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Italy : Naples - May 2010

Country Code: Dial ++39 for Italy

Early summer is one of the best times to visit Naples, with the temperatures rising (but never becoming too overbearing) and the days extending into mid-evening. If you’re in town on the first Saturday of May, be sure to join the celebrations of San Gennaro; the perfect Neapolitan mix of religious reverence and gluttonous indulgence. Simon Fisher puts the diet on hold…

Getting around

Naples International Airport at Capodichino.

Bus: The Alibus runs directly from the airport to Stazione Centrale every 20 minutes. Tickets cost €3. The orange bus (the 3S) runs every 25 minutes. Tickets are from €1.
Taxi: A taxi from the airport to the centre costs around €13. An Artecard (costs from €13) is a good option giving you free travel plus some museum entry. You can buy it at the airport when you arrive (www.campaniartecard.it)
Tourist information: Go to the TEPT Office at Stazione Centrale, Piazza Garibaldi, www.eptnapoli.info)

PIAZZA DEI MARTIRI

In the heart of the chichi Chiaia neighbourhood, this delightful part of town leads you down towards the waterfront.

Must eat – There’s no menu at Masaniello (28 Via Donnalbina, tel. 081 552 8863, closed Sun); the waiting staff will tell you what’s available from the kitchen. Chances are there’ll be some fresh linguine and clams, and be sure to order a buffalo mozzarella antipasto. For classic street food, try L.U.I.S.E. (68 Via Santa Caterina a Chiaia, tel. 081 417735), purveyors of such delicacies as pizza rustica and palle di tagliolini (pasta cakes).

Must drink – The nearby Gambrinus attracts the tourists, but Gran Caffè La Caffettiera (26 Piazza dei Martiri) is a better example of Neapolitan café culture, with its excellent pastries and posh clientele.

Shop til you drop – One of a new breed of independent designer fashion shops, Nennapop (25 Via Bisignano) is a day-glow den brimming with bags, shoes and groovy accessories. Finamore (16 Via Calabritto) has an international reputation for handmade shirts, ties and scarves for the discerning gent.

FORIA AND CAPODIMONTE

Lying at the northern edges of the centro this area is dominated by the impressive Bourbon Capodimonte Palace, once home to the Kings of the Two Sicilies.

Sleep soundly – Set in a 15th-century residence, Palazzo Caracciolo (112 Via Carbonara, tel. 081 016 0111, accorhotels.com, rooms from €89) is a sleek, smart hotel with a comfy elegance. Ask for a room overlooking the courtyard, with its own balcony.

Culture vultures – The Museo di Capodimonte (2 Via Miano) features works by Caravaggio, Velazquez and Bellini, and contemporary pieces created specifically for the museum – including a Warhol depiction of Vesuvius. The San Giovanni a Carbonara church (Via Carbonara) is a real gem, with some beautifully ornate chapels and Giorgio Vasari’s Crucifixion.

Must drink – Wine lovers should head straight for Berevino (62 Via San Sebastiano) – a friendly bar and shop that does a great job of promoting local grape varieties.

SAN LORENZO MAGGIORE

In the heart of the centro, this is most people’s default setting when it comes to imagining Naples.

Culture vultures – The Cappella Sansevero (19/21 Via Francesco De Sanctis) is one of the best examples of the city’s rich baroque heritage, with the accompanying museum telling the story of this celebrated chapel. Sanmartino’s Veiled Christ statue is a must-see.

Must eat – The Antica Osteria Pisano (1 Piazzetta Crocelle ai Mannesi, tel. 081 554 8325) is wonderfully basic, offering a range of simple dishes with minimalist service to match. Da Carmine (330 Via Tribunali, tel. 081 294383) is a rustic old charmer, with the fusilli alla sorrentina (made with tuna) a highlight – though leave room for a zeppolona cream pastry.

PIAZZA DEL PLEBISCITO

One of the city’s main squares, on the edge of the frantic centro and an ideal spot to get your bearings.

Culture vultures – The Palazzo Reale (Piazza del Plebiscito) is one of the city’s iconic buildings, home to generations of Bourbon royalty. The Palatina chapel is like something out of a Versace showroom. Nearby, the Teatro di San Carlo (98 Via San Carlo) is Europe’s oldest opera house: see teatrosancarlo.it for production and ticketing information.

Must eat – For an upmarket treat try La Cantinella (42 Via Cuma, tel. 081 764 8684, closed Sun). A reminder that Naples isn’t just about pizza, the shellfish tempura with a tomato carpaccio is excellent. Ciro a Santa Brigida (71 Via Santa Brigida, tel. 081 552 4072, closed Sun) is another favourite with foodies, with house speciality pignatiello e’ vavella – a fish soup with tomatoes, clams, shrimp and squid.



Compiled by Simon Fisher

Previous issues for Naples
 
   
Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy,
please confirm event/venue details in advance.

 

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