19/05/2018

TRAVEL | A Travel Guide to Naples and Pompeii, Italy


This is a long one, but if you ever visit Naples, you need to be prepared. Trust me.

If you've been following me for a while, you'll know I love Italy and I go there whenever I have a chance. Some weeks ago I shared with you my daytrip to Positano. Today, let me share about my experience in Naples, which was our base during the trip. I went to there with two of my very good friends - we've travelled around together before, and went to Sicily a couple years ago which we loved.

This year, we settled for Naples, a historic city south of Rome, with plans of visiting the infamous Pompeii and its volcano, the Vesuvius. This post will be a long one since there's a lot to say and I've gathered so much advice to share.
Before I start with my tips and tricks, I need to write a little disclaimer: Naples is a messy city. It's chaotic, raw, loud, there is smoke in the air and motorcycles will probably almost knock you over if you're not careful. Naples is not a destination for everyone - in fact, I think it's actually a destination that only very few people would thoroughly enjoy. Personally, I felt very unsafe on the first day we arrived, but after having a couple days to adapt, I felt much better and more comfortable walking around the city. At any rate though, if you plan a visit to Naples, make sure you don't take valuable belongings with you and try to avoid the 'tourist look' - in some parts of town, Neapolitans will single you out straight away and you will get looks and stares.


The main thing I was excited for about going to Naples was visiting Pompeii, which I already went to seven years ago (time flies!) and absolutely loved. 

POMPEII, THE MUST-SEE
Do I even need to introduce Pompeii? The vast, impressive Roman settlement was frozen in time following the eruption of the Vesuvius in 79 AD, and left to us are the remains of beautiful, complex buildings, mosaics, paintings, statues - and of course corpses - that give us a glimpse into the lives that the people of Pompeii, rich and poor, led. I strongly advise that if you are in the area, you visit Pompeii - if you're not familiar with its history, you should 100% get an audio guide or a guide who will talk you through the most important points to know about the city. The site is incredibly large, so make sure to arrive early and you will probably spend the day there. You can take food with you, but there is a restaurant on site and a lot of public fountains with drinking water available. 
When you get there, your map in hand, the ancient town is yours to explore... Always with the terrible Vesuvius in sight.



Since Pompeii is such a big space - and is composed of a lot of bricks and semi-destroyed walls, I've put together a little list of the most interesting sights there, for those of you who want to go straight to the point and avoid random walking around:
- the Cave Canem ("beware of the dog") mosaic,
- examples of termopolia, which are basically antique fast food shops. Spot them by the counters in which round crates are built in - that's where the takeaway food was preserved for people to come in a buy. See, we haven't invented anything - name something, the Romans made it!
- the House of the Faun, with its beautiful impluvium and gardens,
- the Villa of the Mysteries, famous for its beautiful and intriguing painting which depicts a mysterious ritual,
- the House of the Vettii, for its wonderful, bright paintings,
- the House of the Small Fountain (Casa della Fontana Piccola), which as the name says houses a beautiful fountain covered in well-preserved, colourful mosaics.
I could go on forever about what to see in Pompeii, but my biggest advice would be to go there for yourself and spend time exploring the ruins, which seem surprisingly familiar and let History speak for itself.


How to get there: take the Circumvesuviana train line from the Garibaldi station, to the stop Pompeii - Villa dei Misteri. 
Tickets: 15€, half price if you are a EU national under 25 years old. Make sure to buy the tickets on site, don't get them through other ticket offices around the station.


NAPLES: MUSEUMS, PIAZZAS AND THE PORT
Naples feels very overwhelming, and its historic centre is full of narrow streets, churches which you're not too sure you can visit or not, but it also has its fair share of museums and interesting sights. Do not miss the Archaeological museum, which contains one of the most beautiful antique collections I've ever seen, from breathtaking statues to all the beautiful mosaics found in Pompeii, and preserved from rain and decay at the museum. There's also flying penises, if that's what you're into. Crazy how the Romans liked penises. (Never thought I'd ever write that sentence on my blog, but there you go!) I won't include any pictures of that though, and just leave that to your imagination...


The Palazzo Reale is also a beautiful palace to explore. It faces the stunning Piazza del Plebiscito, which is really worth exploring. The Palazzo contains the most beautiful hall and staircase I've ever seen. Even just for that, you should definitely go there.


If you fancy doing some shopping, walk along the Via Toledo, where you'll find Victoria's Secret, H&M, Zara, Lush and all the mainstream shops. While you're there, stop at Casa Infante and get gelato with their signature hazelnut and white chocolate or salted caramel sauce... Best ice cream I've ever had, and ridiculously cheap at 2,50€ for a medium cup. Also look out for the street of love, with its cute messages that will instantly make you smile.


Finally, for those beautiful views of the bay of Naples and the Vesuvius, head to Lungomare, on the west side of the city. It is a beautiful walk near the port, where you'll find lots of restaurants specialised in sea food, and amazing panoramic views on the bay. I would suggest you avoid the bars on the seafront - we had a really bad experience at Rosso Pommodoro, where we got served ridiculous (and disgusting) cocktails after waiting for thirty minutes even though the place wasn't crowded. Restaurants aren't the best feature of Naples I have to say - it is hard to find anything apart from pizza, so do venture into the little streets to find the right place.


From this trip to Naples, I come back with contradictory feelings: I have enjoyed the place, how authentic and raw it is, the glimpse into the real life of the inhabitants. But I would say that if you would like a laid back, safe and stress-free holiday, chaotic Naples is not for you. Let not the bad things prevent you from visiting though - there are some amazing sights and places to discover, and although I might not be going back any time soon, I do not regret stepping into this crazy whirlwind of a city.

Would you visit Naples? Do you want to see Pompeii one day?
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31 comments:

  1. Lovely guide, I can't wait to visit Italy one day :)

    Anika | anikamay.co.uk

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  2. Naples looks absolutely gorgeous, I hope to visit this place one day, it looks truly stunning.

    www.themakeupaficionado.com

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    1. It has definitely lots of beautiful sights, although I wish it was less chaotic haha! xx

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  3. I'd love to visit Pompeii because I'm all out on historical places.

    T H E Ä S T R O N
    InstagramTwitter

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  4. I would love to see Pompeii, your pictures are really great. The museums sound very interesting too, but I'm not sure about Naples. :)

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    1. Naples is a bit of a tricky place, you may not enjoy as such however it has its gems which are worth seeing once I think! xx

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  5. Ahhh I loved this so much!! I went exactly here this time last year and it was so fun seeing all the places I went through your lens, it really brought it back for me :D we visited Naples and Pompeii, Naples is definitely crazy and the roads are so difficult to cross, it was definitely an experience haha! I wish I got to see more of Pompeii, we only had a few hours to look around as it was a short trip but I found it fascinating :D we made a trip down to Sorrento too which was so nice as it was so hot! :D xx

    elizabeth ♡ ”Ice Cream” whispers Clara

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    1. Oh yes, roads are crazy! (Well, people on motorcycles are at least haha) You could easily spend entire days in Pompeii, it's such a rich and fascinating place! xx

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  6. I just can't get over how stunning the historic architecture is over there - somethings to see around every turn! You look lovely in the beige mac, perfect for exploring a city in :) Also, YUM to the ice cream haha, the food of summer! ;)

    aglassofice.com x

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    1. Exactly! You see a lot of poverty at every corner, but also lots of beautiful when you least expect it! I would say Naples is a city to explore with an open mind! That ice cream was heavenly, I still think about it sometimes and wish I could have one as good over here in the UK haha! xx

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  7. I'm glad your trip to Naples went well! I definitely agree about trying not to look like a tourist, but it's kinda hard when you're a 5'10" blonde haha! I do want to go back to visit Pompeii though!

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    1. Thanks Julia! Yes, they can definitely tell who's a tourist and who's not. Even when you try to make the effort and speak Italian with them! Next time you should maybe stay in a place around Naples to avoid what happened to you the day you went haha! xx

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  8. Looks like an amazing place! Great post
    xx
    Mademoiselle Coconath
    http://mllecoconath.com

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    1. I would say Naples has its little gems, definitely! xx

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  9. We've been talking a lot about going to these places during our interrail so this post just came on time for some inspiration :D Pompeii looks amazing!
    Have a beautiful day,
    xx

    Patricia & Miguel
    www.freeoversea.com

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    1. That's amazing, interrail must be so much fun! xx

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  10. I really need to go back to the Naples area - such a beautiful place with so much to see and do! :)

    Jasmine xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty

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    1. Oh you've been before? I hope you enjoyed it! xx

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  11. Naples is beautiful and I'm so glad you enjoyed your stay! Your posts always incite wanderlust in me! My ideal holiday is one packed with culture and history so I love experiencing that vicariously through your posts.

    Vintagonista Vintage

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    1. Holidays involved culture and history are the best and most memorable holidays! xx

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  12. Naples is my city... I've read your guide to know what tourists think about this city and I agree with you: it's messy and unsafe. But anyway has its charm and so many arts... it isn't the most beautiful city but the history is everywhere here :)
    xx Dasynka
    http://dasynka.com

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    1. I know that many people would not enjoy Naples, however whenever I travel I keep in mind that it's a different culture, different mindset and that everywhere we go will be different! Thanks for reading Daiana - what a lovely name! xx

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  13. i loved pompeii when i went with a school trip! i never actually stopped to napoli to visit but a collegue of mine just did and brought us back some insane mozzarellas!! soooo good!!

    xx from italy
    Cate ღ 35mm in Style

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    1. Haha yeah there are definitely some great things about visiting places in Italy - food! xx

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  14. This guide is so helpful! Your photos are gorgeous and I love all of the detail you went into too - thanks so much for sharing, this'll be so helpful if I ever get a chance to visit!!

    Heather xoxo
    https://www.hefafa.me.uk

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    1. Thank you Heather, I'm so glad you enjoyed! I hope you get to visit one day, it's a place that's one of a kind! xx

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  15. would love to visit naples one day ! i'm bookmarking your page
    xoxo
    style frontier

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    1. If you ever do visit, I hope you'll enjoy the city! xx

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  16. You got some beautiful shots! I really love this part of the world and this is making me want to go back!

    Jasmine xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty

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