The Naples That I Saw [Photos]

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The Naples That I Saw [Photos]


view of Mt Vesuvius from Vabove Naples, Italy.


view of Mt Vesuvius from above Naples, Italy.

Naples is authentic. I think that word might get thrown around too much these days without meaning. Where other city’s historic cores have been taken over by souvenir shops, tourist restaurants, and designer brand shopping, old Naples remains very residential and commercial only with mom and pop butcher shops and groceries, pizzerias, café/bars, pastry shops, and souvenir shops selling local “historic Naples” items. There are also an absurd number of churches.

The historic center of Naples has earned the UNESCO World Heritage Site denomination, due in part to containing many of the 448 historical and monumental churches, the highest number in the world for a single city. Without nearly any open spaces or parks, Naples is considered Europe’s most densely populated city.

The historic center is very working class. A walk past the ground floor windows will show you a family enjoying a meal together, a grandmother sitting in front of a small television, a mother preparing food in the kitchen. Kids play out in the streets.

What surprised me most about Naples was just how narrow the streets were between building as high as they were. Naples is built on a slight slope, so streets arch down to the harbor. The streets are a maze of confusion, but if you orient yourself to the two parallel main streets, Via Tribunali and Spaccanapoli, it will help you keep your bearings. But getting lost is half the fun.

Everyone seems to have an opinion about Naples. I visited in cool November and saw a much different Naples than the one so often described in guidebooks as Italy’s grittiest, most polluted, and most crime-ridden city.

View my photos from Naples below:

outside a pizzeria

Outside Di Matteo Pizzeria.

Churches in the old city.

pizza from Vesi Pizzeria in Napoli

A pizza from Vesi Pizzeria.

Sfogliatelle from a bakery.

Fresh baba from a bakery.


Mosaic on a pillar in the Archaeological Museum.

Roman mosaic

A Roman mosaic from the Archaeological Museum.

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Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno has been traveling the world and writing about it for the better part of 20 years. His articles and essays have appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Seattle Times, and Transitions Abroad magazine. He blogs at Bohemian Traveler and edits the independent travel magazine He most recently set up a tour company offering authentic, small group tours at Unquote Travel. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


  1. creative nomad says:

    I couldn’t agree more about the authenticity and how not overcrowded with tourist it is. although I personally couldn’t help but constantly feel really scared walking the streets and have my heart torn out by all the poverty and craziness around. But its well worth the trip if not only for the best dam pizza I have and will ever taste!

  2. Charu says:

    I had no idea there were so many churches in Naples…I love your pictures, especially of the pizza and sfogliatelle.

  3. Ariana says:

    The food looks delicious and I am craving for it. The mosaic is eye catching too. I also love the view of the place from above. This post is amazing!

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