Naples is the capital of Campania, a region in South Italy. It is a city full of contrasts, traditional and modern at the same time. J.W. von Goethe wrote: “See Naples and then die” meaning that Naples is a city that you must visit at least once in your life. But what can you do if you only have one day here? Here is a little guide to profit of few hours in this incredible city, without forgetting to stop and taste its most renowned delicacies.
Arrive at the central train station
If you arrive with the train, you generally arrive at the Napoli Centrale train station. While if you arrive here by car, reach the central station and park in one of the many car parks nearby. You can reach the ancient part of the city with a 15’ walk, so you do not need to drive there.
Once you exit the station, you will be in Piazza Garibaldi. Leave the station main entrance behind you and reach the other side of the square. On the left you will find Corso Umberto I. Take this avenue and walk until you reach the hospital Cardinale Ascalesi, which will be now on your right. Take that street, called Via Egiziaca a Forcella and go straight on for a few minutes. You have reached the ancient district of Forcella.
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The district takes its name after a crossroad which has the shape of a wishbone. The first impression of this neighborhood will be not easy. Forcella will hit you in the face with a smack that reminds all of us what does it mean to leave with few money, in constant search for a job and a better life style. But you will also notice posters advertising cultural events and concerts. If on a side life here is not easy, on the other side many Napolitans are in constant search for opportunities to grow, gather together and feed mind and soul. Which is exactly what art shall do.
Discover Jorit and Banksy
In Forcella you will find an enormous graffiti of San Gennaro, the saint patron of Naples. It was painted by Jorit in a style that reminds of Caravaggio. It is not the only work of this incredible artist. In Naples he also painted Angela Davis, Martin Luther King, Malcom X and lately George Floyd, adding the words: “Time to change the world”.
If you continue for Via Forcella, you will reach San Gregorio Armeno, a street full of workshops where you can buy little statues for the nativity cribs. Turn right in Via San Gregorio Armeno until you reach Via dei Tribunali. You are now in the beating heart of Naples, a street full of shops, restaurants, bars, where the walls are covered with posters and graffiti, home of street musicians, students and tumblers.
The streets opens in several little squares hosting churches and ancient palaces. In Piazza Gerolomini you will find the Banksy Madonna, piously preserved by the Pizzeria nearby.
Take a break
The entire centre is full of places where you can eat. And of course you cannot leave without having a pizza. The most traditional once are Margherita, with Mozzarella cheese and tomato, Marinara, with tomato, garlic and oregano and the fried pizza. I tried the famous pizza of Sorbillo, not without a bitter surprise.
Take another break 😉
Whether you are having a slice of pizza on the go, trancio in Italian, or you decide to stop in a restaurant, remember the golden rule when visiting Italy: leave always some space for the dessert. So, head to Scaturchio, a bakery and cafeteria which is only a 3-minute walk far from Via dei Tribunali.
Add some mistery to your visit
Near Scaturchio, in Via De Sanctis you will find the Cappella Sansevero with the Veiled Christ considered one of the most remarkable statues of the world. I strictly recommend to purchase an online ticket due to Covid-19 restrictions and the high number of visitors queueing every day. There is a legend around this masterpiece.
And some chills
If you still have time, another interesting visit is the one to Napoli Sotterranea, where you will have the possibility to explore the underground Naples with what remains of the ancient Greek-Roman city.
Are you sure you want to leave only after one day?
Probably your day has already come to an end, at this point. There still are many things to do and visit, starting from Margellina and Via Caracciolo, the Vesuvio Volcano. But you can also sleep over and then take a boat for Ischia or Capri, or plan a visit to Pompei and Ercolano. Napoli is the perfect base to explore the entire gulf where it is located. I recommend a week here to fully experience this incredible city maybe two if you want to include the surroundings.