Beautiful Naples: It is really a sheep in wolf’s clothing

I am excited about this post because Italy is one of my favorite countries – I have been in Italy three times and have visited more than 20 cities, and still I know that it’s definitely not enough. There is so much to share about Italy, so it may seem challenging to choose which city to feature first. But it didn’t actually take me long to decide to select Naples, or as locals call it, Napoli.

Why Naples? Because it is a city preceded by its reputation, and I was happy to be disproven during my visit. Naples is known to everyone as a city with rough edges -rampant crimes, harsh people, dirty city, and the list goes on and on. And no one is really aware what’s there to see in Naples. Some people just happen to transit on the way to Sorrento or the Amalfi coast. Admittedly, that is the reason I passed by, but unlike most, I spent a couple of days just lingering around the city.

So how was I proven wrong? After a brief 4 hour fast train ride from Milan, I was amazed by Naples in so many ways. Here are some tips to enjoy your stay:

1. Visit the amazing historical sights

Though Naples do not have the same number of historical sights compared to other cities in Italy (but hey, that is tough competition!), it does have beautiful and unique sights. My favorite is the Church of Santa Chiara. Built in the 14th century, it is a complex consisting of a church, monastery, and one of the most beautiful cloisters I’ve ever seen. The posts are decorated with beautiful tiles!

Beautifully tiled posts in Santa Chiara

Beautifully tiled posts in Santa Chiara

Ornate paintings in the cloister

Ornate paintings in the cloister

Beautifully tiled benches. Doesn't this remind you of Plaza de Espana in Sevilla?

Beautifully tiled benches. Doesn’t this remind you of Plaza de Espana in Sevilla?

Relaxing in the cloister

Relaxing in the cloister

Another highlight is the Naples Cathedral. It is called by several names, Duomo di Napoli, Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta or Cattedrale di San Gennaro. It is the main church in Naples.

Naples Cathedral

Naples Cathedral

Inside the cathedral

Inside the cathedral

Ornate ceiling

Ornate ceiling

Beautiful dome

Beautiful dome

Naples, just like most cities in Italy, also has its own Palazzo Real, or Royal Palace. The rooms, as always, are adorned with beautiful decorations and artwork.

Outside the Royal Palace

Throne Room

Throne Room

Queen's room

Queen’s room

First Antechamber

First Antechamber

2. Admire the breaktaking views

Being situated by the coast has its perks. Naples boasts of stunning views.

Stunning views!

Stunning views!

Another view

Another view

3. Go there with an open mind and clear your head of preconceptions

It is a reality that Italians from other regions don’t think highly of people from Naples. But I I think the reason why this is blown out of proportion is Southern Italians are always depicted as mafia lords in movies. Hence we associate their looks to crimes and lack of peace and order. However, I challenge you to be your own judge, and not be influenced by what other people say.

To share how perceptions can be really biased, let me share a hilarious dialogue between me and my best friend about the mafias before I convinced her to join me on my second trip to Italy.

Me: Hey, when are we finally going to Italy?

BFF: I’d love to go, but I am really concerned about the mafias over there. I heard the crime rate is really high.

Me: Look, we live in Manila, we are trained with the basics of avoiding the unnecessary. Come on, we always talk about it, so we should finally go!

BFF: Yeah, but I am very, very afraid of the mafias. We might get kidnapped!!! (Context, kidnapping used to be rampant in Manila, hence the paranoia).

Me: Sigh. I know your family’s rich and all, but believe me, the Italian mafias are of a different scale. I don’t think they have heard of your father.

BFF: Okay. But the mafias are not just about the money. (Daphne to self: “Ummm… Yeah…”) They are also attracted by looks!!! They are always on the lookout for mistresses! (Daphne to self: “OMG, are you serious?!?)

Me: Okay, I know you may think our exotic Asian looks would attract the mafias, but believe me, even the minions of their minions (or in Filipino, chimay ng chimay) will not even be slightly interested to make us their mistresses! We are farrrr from their radar 😛

Just for the record, until today, she refuses to admit this actually happened, and she claims this is just the creation of my imagination!

4. Eat pizza !!!

People who have been to Naples swear that they have the best pizza in Italy. And I agree! I chose to go to Da Michele of Eat, Pray, Love fame. And for me, it is one of the two best pizzas I had in my life. It is really really popular with locals, and located in a non-touristy area, so you know you are having the real thing! And their menu is short and sweet. Pizza Margherita or Marinara, and water or Coke. But you don’t need anything else anyway.

Queue outside Da Michele

Queue outside Da Michele

The crew with Julia Roberts!

The crew with Julia Roberts!

Crew at work

Crew at work

Pizza Margherita - why mar the purity of the taste with toppings if you have the freshest Italian tomatoes and buffalo cheese!

Pizza Margherita – why mar the purity of the taste with toppings if you have the freshest Italian tomatoes and buffalo cheese!

5. Take necessary precautions

Just like in any major city, I bet petty crimes are common. If you’re traveling alone or traveling without guys, I suggest not lingering at night. And book a hotel in a safe area. I booked a hotel near the main street, where there is a lot of foot traffic, and walking distance to the train station. Other than that, Naples is pretty safe!

6. Use Naples as the jumping point for other amazing destinations

Naples is convenient. It is a main airport and train hub, and it is the gateway to the fantastic southern coast. I’ve been to Sorrento, Capri, Positano, Ravello, and Amalfi. They’re breathtaking! I won’t go into detail on these cities, they deserve a separate post 🙂

So, Naples is not that scary after all, is it? 🙂

Beautiful coast

Beautiful coast

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One Comment on “Beautiful Naples: It is really a sheep in wolf’s clothing”


  1. […] got there from Naples. See my previous post here. It is a short 1 hour ride to Positano. Do a bit of Naples before visiting the Amalfi coast. And […]


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