflect and then walk up around the altar (or rather both altars, the more modern, post Vatican II one, and the old one that my great-grandparents were no doubt married at) we entered the choir section (essentially a separate room. Clearly the effect on the people attending mass would be amazing; the music would seem to come out of nowhere, but for the choir members, it was like not being in the church.
We got an unusual look into the Sacristy at San Michele. Carmine Troisi is buried near here.
There was, however a lovely fresco here. and the gentleman told us (I think) that the collegiate church used to be associated with a school of some sort and that the choir was full of fine musicians. (pointing to the seats he said "Maestro, maestro, maestro" at three successive seats, indicating this.
As time for our train back to Naples approached, we excused ourselves and left, but not without a memory that will last forever.
If you are heading for Italy and you just stay in the big cities (Rome, Naples, Florence, Milan, Venice) and the touristy places, you will miss a lot. Visit a small town if you can.
We visited the city of Solofra, because my grandfather's parents…Read More
If you are heading for Italy and you just stay in the big cities (Rome, Naples, Florence, Milan, Venice) and the touristy places, you will miss a lot. Visit a small town if you can.
We visited the city of Solofra, because my grandfather's parents had met there, and his "Uncle Canon" Carmine Troisi was one of the town's "Illuminati."
We had a troublesome train trip there, missing connections and all, but were helped greatly by the conductors (who all wear green jackets.)
We rode the train through the most beautiful and fascinating mountain geography. When I get home I will have research it a bit. The mountains were unlike any I had ever seen, lush, but sharply folded. In the evening with the setting sun on them they were lovely. and they often had fortresses on the top. It was great.
Now is a good time to note that every person we asked about Solofra asked us to repeat it, or gave us a look like "What on earth do American Tourists want with Solofra?" They don't get many.
Solofra, Campania, Italy
Now the visit. This was an extraordinary experience for me so I will try to cover it in detail. First my goals. I had two goals here. The one landmark I knew about was the Church of Michael the Archangel, where my great grandparents were married. The second was to try to find a cemetery and find Troisi graves for Lisa. I will say that I failed utterly in the second aim; there was no cemetery in sight, and my Italian was not up to asking about it. But in the first goal we succeeded tremendously.
The train station in Solofra is run down, to the point of looking abandoned. The sign is torn off, and it looks like it has not been maintained for years. Don't ask me why, the town could not be more lovely. It's set in a broad valley between a number of smallish mountains of this eccentric folded variety. We exited the station to the left, since that way headed downhill, and it was clear we needed to be down on the other side of the tracks. I had glimpsed what looked like the church from the train window, based on a picture I had gotten from their home page on the Internet. The tracks follow a grading along the hilltops. We went down the hill and sure enough we went under the tracks. No sidewalk here so we went carefully. It's one car narrow, and we'd seen enough of Italian driving to make us very cautious. Upon coming out the other side (short tunnel) we followed the same road for a few blocks until we came to a crossroad that pointed us to Solofra Centro. We headed in that direction.
Just about at the point that I was getting worried that I might be going the wrong way (Mark was not worried, he knew where I thought I had seen the church and thought we were going in the right direction, there it was in glorious view. )San Michele is white, and has a shape in the front like those mission churches in the southwest, although somewhat more decorated on the outside. There is a square bell tower and on the other side a yellow monastery. I knew that our connection here, besides the marriage of my great-grandparents, was Carmine Troisi, so I was looking for information on him specifically.
We next visited the Church of San Michele in Solofra. I have reported on our two visits to the church of San Michele in a separate report. Look for San Michele, Solofra.
Upon leaving the church, we were met by a policeman who directed us to the large building across the street, which had been a palace of the Orsino family, a duke who ran the town. It is now some kind of government building. The policeman was very happy to see American Tourists, and told us a lot (in rapid fire Italian) about the duke. There is a little more on the duke on the Solofra web site.
After spending about 15 to 20 minutes appreciating the ducal palace, we continued on, deciding to return to the station for the 5:30 Train. We crossed the street where we were greeted by an Italian man. He was a very Italian looking man, with dark wavy hair, a bit taller than I. He started talking about the church (again in Italian) telling us about the frescos on the ceiling, which were done by a single artist, who he named (the name is on the videotape.). He led us back toward the church and we paused as he explained about the church (San Michele) and the monastery next door (Santa Chiara).
Again we visited the church, which is detailed in a separate entry. After this second visit we needed to say farewell, and head back to Naples at the end of a wonderful day.
Written by cheryl morris on 19 Nov, 2000
Here is what you need to know about Naples before you go:
1: Maradonna is a God to the people of this city. Their home football team has never been so victorious and glorious as it was in its Diego M. heyday.
2: Mozzarella should come from…Read More
Here is what you need to know about Naples before you go:
1: Maradonna is a God to the people of this city. Their home football team has never been so victorious and glorious as it was in its Diego M. heyday.
2: Mozzarella should come from buffalos. NOT cows. Taste the difference and you'll never go back to that chewy, rubbery cow stuff.
3: Naples is a good starting point for travelling to Pompeii, Sorrento, the Almalfi Coast and the islands. Just take the Circumvesuviana trains, from the main train station. It's super cheap (about 2 dollars to Pompeii) and easy.
4: Neapolitan culture is alive and well. Tourists must not expect the same kind of Americanization that is so predominant in the north of the country. There is no Disney shop. Few people speak English. Traffic laws are generally ignored. Signs are in Italian. Napolitans do things their way, which they generally regard as the best way and are very proud of it. Bless them!
5: Naples is relatively poor, but it is not cheap.
6: Violent crime is rare, but petty theft is not. Watch yourself and your belongings. Be alert at all times, not just for theft, but for rebellious scooter drivers on the sidewalks.
7: Naples is rich in history. Brush up on it before you go to make your stay all the richer.
Written by pointofnoreturn on 28 Aug, 2007
If you're planning a day trip from Rome to Naples and intend to visit both Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii (or Herculaneum) and you're not sure how to plan out your itinerary, you can use this as a guide. TRAINS:The best way to get to Naples…Read More
If you're planning a day trip from Rome to Naples and intend to visit both Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii (or Herculaneum) and you're not sure how to plan out your itinerary, you can use this as a guide. TRAINS:The best way to get to Naples is by train (Trenitalia) and you should leave as early in the morning as possible to get a good start on the day. There are several different types of trains that go to Naples (i.e. Regional, Intercity, A/V 2-for-1, Eurostar, etc) and each of them have a certain price range. We were travel on a budget so opt for the cheapest train possible (Regional, 2-1/2 hours) which cost us €10-11 each way which is not too bad. Of course, we left on an early train (approx. 6:30am) which got us into Naples around 9am. If you're planning to do a full day in Naples, try to ensure that you arrive between 8 and 10am otherwise you're wasting half a day.PLANNING THE ITINERARY (MT. VESUVIUS + POMPEII, ETC):A good way itinerary is to plan it like this: Train to Naples --> Circumvesuviana to Ercolano Scavi --> Visit Mt. Vesuvius --> Circumvesuviana to Pompeii Scavi --> Visit Pompeii --> Circumvesuviana to Naples --> Train to RomeYou may have to jiggle the itinerary a bit if you want to fit in Herculaneum or switch Pompeii for Herculaneum, whatever your preference it. CIRCUMVESUVIANA TRAIN:This train system is a private network serving Naples and the outlying cities. It is often very crowded and jam-packed with people. You MUST be aware of your belongings because there has been many cases of pickpocketing on the train cars. It is a relatively simple system and there are route maps inside the train and also signs on each station so you know which stop you're at. The fares aren't the same for every destination. Tell the ticket agent where you want to go (i.e. Naples Centrale to Ercolano Scavi) and he will give you a ticket which you must keep with you at all times. There is also ticket agents at Ercolano and Pompeii as well. IMPORTANT - GOING TO MT. VESUVIUS:There are two ways to get to Vesuvius: Bus and Taxi. For the bus, from Ercolano Scavi, the bus departs at 8:45am and 12:45pm and costs €7.60 round-trip. However if take the bus from Pompeii Scavi, the bus leaves every half hour from 9:30-10:30, and hourly beginning at 11:25am and costs €8.60. There is a taxi/shuttle service outside the Ercolano station that is quick and easy and costs €10 round-trip but you must also pay €6.50 ahead of time for entry to the crater. Both bus and taxi will take you to the 1,000 ft mark from which you must proceed on your own from there. The taxis leave more frequently than the bus so that way if you miss the bus, you can opt for a taxi. POMPEII THEN NAPLES THEN ROME:We explored Pompeii (free, Culture Week) after Vesuvius and we weren't too tired. Since it was extremely hot that day, we only spent 2-3 hours roaming the site. After that, we walked back to Pompeii Scavi and bought tickets back to Naples from which we boarded the train to Rome. We must have gotten back to Rome around 9:30pm so it was quite a long but eventful day. TIPS:Naples is very gritty and certain parts of it is run-down. The drivers of the taxis are often rude and gruff. Taxis are first come, first serve. If you are standing in line, don't be surprised if he accepts money from someone behind you and takes them on the taxi instead of you. Pay immediately and you are guaranteed a seat. This was a frustrating experience we had and we definitely learned that we shouldn't dilly-dally with these people. When visiting Pompeii, keep in mind that most of it is exposed to the unforgiving sun. Keep hydrated and wear lots of sunscreen to protect yourself. Many people say that they preferred Herculaneum to Pompeii for its size and better preserved items. Since we didn't visit Herculaneum, I have no opinion really but it would have been interesting to try to fit in all three in one day. Naples is a pickpocket's heaven. There WILL be pickpockets at the train stations, on the train, at the bus stations, wherever you go. Do not bring lots of money with you and never open your belongings in public. Keep it secure and watch for suspicious behaviour. Aside from that, Naples is actually pleasant and has a rich culture and history. Close
Written by fizzytom on 11 May, 2007
The main reason for our day trip to Sorrento was to spend some time on the beach. Naples itself has a couple of beaches but they are neither comfortable nor very pleasant. This area of the Italian coast has very few sandy beaches and the…Read More
The main reason for our day trip to Sorrento was to spend some time on the beach. Naples itself has a couple of beaches but they are neither comfortable nor very pleasant. This area of the Italian coast has very few sandy beaches and the majority of those that are, are privately owned and those that are open to the public demand a hefty admission fee. Armed with this information, we headed for area that we had heard had several small lidos, where, for a modest charge, we could rent a bed and enjoy relative quiet.The town of Sorrento is situated on a high cliff top and so you need to either walk down a long winding path or use the lift to get to the water level at Marina Piccolo. The lift costs about 1 euro. We walked down and promised ourselves we would use the lift to go back up. At the bottom there are several options. You can join the hoards of Italian teenagers who crowd onto a tiny patch of concrete with a towel being the only concession to comfort; this is free but has its obvious disadvantages.Then again you could sit on a small sandy area that is overrun with families; also free but I don't find being surrounded by noisy children very relaxing. The other option is to use one of the lidos (and there are two). For us there really was no choice. We paid 7 euro each and headed for the furtherest part of the jetty and settled down. The jetty made up two sides of a square with the beach as the third and the fourth side opened out onto the sea. Some people were taking small boats out onto the open sea but I wouldn't recommend this since the ferry and hydrofoil terminal is close by; I certainly wouldn't recommend that swimmers stray out of this area either. The passengers vessels arrive and depart with regularity throughout the day and while you can hear their engines it proved to be less of a disturbance than I originally envisaged.There are secure steps from the jetty into the water which means that you don't have to walk all the way round to the beach and pick your way through the people there to get into the water. The water is fairly clean though by no means the best I've ever seen. Occasional pieces of litter from the beach get into the sea. I also thought there was a need for more litter bins at the exit of the beach.If swimming has worked up an appetite or you simply need a cool drink, there's a reasonably priced café serving both alcoholic and soft drinks and food ranging from sandwiches to pizza and pasta dishes. You can sit on the terrace in front of the café or take the food away with you. We enjoyed an excellent pasta dish and an wonderful aubergine bake along with some cold beers. There are toilets here for customers and non-customers alike.After a day swimming and sunning ourselves we packed up and headed for the lift. To come to it we had to walk along the most foul smelling tunnel that was clearly being used by some as a toilet. We didn't bother waiting for the lift.The set up is not perfect and some may not like the idea of having to pay - but think about it, you'd pay for a sun-bed anyway at most resorts. While most of the hotels have their own pool that is convenient to use the only other decent option remains paying to use a lido. Close