I consider Centro Storico to be the heart and soul of Naples. This historic district offers churches with architecture ranging from Gothic to Rococo; absorbing museums; old palaces that date back centuries; artisans carrying on the family tradition; lovely squares; inexpensive pizzerias; bars; restaurants; shops; and much more. I spent two days wandering through this UNESCO World Heritage Center, and my only regret was that my schedule prevented a longer stay for exploration. At least we stayed in a B&B located here, so we found ourselves in the middle of the action and didn't have to spend time traveling to get here.
I would describe Centro Storico as fascinating but gritty. Those who dislike graffiti, crumbling buildings, refuse in streets and much noise from residents shouting back and forth would likely dislike the experience. Crowds in places can overwhelm. And narrow, side streets often display drying laundry overhead. But all contribute to the authenticity of a very special place
Spaccanapoli and Via Tribunali are two of the major streets and give easy access to many tourist attractions. My favorites include church of Santa Clara with its cloister featuring hundreds of majolica tiles; the amazing "Veiled Christ" in Museo Cappella Sansevero; and Caravaggio's haunting masterpiece, "Seven Acts of Mercy," Pia Monte della Misericordia's major draw. Shrines to the Virgin Mary appear many places with fresh flowers placed at the Madonna's feet. Lively conversation seem to be in progress everywhere.
Wherever I wandered, I always felt safe; but I made it a point to keep my valuables safely secured so I did not look like a buffet to any pickpocket. Whenever I interacted with residents here, they were extremely friendly. I have to admit to being a bit wary when I arrived in Naples, but I left totally charmed.
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