Andrew and I started our weeklong babymoon to Italy with two nights in Naples. When doing my research before the trip, I read a lot of negative articles about Naples—literally if you Google “Naples, Italy,” the second article to come up is entitled “Why No One Wants to Travel to Naples.” The main complaints were that the city has issues with trash collection, has mafia connections that contributed to crime, and that pickpockets are common. But I also went out of my way to look for articles on why one should visit Naples, and ultimately felt that the negatives I was reading about were probably (1) exaggerated and (2) did not outweigh the positives.
Here are our reasons for visiting Naples: (1) It’s is the birthplace of pizza and the best place in Italy to enjoy it. (2) It’s the perfect home base for visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum, two historic sites that were definitely on our list for this trip. And (3), its Archeologic Museum houses many of the treasures of Pompeii—you know, the things that can’t be exposed to the elements at the actual historic site.
We actually didn’t end up having time to visit the museum, one thing that I regret missing on our trip, but we were able to sample Neapolitan pizza and hospitality. We loved our hotel in Naples and would highly recommend it. We stayed at UNA Hotel Napoli in a corner room that had two balconies overlooking the city. The room was incredibly spacious, with a huge luxurious bathroom, separate dressing area, and turret-spaced bedroom opening onto the balconies. The hotel also had a rooftop restaurant and bar where breakfast was served each morning—a great way to start the day. It is located right across from the train station, which is a plus and minus: convenient if you are traveling by train, but also a crowded area. The location is walkable to many of the sights in the city though, and we were ultimately very happy with our choice.
Two questions I know are on your mind. Was Naples dirty and crime-ridden? And just how good was the pizza?
To answer the first, we didn’t have any issues with crime. We found Naples to be just like any other big city in that respect—be careful and watchful of your belongings, but it is a friendly place to walk around and enjoy the sights. Most of the locals we met were very welcoming. One of our servers noticed I was pregnant and shared that his wife was also expecting—we discovered we were only about a month apart!
The city does has a trash issue. The garbage doesn’t seem to be collected every day, so it is often piled up on the street corners, and there is a lot of graffiti, which adds to the feeling that the city is gritty. But overall we didn’t feel this small detail took away from our visit. I actually like seeing some of the more artful graffiti!
And now, the pizza. I have to preface this by saying that Andrew and I live in New York City. As such, we have been exposed to a lot of high-quality pizza. How did we think the pizza in Naples stacked up? Well, we loved the crust—the dough has a robust chewiness and a smokiness from the ubiquitous wood-fire ovens. Will I award it “the best pizza we’ve ever had?” I can’t, but it was certainly quite delicious! Our favorite pie was at Antica Pizzeria I Decumani.