Practical Information about Naples and Italy
Travel to Naples
Naples, Napoli in Italian, is in the region of Campania in Southern Italy. It sits on the coast on the northern edge of the Bay of Naples, one of the most beautiful bays in Italy. Its harbor is the most important port in Southern Italy.
Naples is the third most-populated city in the country, and the biggest city in Southern Italy. Its name comes from the Greek Neapolis meaning new city. Its close proximity to many interesting sites, such as Pompeii and the Bay of Naples, makes this place magical. Naples is a lively and vibrant city, full of wonderful historical, artistic treasures and narrow, winding streets.
Naples is the main transportation hub for southern Italy with several major train lines.
Most Trenitalia trains arrive at or depart from Stazione Centrale or, underneath the main station, Stazione Garibaldi. These include slow regional services and the faster Frecciarossa, InterCity (IC) and Eurostar (ES) trains. There are trains to Rome, Salerno. International trains departing from Naples include services to London, Paris and Madrid.
Naples has an airport Aeroporto Capodichino (NAP), linking Naples with most Italian and several major European cities, as well as New York. To get there by public transport you can either take the regular ANM bus from Piazza Garibaldi, or the Alibus airport shuttle from Piazza del Municipio or Piazza Garibaldi.
The Intercontinental Rome Fiumicino - Leonardo da Vinci Airport is about 1 hour and half by train or car from Naples.
Italy is one of the 15 signatories of the Schengen Convention, an agreement whereby participating countries have abolished customs checks at common borders. EU citizens do not need a visa to enter Italy.
If you are a non-EU citizen you must apply for it in your country of residence, so check if your citizenship required a VISA to enter to Italy as soon as you are accepted to participate in the SGC. Travelers are advised to check visa requirements with their travel agents before traveling.
Nationals of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland and the USA do not need visas for stays of up to 90 days in Italy, as in any Schengen country.
Please enquire about visas as early as possible to avoid last minute complications!
Naples has good public transportation, and lots of traffic problems. Naples has a large but crowded bus network, trams, a subway, funiculars, and a suburban train line, the Ferrovia Circumvesuviana, which will get you to Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Sorrento. The train and bus stations are in the huge Piazza Garibaldi, on the eastern side of Naples.
In Naples, buses are operated by the city transport company ANM. There’s no central bus station but most busses pass through Piazza Garibaldi, the city’s chaotic transport hub. To locate your bus stop you’ll probably need to ask at the ANM information kiosk in the centre of the square.
Naples is southern Italy’s main rail hub.
Most Trenitalia trains arrive at or depart from Stazione Centrale or, underneath the main station, Stazione Garibaldi. These include slow regional services and the faster Frecciarossa, InterCity (IC) and Eurostar (ES) trains. There are up to 30 trains daily to Rome, some of which stop at Mergellina station, and some 20 to Salerno. International trains departing from Naples include services to London, Paris and Madrid.
The Ferrovia Cumana and the Circumflegrea, based at Stazione Cumana di Montesanto on Piazza Montesanto, 500m southwest of Piazza Dante, operate services to Pozzuoli and Cuma.
The Circumvesuviana, southwest of Stazione Centrale (follow the signs from the main concourse in Stazione Centrale), operates trains to Sorrento via Ercolano, Pompeii and other towns along the coast.
Naples, the bay islands and Amalfi Coast are served by a comprehensive ferry network. In Naples ferries and hydrofoils leave for Capri, Sorrento, Ischia, Procida and Forio from Molo Beverello in front of Castel Nuovo. Tickets can be bought at the ticket booths on Molo Beverello and at Mergellina.
Official taxis are white, metered and bear the Naples symbol, the Pulcinella (with his distinctive white cone-shaped hat and long hooked nose), on their front doors. They generally ignore kerbside arm-wavers. There are taxi stands at most of the city’s main piazzas, although we strongly advise to call one of the five taxi cooperatives:
- Napoli (081 556 44 44)
- Consortaxi (081 20 20 20)
- Cotana (081 570 70 70)
- Free (081 551 51 51)
- Partenope (081 556 02 02)
Top Tourist Attractions
- The National Archaeological Museum of Naples has one of the world's best collections of Greek and Roman antiquities, including mosaics, sculptures, gems, glass and silver, and a collection of Roman erotica from Pompeii. Many of the objects come from excavations at Pompeii and other nearby archaeological sites.
- Piazza del Plebiscito is the center of modern Naples. San Francesco di Paola, on the piazza, is a huge domed church. Palazzo Reale, the Royal Palace, is across the square (closed Wednesdays). Inside you can visit the restored rooms and royal apartments and visit the roof garden where there are good views of the bay
- Spaccanapoli, or Via San Biagio, is the main street that divides Naples and is the heart of the historic center. Teeming with people, the street holds many interesting churches, shops, and other buildings. Originally the heart of the Greek and Roman city, the Spaccanapoli district is a string of narrow, winding streets and is mainly a pedestrian zone.
- Via San Gregorio Armeno, off Via San Biagio, is famous for its nativity workshops and stores. Via dei Tribunali, another street in old Naples, has arcades dating back more than 1000 years.
- Santa Chiara Church is part of a large complex that includes a monastery with beautiful cloisters decorated with majolica tiles and frescoes and an interesting archaeological museum.
- The Duomo is a 13th century Gothic cathedral dedicated to Naple's patron saint, San Gennaro. A huge festival is held when a vial of his blood is taken out of its storage place in hopes that it will liquefy. On one side of the duomo is the 4th century Basilica Santa Restituta (the oldest church in Naples) with columns believed to be from the Temple of Apollo, good ceiling frescoes, and archaeological remains from the Greeks to the middle ages. The 5th century baptistery has good 14th century Byzantine-style mosaics.
- San Lorenzo Maggiore is a 13th century medieval church with extensive Greek and Roman remains underneath.
- Piazza del Mercato has probably been a market square since Roman times.
- Via Toledo, a pedestrian street, is one of the main business and shopping streets.
- Castel dell'Ovo, the oldest castle in Naples, sits in a prominent position on the harbor and is used for exhibitions and concerts.
- Castel Nuovo, a huge castle erected in 1279-1282, houses the Civic Museum (closed Sundays). Inside are 14th-15th century frescoes and paintings, silver, and bronzes from the 15th century to present.
- Teatro San Carlo, known for its perfect acoustics, is the best place to hear opera in southern Italy. Opened in 1737, it's the world's oldest surviving opera house although it was rebuilt in 1816 after a fire.
- The Capodimonte Museum and Park, built as King Charles III's hunting lodge, houses one of Italy's richest museums with a great picture gallery and collection of majolica and porcelain.
- Museum and Monastery of San Martino, on the Vomero Hill, has a famous display of Neopolitan nativity scenes, beautiful cloisters and gardens, frescoes and mosaics, artwork, and fantastic views.
- Funiculare, inclined railways, take you up the hill to the Vomero district where you'll find fabulous views, Castel Sant'Elmo, and Certosa and Museum of San Martino. Funiculare Centrale, one of the longest in the world, leaves from Via Toledo by Galleria Umberto. The other two are Funiculare di Chiaia and Funiculare di Montesanto.
- The Orto Botanico, botanical garden, is one of the best in Italy.
- Naples University, founded in 1224, is one of Europe's oldest universities.
- Many interesting destinations on the Bay of Naples and in Campania can easily be visited from Naples.
Naples is as safe as most international cities. But it is important to be careful on the street, especially crossing the road, because the Neapolitan style of driving is quite aggressive. Also it is recommended to pay attention to your bags and purses, and not trust on street-sellers. Avoid some areas of the city at night, and most importantly: behave as local.
Currency & Banking
Since 2002 Italy’s currency has been the euro. The euro is divided into 100 cents. Coin denominations are one, two, five, 10, 20 and 50 cents, €1 and €2; the notes are €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500.
Credit and debit cards can be used in ATMs (which are widespread and known locally as bancomat) displaying the appropriate sign. Visa and MasterCard are widely recognised, as are Cirrus and Maestro; Amex is accepted but is less common.
Credit cards are widely accepted. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, at post offices or in a cambio (exchange office).
Banks are generally the most reliable and tend to offer the best rates. Banks open from 8.30am to 1.30pm and 2.45pm to 4.30pm Monday to Friday. They are closed at weekends but it is always possible to find a cambio (exchange office) open in Naples and major tourist areas.
Major post offices are open from 8.30am to 6pm Monday to Friday and also 8.30am to 1pm on Saturday. All post offices close two hours earlier than normal on the last business day of each month (not including Saturday).
Shopping & Business Hours
Shops in Naples generally open from 9.30am to 1.30pm and 4.30pm to 8pm (in winter) or 4pm to 8.30pm (in summer) Monday to Saturday. They may close on Saturday afternoons or Monday mornings.
In Naples most department stores and supermarkets now have continuous opening hours from 9am to 8.30pm Monday to Saturday. Some even open from 9am to 1pm on Sunday.
Pharmacies are open from 9am to 1pm and 4pm to 7.30pm Monday to Friday. Most shut on Saturday afternoons and Sundays but a handful remain open on a rotation basis. All closed pharmacies are obliged to display a list of the nearest ones that are open.
Bars and cafés generally open from 7.30am to 8pm, although some stay open until the small hours, typically 1am or 2am. Restaurants open from noon to 3pm and 7.30pm to 11pm (later in summer). Restaurants and bars are required to close for one day each week although in busy tourist areas this rule is not always observed.
Opening hours for museums, galleries and archaeological sites vary enormously, although many are closed on Mondays. Increasingly, the major national museums and galleries remain open until 10pm during the summer.
Direct international calls can easily be made from public telephones by using a phonecard. Dial 00 to get out of Italy, then the relevant country and area codes, followed by the telephone number.
Italy is one of the most mobile-phone saturated countries. Phones operate on the GSM 900/1800 network, which is compatible with the rest of Europe and Australia but not with the North American GSM 1900 or the Japanese system. TIM (Telecom Italia Mobile), Wind and Vodafone all offer SIM cards and all have retail outlets. It is necessary to have a passport to open an account.
An international driver’s license is required in Italy and the license must include a photograph as well as the signature of the holder.
Italian is the official language in Naples, but on 14 October 2008, a law was passed by the Region of Campania, stating that the Neapolitan language was to be legally protected. The Naples dialect, a distinct language which is mainly spoken in the city, is also found in the region of Campania, and has been diffused to other areas of Southern Italy by Neapolitan migrants. The majority of the people in Italy cannot speak Italian, so a list of key phrases, or a “latin” friend will always help you.
Naples Tourist Information
There are tourist offices in the main train station, Piazza Gesu Nuovo, and Piazza Martiri.
At Naples’ main police station (081 794 11 11; Via Medina 75) there is an office for foreigners.
To report a stolen car, call 081 794 14 35.
Road assistance 803 116