22nd Jul 2012 10:00am | By Kelly Griffin
Naples is a charismatic mix of gritty and chic, with its tangle of shabby streets and polished piazzas.
10:00 Begin your wanderings in Centro Storico, Naples’ historic centre, which dates back to ancient Roman times.
Here, you’ll discover the city’s most handsome attractions, including religious complex Santa Chiara, known for its monastery, tombs and archaeological museum, and the beautiful churches of Gesu Nuovo and San Lorenzo.
11:30 Make sure you visit the Piazzetta Nilo to gawk at the statue of the Lactating Man.Rumour has it the Greek statue was unearthed, sans head, in the 12th century, but its 17th-century restorer popped the bonce of a bearded man on top, ignoring the rather obvious fact the body is that of a female nursing a baby.
12:00 Eccentric ‘Dolls Hospital’ Ospedale delle Bambole (San Biagio del Librai 81) is where once-loved dolls come to die. It’s a fourth-generation toy repair shop crammed to the rafters with antique doll’s parts. A little creepy, yes, but worth a look.
13:00 If that odd sight didn’t curb your appetite, L.U.I.S.E (Piazza dei Martiri 68) is a decent little deli where you can grab local fare to go (breads, meats, cheeses) or dine on the likes of gnocchi and risotto in the back. Meals from £12.
14:00 The National Archaeological Museum (Piazza Museo Nazionale, 19) houses one of the world’s most impressive collections of Greek and Roman artifacts, excavated from sites in Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae. Stop off at the museum’s not-so-secret ‘Secret Cabinet’ and look through the collection of ancient Roman erotica.
17:00 With a big night still ahead, get caffeinated at Caffe Mexico (Piazza Dante 86). Take your coffee like a local: a short, strong and black espresso.
19:00 Naples is the holy grail for pizza lovers and there’s an overwhelming choice of pizzerias to eat at. A steady row of locals lined out the door tends to be a sure sign that the nosh is top notch. We recommend Di Matteo (94 Via dei Tribunali) for its cheap-as-chips creations that keep Neapolitans coming back for more.
20:00 Rather pricey, but certainly an experience you won’t forget, take in a show at the opulent Teatro di San Carlo, the oldest working opera house in Europe. Designed in 1621 and rebuilt in 1816 following a fire, the interiors are a sight to behold – red and gold decor with a lavishly painted ceiling.
22:00 That’s enough culture. Reward your efforts with cocktails at the stylish S’move (Vico dei Sospiri, 10) and get your groove on with a live DJ set.
23:00 Madison Street (Via Sgambati 47) is Naples’ biggest and most popular night club, pumping out chart and dance music to a young and hedonistic crowd. We hear Thursdays and Saturdays are the busiest if you’re out to make some new friends.