Marcus Travel Journal

2023 - Napoli

Returning to Napoli


On our initial trips to Italy, I like many who visited Italy, avoided Naples. I had read the articles about crime and being in Napol seemed risky. Well luckily I got over erronous phobia. Our first visit to Naples was in 2009 and I saw the real Naples - a scenic and exciting city not to be missed.

I have heard back from visitors to the city, it seems it is a like or dislike reaction. If you just look at the surface, which includes lots of graffiti, crowded streets and a sense of time passed, you will sell the city short. It is a city of impressive architecture, art and culture. It has a life, and the people of Napoli enjoy their city. The streets of Napoli are extensions of their homes.

It is a city of food that is not to be missed. Pizza, pasta, desserts and what is said to be the best espresso coffee in Italy are all found here. In the historic centre the streets are living markets. On one walk I saw everything from Kleenex to washing machines being sold on the street corners.

Yes there is crime in the city, just as you will find crime in most large cities. Take the normal precautions you would expect to take. Don't be flashy and don't leave bags unattended.

Bring good shoes. This is a city to explore by walking. Via Spaccanapoli is the street that basically cuts the city in two (North and South). Walk along Spaccanapoli and you will be immediately immersed in the spirit of Napoli.

Plans for this year include:

  • Certosa e Museo di San Martino, Largo San Martino 5, Open Tuesday, Thursday to Saturday 8:30 am to 7:30 pm, Sundays till 6:30 pm. Neapolitan baroque charterhouse that has been turned into a museum. Originally a Carthusian monastery (1325 to 1368) it has one of the most beautiful cloisters in Italy.

  • Explore some of the metro stations as the art on theLine 1 metro is impressive, especially the Toledo station.

  • Piazza del Gesu Nuovo - a scenic piazza in Napoli.

  • Piazza del Plebiscit - a grand piazza that sits in front of the San Francesco di Paola, a neoclassical church with architecture inspired by the Pantheon in Rome.

  • Castel Nuovo - the residence of kings and barrons.

  • Museo di Pietrarsa - the most important railway museum in Italy. Pavilion A, known as Vapor Hall, is considered a work of art due to the specacular 19th Century metral trusses which cover a 5,000 square meter space. Pavillon F, called the Cathedral due to the majectic pointed arches includes furnishings and railway objects (old machines for ticketing etc.). Looinking online, it looks like the museum is open on Wednesday for advanced booking only, Thursday from 2pm to 8pm, Friday 9 - 4:30 and Saturday and Sunday from 9:3o - 7. Tickets at 8E, Guided Tours 10E.

We have an apartment in the Chiaia area of Naples, this is a part of Naples that was expanded in the 17th Century when Spain ruled Naples.

Naples - Map - Chiaia District



We return to Napoli.


I am always blown away by the impressive Galleria Umberto I, built between 1887 and 1890. It was part of the risanamento (making it healthy again) the rebuilding of Naples. I will explore with care. On our last visit to the city I walked through an open iron gate so that I could explore one of the stairwells that lead to the upper floors which has offices and aparetments. The iron gate slammed shut behind me and I was locked in and could not get out. This was early on a Sunday morning and I was concerned I would not get back to our hotel in time to leave for Rome. Luckily I found a lock-release button not very marked on one of the walls.

Apartment Martucci

Napoli - Apartment Martucci

In Napoli we have an apartment with a view of the sea. I am going to enjoy cooking in this kitchen looking out over the water. We are located in the Chiaia area of Naples, an area in which we have not previously stayed. This district is described as an affluent neighborhood on the seafront, bound by the Piazza Vittoria on the east and Mergella on the west. It is supposed to have great shopping, cafes and restaurants. It was opened up in the 16th and 17th centuries when the Spanish rulers of Naples opened the city to the west of the central historical district. It is a 300 meter walk to the Piazza Amedeo which has a Metro stop. A metro ticket is 1.10E, or there is a unlimited day ticket for 4.50E that covers the metro, bus and funicular.

Line 1 is called the Art Line due to the works of art at the various stations (Garibaldi, Toledo and Universidad are said to be very impressive).



Caffè Mexico

Caffe Mexico -Napoli

This is said to be the best coffee that you can have. Culinary backstreet says even a novice coffee drinker will know the difference. Three are three located in Napoli (Piazza Dante, Piazza Garibaldi - near the train station, and via Scarlatti).

At Caffè Mexico in Piazza Garibaldi, a sign reading “Coffee is served sweetened” welcomes customers. So if you want it bitter, without any sugar, you have to tell the barristas when you deposit your coupon and tip on the counter.

If you have a question of tipping, there is only one situation in which Neapolitans consider it mandatory to tip: at the bar counter. Here, and only here, it is necessary to deposit a small coin next to the coupon or receipt; it is an unwritten rule but one that has been ingrained in us since childhood.

National Archaeological Museum

Houses Naples’s most significant collection of Roman remains and displays much of the loot uncovered during the Pompeii and Herculaneum digs. Closed Tuesdays, open 9 - 7:30 pm. When we are in Naples the exhibit "Of Men and Giants: the Drams of History of Elisabetta Farnese" will have just opened.


Naples is also known for its funicular railways providing excellent panoramic views over the surrounding area. Three services connect central Naples to the hilltop district of Vomero, while a fourth connects the coastal districts of Mergellina and Posillipo Hill. They operate from 7am to 10pm daily and tickets are the same as for the metro and bus:

  • Funicolare Centrale: from Piazzetta Augusteo to Piazza Fuga.

  • Funicolare di Chiaia: from Via del Parco Margherita to Via Domenico Cimarosa.

  • Funicolare di Montesanto: from Piazza Montesanto to Via Raffaele Morghen.

  • Funicolare di Mergellina: connects the waterfront at Via Mergellina with Via Manzoni.






via San Gregorio Armeno

via San Gregorio Armeno

Via San Gregorio Armeno is one of the famous alleyways of Napoli. Known for kitsch souvenirs. But the real reward maybe to go into the hidden cloister of the church, San Gregorio Armeno. It is a 17th Century enclosed garden filled with citrus trees. I will have to look into getting into it as it is only open for two hours in the morning before its use is reserved for the nuns.

Cloisters San Gregorio Armeno Napoli

It is a 17th Century enclosed garden filled with citrus trees. I will have to look into getting into it as it is only open for two hours in the morning before its use is reserved for the nuns. The cloister of the monastery of San Gregorio Armeno has a beautiful marble fountain in Baroque style with statues depicting Christ and Samaritan, and a dense orchard of citrus groves. From the cloister it is possible to reach the Cappella dell'Idria, the Choir and the Corrodeio delle Monache and, finally, the Salottino della Badessa, all splendid examples of Rococo art. The church is open from 9-12.

Gesù Nuovo

Gesu Nuovo


I remember the first time I saw the exterior of this church. I thought I had arrived at a fortress of some type. The Gesù Nuovo has three main sights: The Church of Gesù Nuovo the Church of Santa Chiara and the Spire of the Immaculate Virgin (erected to evoke protection for the Virgin Mary during the Great Plague). The Church of Gesù Nuovo dates to 1470 and was built for Roberto Sanseverino, the Prince of Salerno. The facade of the church is unusual but it was originally bu it for a palace, and is faced with rustic ashlar diamond projections.


Church of Santa Chiara

Santa Chiara Cloister


A return to the beautiful cloister of the Santa Chiara is in order. The church grounds have citadel-like walls keeping the grounds apart from the outside world. At one time there was a large religious community. Today the more modest convent of the Poor Clares and a community of the Grey Friars. Expanded with Baroque architecture in the 18th century, it was almost destroyed by bombing in WW II. Luckily restored in 1953. The monastic courtyard at the rear of the church was built in 1730 for Maria Amalia of Saxony, wife of Charles III of Bourbon, King of Naples. The majolica tile work is of the school of Neapolitan ceramic

Napoli Metro

Yellow - Line 1 - called the Art Line because of the art at each of the stations, operates from 6 am to 10:30 pm.

Blue - Line 2 - operates from 5 am to 11 pm (Sundays starting at 6:10)