Ischia is more than the perfect destination for a holiday of wellness spent relaxing on the beach and under the sun. The frequent connections between the island and the mainland make it the perfect base to visit the Gulf of Naples, perhaps joining one of the many excursions organized by local travel agencies. Naples is such a beautiful town, that it is easy to spend a lovely day, just shopping and enjoying the local delicacies, but here are some tips to make the most of your trip.
Reach Naples by hydrofoil or ferry (for a slower trip that will let you soak in the wonderful view of the gulf) and head to the National Archaeological Museum. One of Europe’s main historical institutions, the museum contains a large collection of artifacts from Pompeii, Hercolaneum and other sites of excavation in the Vesuvian area, the Farnese Marbles, as well as Italy’s second largest Egyptian collection, second only to the one of Turin’s Museo Egizio. The Magna Graecia section (currently closed to visitors) contains rooms with artifacts found on our island, which was the first Greek colony of the Mediterranean.
After visiting the museum, head to via Toledo for an exciting stroll in the heart of the city. Take the underground at “Museo” stop and get off at “Toledo”, making sure to visit the station, which the Daily Telegraph named Europe’s “most impressive” railway station. Designed by the Spanish architect Oscar Tusquet, the most acclaimed of Naples’ subway stops features mosaics by William Kentridge, a scenographic escalator space conceived by Bob Wilson and inspired by the Mediterranean seabed, and photographic portraits of Neapolitans by Oliviero Toscani. Art critic Achille Bonito Oliva has conceived Naples’ underground as a “compulsory museum”, where daily commuters indirectly learn to enjoy contemporary art.
One outside you will certainly be seduced by the colours, sounds and even by the noises of lively Via Toledo, an open-air theatre flanked by rationalist buildings on one side, and the rich façades of classical buildings on the other. These mark the perimeter of Quartieri Spagnoli (the Spanish Quarter), Naples’ picturesque neighborhood built on the slope of a hill with narrow streets and alleyways arranged in a grid, often crisscrossed by ropes heaving with fresh laundry. It won’t be long until you will be attracted by the delicious smell of sfogliatelle ricce e frolle, reknowned local pastries produced by Pintauro pastry shop. Fans of chocolate need 5 more minutes of patience: right by the access to the city arcades of Galleria Umberto is Gay Odin, one of Naples’ oldest chocolate factories. Founded more than 200 years ago, Gay Odin transforms cocoa into magic, a delicious thrill, a pleasure for the soul. Among the many proposals do not miss the exclusive taste of Foresta chocolate.
This is not the end of temptations! In neighboring Piazza Trieste e Trento one of the best coffee shops in Naples is waiting for your deserved break. Dating back to the end of the 18th century, Gran Cafè Gambrinus is a real art gallery. In its rooms, decorated with wall paintings by the city’s best landscape artists, you still have the impression to witness the conversations of its national and international famous customers, like Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway, Jean Paul Satre, Benedetto Croce, Ernesto Murolo, Eduardo Scarpetta, and the De Filippo brothers.
A stone throw from the cafè is the elegant shopping district of via Chiaia, Piazza dei Martiri, via Calabritto, via Filangieri and via dei Mille, where even the most demanding will find something unexpected. If you want to add a touch of chic to your wardrobe head to Marinella in Riviera di Chiaia. This shop is the temple of Neapolitan sartorialism. Buy a tie here to treat yourself with a personalized creation that never fails to catch everybody’s attention.
These are only some of the tips for a one-of-a-kind day in Naples that our Concierge can pass on to you. But remember that once back, Ischia’s relaxing embrace will seem even more welcoming to you!