Naples is one of Italy’s bustling and vibrant cities, yet few ever get a chance to visit. This charming southern city lies on the western coast of southern Italy and has gorgeous beaches and sea-facing views, along with a culture unlike anywhere else. It’s been long considered the “real” Italy and the gateway to some of the best foods in Europe. Naples is also trying to reinvent itself to tourists as a “green” city by encouraging sustainable tourism.
Naples City dates back to the 2nd Millennium BC, making it extremely rich in culture, food and historical features. The city is colorful, full of life and sweet aromas, especially from pizza, which was invented by the Neapolitans. When it comes to sustainable tourism, Naples has it all from locally sourced food to rich culture- all within walking, cycling (or scooter) distance.
Eat Real Pizza and Pizza Fritta
If you ever visit Naples and wonder where to begin, take a deep breath and get some pizza. Neapolitans were the ones who invented pizza so of course you just can’t go wrong with any flavor, however it’s recommended you get the classic pizza Margherita named after Queen Margherita. Next on the list of delicacies from Naples is the pizza fritta, which means fried pizza. You read that right, it’s literally a pizza folded together and fried. Naples recently has dedicated itself to slow food to give attention to certain new culinary norms while mixing a bit of the traditional ingredients that are all locally found. Feel free to take a baba or sfogliatella with you and eat it along the “lungomare”
Visit Local Markets to Get a Real Taste of What Life in Napoli Is All About
Naples is well-known for its numerous and busy local markets. Different markets have different market days, and you may come across a busy market by accident. The markets have a vibrant atmosphere, fresh groceries and the most authentic Italian street foods. You can visit the La Pignasecca market, the oldest street market in the city. Here you experience where the Italian cuisine really begins, embrace all the smells of fresh herbs, fish, and baked breads. This is one of the most sustainable friendly ways to support Naples, by purchasing the freshest fruits, vegetables, and meats directly from local producers and farmers!
Wander Around the Spanish Quarter
The Spanish Quarter is famous for its historical and artistic importance as well as its rich Neapolitan culture. There are numerous small workshops and artisans, and here you can find unique Italian souvenirs. You can choose to spend time exploring the art, window shopping, enjoying sumptuous Italian cuisines or enjoying good Neapolitan coffee at a café. This area is also very residential, so don’t be surprised if you stumble across a family dinner outside or if somebody offers you water from their kitchen windows. If you get tired of walking around, you can also rent a bike or scooter and roll around Naples while keeping your carbon footprint low! Just be careful of the small, narrow streets!
Do as the Neapolitans Do and Go to a Soccer Match…
Naples is home to the third-largest soccer stadium in Italy, known as San Paolo Stadium. The stadium belongs to Napoli, a top Italian professional club. If you visit the city during the soccer season, find out if Napoli has any upcoming home matches and purchase a ticket and go watch the match live from the stadium. The thrilling experience of a live football match will make your trip more memorable. Not to mention, Neapolitans are famous for being very emotional during a soccer match and if anything, go just to experience their passion.
Visit the National Library
If reading and travelling are your top hobbies, you will have the time of your life in Naples! The National Library in this city is the third-largest in Italy in terms of quantity. You can explore the library, pick books that you love and head to the sea to enjoy the view as you read. The library is easily accessible, and it is open during the day and is considered one of the most beautiful libraries in Europe.
Most tourists who visit Italy never have Naples at the top of their list, but it is worth trying to experience the real Italy. Sustainable tourism means supporting the local economy and having respect for the environment, this should come naturally when you’re surrounded by locally grown food, fabulous artisan markets and the stunning coastline. Naples has a rich Italian history and culture that you do not want to miss, when you tire of the city you can always hop on a boat to Ischia or Capri.
Photography by Samuel C, Words by Mary Davis