Naples is almost everything they say it is. It is crowded, it is bright, is beautiful. In fact, it’s a little unbelievable. Older women shake out white towels from their windows above monuments and older men in sunglasses smoke cigars at 8AM. Naples is full of Senegalese and African migrants, it has castles and it borders the ocean. Naples has gelato, and pizza, and a tiny bit of pollution. But not every man, woman and child in Naples is a hardened pickpocket or criminal. Knock on wood – I have yet to encounter one. Men call out “Ciao bella” and whisper “pretti” and “bellisima” under their breath as they pass me on the street, but they recognize quickly that I’m on Do Not Disturb 😂 Senegalese and Jamaican men shake my hand and ask where I’m from. Schoolkids run by smiling, playing Italian rap on their speakers. Little dogs (and big dogs👀) walk without leashes on the sidewalk, calmly accompanying their owners. Spend a few days here if you can, and BUMP what you heard! Naples Tips going up on the blog tonight💖
If you’re coming from IG or FB, you already know I’m out in Europe pulling culturally-sensitive touristy shenanigans on the Gram
Just like my Madrid tips (but better, because Naples is the destination, not the layover) there are a bunch for solo travelers, friends, and those with a ton of time and not a ton of plans:
- Learn basic Italian terms (I don’t speak Italian, hello, good morning, good evening, goodbye, thank you, please, right, left, get away)
- Wear comfortable sneakers/trainers in Naples.
- Wear a coat with a hood that can be a raincoat OR bring a pocket umbrella. Yes, it rained in May in Italy, the night I arrived.
- For safety, make a paper photocopy of your passport. Keep that and your real passport in different places.
- Along the same vein, never keep all your cash or cards on you. Travel light.
- Make the metro your b—est friend! Travel EVERYWHERE in Naples on the Metro during the day. If you’re staying near Napoli Centrale, take the Metro Garibaldi stop to Toledo for Naples’ main attractions (2 stops, 15-25min, €2.50 roundtrip)
- I promise you this beats a taxi (unless it’s dark). You can save at least $40USD traveling this way.
- Watch your surroundings on the train. ALSO: Watch this video from 6:58 that protected me from pickpockets Naples & elsewhere!
- Be prepared for an unusual amount of stairs & escalators at Napoli Centrale. Just follow the signs for Metro Yellow Line 1 & Ask a “prego” (question) of anyone in uniform!
- Buy your inexpensive ticket only at the marked Biglietteria (ticket/info booth)
- Suggested easy-walk journey through Naples from Toledo Station: Toledo > Castelnuovo > Plaza Plebiscito > Mt. Vesuvius View (just walk through the plaza down toward the ocean) > Stop for some gelato in the Plaza > eat Napoli’s pizza & pasta at Antici Sapori just up the street (sit outside!!) > Retrace steps for a familiar return to Toledo Station
- €6-7 is too much for gelato. The good places will give it to ya for €2-4. Keep looking.
- Just like Coldstone, you can ask to try before you buy! Smile & ask nicely.
- Bring your own water bottle to Naples. Water is not free at restaurants (€2-4 for a bottle of mineral or distilled)
- €15 can get you an appetizer, main dish, dessert + tip of €1-2 at the right places. If not, keep looking.
- The polizia (dark blue uniforms & bulletproof vests) are the best people to ask for directions. Or try military folks 🙂 Always say gratzie (thank you)!
- KEEP YOUR HEAD UP ON THE STREETS OF NAPLES! Look in front of you, up above you, around you and behind you. Do not have any valuables in sight, in corner pockets, in jeans or pants pockets, but rather under your clothing, tightly zipped. For reference, someone should be able to run up & hug you with no access to anything you care about, other than your body.
- When using your phone, find a booth or long wall to stand against. Keep your back to the wall so no one can sneak up on you. When done shooting or referencing, put your phone away, deeply.
- Watch out for speedy cars & buses & bikes & scooters. This isn’t like the US. You will have to dodge & wander through traffic to get anywhere. Get aggressive.
- Ladies: Everyone stares in Naples. Men & women alike. If someone stares too long and makes you uncomfortable, catch their eye, nod and say “Ciao.” Do not stop walking as you do this.
- In my entire time, I saw perhaps two young girls wear short skirts or shorts. In Naples in Summer, they dress like it’s Fall. You may draw unnecessary attention to yourself in skimpy clothes, or anything above the knee. I’ll be the last one to tell another woman what to wear (we need to teach humans to respect each other regardless of their outfits), but know this is Naples (There is no beach). So you will stand out if you are in anything but jeans, pants, or capris.
I always think it’s funny when people say “pull the race card”, as if it’s a handy little tool I can pull out of my pocket and put back whenever I feel like it. On the contrary, being Black affects my every day experiences, especially when traveling. My Blackness cannot be pulled, stretched, evaded or masked. It forms and shapes my interactions with people in every waking moment. My blackness intimidates, and entices, and confuses, and inspires. I knew that wearing my @adornedbychi Black & Proud Tee would draw attention, but couldn’t have guessed how much (yes, this is a Nigerian Partnership between two boss creators, #UseJOYOFODUatcheckout ) When I heard these Italian men making fun of me at breakfast, I moved my tripod over to them and said “Be in the picture, then.” And I had the last laugh😌 But really, I’m starting #AdornedAbroad for a reason. What I look like should not limit the spaces I’m able to inhabit or visit. And if you look kinda like me and you want to do the same thing, DO IT. Use Instagram ( @blacktravelista @adornedbychi @blacktraveljourney @blacktravelfeed @blackgirlstraveltoo @hey_ciara ) and Facebook @girlslovetravel to TAKE OVER ON YOUR OWN!💖👏🏾 Okkrrr?
Naples is a little rough around the edges, but then so is San Francisco. So is Los Angeles. So is New York. You can’t expect a city to change its way of life simply because you are visiting. But you can expect, under crossed arms and arched eyebrows, the citizens of Naples to you where you need to go. And I hope you’re just as floored as I was when you get there.