Between the embarrassment of natural riches, cultural treasures and generations of culinary tradition, Naples is the gritty Italian city that’s exploding with flavor.
What you should know about Naples
Initially settled by the Greeks during the 7th century BC, the history of Naples is a long and varied one. Located on the southern shores of Italy, Naples become a flourishing economic and cultural center under Roman occupation before establishing itself as the Duchy of Naples in the 7th century. The second millennium saw the region switch hands between the French, Spanish and even Nazi regime during WWII. Throughout it all, however, Naples has remained one of Europe’s greatest and largest cities, and a burgeoning center of arts adored by some of the most well-known painters and sculptors in European history.
There are a lot of things that can be said about Naples, but perhaps the most defining is the energetic atmosphere that sweeps through the city. Head to the dark and gritty alleyways centro storico and you’ll see that life feels authentic and tradition reigns free. The rich volcanic soils, bountiful sea and endless sunshine has blessed countless generations of Italians with a unique culinary heritage. Pizza, pasta and espresso are now worldwide staples found in every corner of the globe, but there’s no better way to experience them than at authentic street stalls.
Summer months are by far the most popular time of the year to visit, however, keep in mind that many shops and restaurants do close for August. April, May, September and October are ideal as the crowds aren’t at their peak and the temperatures are perfect. The historic center and seafront are conveniently pedestrianized while unruly traffic and uneven surfaces make biking and driving less than ideal. While there are more than 800 pizzerias in the birthplace of the famous dish, only about 100 of them can boast official certification by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN). This regulatory body ensures that the ingredients, shape, preparation and consumption are based on the authentic culinary tradition of Naples. Look for the official stamp so you can rest assured that you're consuming top-grade Neapolitan pizza.