Where to stay: There is an absolutely fabulous hostel in Naples that I really think everyone should stay in. I don’t often recommend one specific place for accommodation, but this one deserves it. It’s called Giovanni’s Home, and it’s run by a wonderful Italian man named (you guessed it), Giovanni! Giovanni drives a red vespa, plays the guitar and harmonica for his guests, and often cooks up a traditional pasta dinner for all of the guests one night during your stay. The hostel itself is in a good location, it has a terrace, and the atmosphere is fantastic. Giovanni took the time to sit down with us on our first night at the hostel and outlined the entire city- where we should and shouldn’t go, where the best pizza was, etc. It was absolutely fantastic to have such insider knowledge while we explored the city.
Where to eat: PIZZA! I expect that you eat nothing but delicious pizza while you’re in Naples, and I won’t judge if you need to buy pizza pants… But really, Naples is world famous for being the birth place of Italian pizza, and there are some seriously incredible spots to indulge. I would actually recommend steering away from the Eat, Pray, Love pizza shop (L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele) simply because of how touristy it is now from those making their Eat, Pray, Love pilgrimages. Head down a side street near Giovanni’s (or better yet, ask Giovanni, he’s got the hook-up), and you’ll find the best pizza in the world. I’m not even kidding. I really have no non-pizza related recommendations, you just really need to experience the pizza.
What to do: Naples is such an incredibly underrated city, I still don’t understand why more people don’t visit! It’s right near the Amalfi Coast, so in the summer you have infinite opportunities to visit some truly incredible beaches. Even if you’re not there in the summer, I would recommend a trip to Capri. There are boats from Naples, and it’s an absolutely gorgeous little island that’s fun to explore for a day. Naples is also famously home (or next to) Pompeii, and this is certainly worth a visit. Nearby there is another archeological site called Herculaneum, which is much less touristy than Pompeii, but is a very similar place to visit. If you’re super interested in this history then you might visit both, but otherwise you probably don’t need to. You may also want to try hiking Mt. Vesuvius if you have the opportunity and are looking for good views of the volcano and surrounding areas. In Naples proper, you should try to visit the Catacombs under the city. The tours are a super interesting way to hear some of the history of Naples and to see the city from a much different perspective! I also recommend spending some time getting lost in Naples. It’s a really beautiful city in the way that it isn’t perfect, and it feels truly authentic Italian with laundry hanging on lines between buildings and pasta drying in the streets. Enjoy the beautiful culture surrounding you!
Overall Opinion: Naples is one of my absolute favorite cities in Italy (so far)! I think it’s highly underrated, and is given an unfairly negative reputation. Just like any other city, as long as you’re aware of where you are and who is around you, Naples is a perfectly safe city to explore. One of the best things about Naples is how easy it is to explore the surrounding area with Naples as a home base, and how relatively inexpensive Naples is when compared to other big cities in Italy (like Rome or Florence). If you’re looking to explore a much less touristy city in Italy, want to eat good pizza, and experience authentically Italian culture, Naples is the place for you! (And make sure you say hi to Giovanni for me!)