Naples, Italy: what to do, where to stay and where to eat

you welcome in weekendCoveteur’s travel series where seasoned backpackers share their insider guides to top destinations around the world. Read on to find out the best places to eat, stay, and enjoy.

The opportunity brought me to Naples. Well, to be more precise, the phrase did. On the way to Capri Tiberio Palace from Paris, I decided to stay a few nights in Naples at Atelier Ines Arts & Suites because, quite frankly, why Not? I had never gone before and my curiosity took over the best of me. I certainly never meant to be intrigued by the southern Italian port city that sits next to Mount Vesuvius (the active volcano famous for breaking up Pompeii). Yet I wandered there through its gorgeous cobblestone streets, and behold, I lit my hair.

Naples has an undeniable charm; One that reminds us of a family gathering on a big holiday. The Neapolitans I encountered were very honest, dangerously intelligent, and very caring. “You can’t just order an espresso, it just doesn’t make sense!” The owner of a small cafe shouted after a long day spent exploring the city’s magnificent treasures and structures. “Get the cannoli or croissant too. Come on.” A little aggressive for a tasty American used to nice customer service, but thank God I agreed. The chocolate-stuffed croissant I paired with my bitter espresso tasted like heaven.

“I came to Naples for an authentic experience,” Ines Salami, Tunisian jewelry designer and part-owner of Atelier Ines Arts & Suites, tells me about another pastry dish. “When I first moved here, I immediately knew it was something special. There is a reality here that is so unique in the city, and you know that people care about each other. You get all kinds of people from all walks of life looking to make a life here. It shows. The people of Naples love them not by what they say, but by what they do for you.”

If you’re thinking of booking a trip on your own, find my guide to exploring the city below.

where to stay

Atelier Ines Arts & Suites

Photos: Courtesy of Isiah Magsino

When it comes to accommodations, my prerequisite isn’t always, ‘How quickly do you get room service?’ but more importantly, ‘How special is this accommodations?’ “I love staying in places that offer a rare experience, which is why Atelier Ines Arts & Suites is perfect, and as an art lover, this hidden gem definitely made me feel at home.

Their story goes like this: the bed and breakfast is owned by the duo Ines Sellami and Vincenzo Ost. The idyllic boutique hotel was originally built by Annibale Oste’s grandfather (famous artist, sculptor and poet) in 1947. Since then, the space has always been dedicated to art, artisans, and sculptors. Now, Vincenzo, son of Annibale continues this legacy as a noted jewelry designer and artist whose work is shown at the famous Delmus Gallery. Only in 2017 did the two decide to open the home and studio space to travelers. They now host artists, writers, and sculptors who are able to use the studio as they wish.

And, of course, the hotel is a treasure trove of exquisite art and design. The owners make each decorative piece. This includes doorknobs, coffee tables, mirrors, shower shelves – just about everything in the rooms. Drop-needle carvings adorn the main hall, and triangular canoe-ended carvings are scattered throughout the building. (All designed and made by them, too.) For those looking for a visual treat, Ines and Vincenzo await with open arms.

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What do I do

Visit an art gallery

Photos: Courtesy of Isiah Magsino

Whether you are interested in the fact that this is the first church in Naples dedicated to the cult of the Virgin, or keen to experience the sheer beauty of the building itself, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Pietrasanta is a must. I stumbled upon the church again. I am pleased that the exhibition “Erousing Surrealism”, dedicated to Salvador Dali and Alfred Hitchcock, was on display at that time. I love surrealism and Dali’s work with Elsa Schiaparelli, so this exhibition was nothing short of fun.

Be impressed by the divine beauty of the Duomo di Napoli

Photos: Courtesy of Isiah Magsino

In Italy, the Duomo refers to the city’s central cathedral, and the beauty of Naples Cathedral deeply excites those who proceed inland. The space is large, of course, with neo-gothic and gothic interiors and halls, bronze balustrades, and grand altars. I was most struck by the artwork on the ceilings of the Duomo. The “Assumption” by Pietro Perugino and the canvasses by Luca Giordano are among the few that have been found. It’s the kind of beauty that makes anyone feel a little teary — whether you’re religious or not.

Roam the streets around via San Gregorio Armeno

Photos: Courtesy of Isiah Magsino

I am not a type A traveler. Itineraries annoy me more than they tempt me. So I thoroughly enjoyed wandering the cobblestone streets without a plan as every turn revealed a new surprise. Walking the San Gregorio Armeno Road is a must. In the heart of an old district of Naples, small streets and winding lanes take you on an exciting journey filled with shops of all kinds. they literally sell everythingDolls, home accessories and glorious pepper symbols (national symbol of good luck).

Where do you eat and drink?

Lombardy 1892

Image source: Isiah Magsino

I’ve never been too big for pizza or pasta until I’ve tried both in Lombardy, and it’s so sad to think that every pizza or pasta dish I’ll ever have will pale in comparison to it. The pizza I ordered here hit a good spot between tender and crunchy, it was delicious without being overpowering, and it was clearly fresh. My dinner partner and I insisted not to have desserts, but they brought a chocolate cake that neither of us could resist.

Spazio Nia

After one dinner at a time when I would normally climb into bed, I asked myself, How tired am I and how often am I in Naples? I headed to Spazio Nea for a last drink recommended by my wonderful host. Spazio Nea is part of an art gallery and bar with an outside patio. Alone, I drank a crisp red wine under the Naples sky. It all sounded cinematic: Italian words were ringing in my ears from those nearby as the crisp breeze blew within the old courtyard.

Shop packing essentials in Naples:

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