Tuesday 23 January 2018

Naples: 24 hours in Italy's most surprising city

Italian Insider

Naples: winding streets with buzzing mopeds
Naples: winding streets with buzzing mopeds
Naples - home of pizza
The main stairs inside National Archaeological Museum in Naples.
Church of San Francesco di Paola of Piazza del Plebiscito, Naples

Conor Power

Our visitor maps out 24 hours in Italy's third-largest city, says Conor Power.

10am: Find your religion

The 10-minute walk between the Duomo (Naples Cathedral) and Cappella Sansevero takes you through narrow streets full of sing-song exclamations, buzzing mopeds and manic activity. In the cathedral, the blood of San Gennaro (St Januarius) is kept in a phial and miraculously liquefies thrice yearly. If not, disaster befalls the city. Also at the Sansevero Chapel is the hauntingly lifelike sculpture of the Veiled Christ.

How: Take Metro Line 2 from Piazza Garibaldi station

2pm: Afternoon Archaeology

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The main stairs inside National Archaeological Museum in Naples.

The Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli is simply unmissable. Despite a layout of gloriously jam-packed chaos, it has fabulously rewarding displays from Ancient Rome, such as the Farnese Bull on the ground floor. On the upper floor, you can see all the best artefacts from the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum just down the road, including the over-18s-only erotica of the twin cities' brothels and houses in the Gabinetto Segreto (secret room).

How: Metro Line 1 to Museo; museoarcheologiconapoli.it

5pm: Stately Seaside Stroll

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Church of San Francesco di Paola of Piazza del Plebiscito, Naples

The passeggiata, or evening stroll, is a great Italian tradition, and the half-hour walk from the port area in front of the Castel dell'Ovo, past Piazza del Plebiscito and along the waterfront by Via Francesco Caracciolo to the tennis club gives an impression of the more grandiose side of Naples - not to mention some splendid views of the gorgeous, blue Bay of Naples and the brooding presence of Mount Vesuvius in the background.

How: Metro Line 1 to Municipio

8pm: Pizza Paradise

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Naples - home of pizza

Naples is the home of pizza - the real one. Here it's very simple but tasty and cheap. Even somewhere like Da Michele (located at Via Cesare Sersale 1; damichele.net) provides great Neapolitan pizza at very affordable prices, despite serving the ranks of the rich and famous, including Julia Roberts stuffing her face in Eat Pray Love. At 8pm, it's lively but not overly busy. Buon appetito!

How: Get off at the Umberto I-Poerio bus stop on Corso Umberto I.

Do it

Aer Lingus flies from Dublin to Naples three times a week (April-Sept) and daily during summer. See aerlingus.com

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