Best Destination for Winter Sun: Campania

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While I was planning my trip to Southern Italy, I read tons of negative comments about Naples. Everyone wrote about how dirty and dangerous the city it is. I had heard lots of tragic stories from my friends whose things were stolen, and most the people advised me not to go there. For the first time in my life, I was about to back down from a planned trip because of someone else’s feedback.

But I didn’t.

Visiting Naples was one of my best decisions, so far. It is not only the capital of Campania and the most crowded city of the region, but also one of the most unique sides of Italy. At least for me. Since the first moment, I felt like it is a kind of a city that has controversial characteristics. While I was walking around the back streets of the historic centre, I felt in the mood of ruling the world. It actually reminded me of my life in Istanbul, so I felt very confident and connected with the city.

Transportation

I came to Naples by plane, so I had to go to Piazza Garibaldi to reach my hostel. In any case, you have to take AliBus to come to the centre, if you come by plane. It costs 5 € for per person and there is no student discount. For the other public transportations inside of the city, the tickets cost 1,10 €. 

For the ones who want to visit the best places around Naples (Amalfi Coast and Positano, in my opinion), you should know that there is no direct train or transportation from Napoles. First, you should take a train to Sorrento, that costs 7.80 € per round trip. If you prefer buying one way ticket, it will cost you a bit more. (Suggestion: Do not buy a one way ticket because it takes no longer than one day to visit Amalfi Coast and Positano.From Sorrento to Positano, you have to buy another ticket that is valid for both Positano and Amalfi. It costs 2€ for Positano and 8 € for Amalfi.

Keep in mind that the public transportation does not work after 11 pm.

Accommodation 

The hostel that I stayed at during my trip was the best one that I have ever stayed. The staff, price, location and people were extremely warm and easygoing. I literally enjoyed A LOT. Even though we stayed in a room with ten beds, and all of them were full, it could not have been funnier than it was. I made great new friends and contacts. It is cheap, extremely nice and reliable. There was also some promotions, such as free breakfast and happy hours that allowed me to eat one meal for free if you buy a drink. Do not be afraid, the drinks were not expensive at all.

If you decide to go to Naples one day, take a train to Salvator Rosa from Piazza Garibaldi and find La Controra Hostel.

Food

Naples is famous for its pizza, as well as the rest of Italy. The oldest pizzeria (L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele) is located near Piazza Garibaldi and it is very cheap, even though it is a tourist attraction area. Also, most of the restaurants take places in Tribunali.

Other than pizza, what should you taste in Naples? Well, you have several options such as Frittatine Napolitane and Parmigiana – these are very famous in Naples cuisine.

Places to Visit

In Naples, the old town is a good place to take a walk around the streets and to observe locals. There are a  lot of open fish stores and small shops.

There are not as many museums as in the other regions of Italy, but there are a lot of exhibitions. If your trip is shorter than a week, and if you are not a big fan of art, I don’t recommend you to spend your time at those exhibitions. I suggest you, instead, to discover Campania.

My time was limited there and I chose to spend my first day in Positano. Here are some photos of that day.

I was planning to visit Amalfi in the same day but it was pretty windy and I did not have the right clothes, so I couldn’t. If the weather is okay, you should go to Amalfi as well. In Winter season, one day is enough to visit both because you cannot enjoy the beaches. During the Summer season, one day will not be enough for sure. Vesuvius is also a “must see”, but keep in mind that it costs 10 € to go to the trekking starting point, and the trekking itself takes 30 minutes. Vesuvius is visible from Pompeii, from the road to Positano, and from the window of the plane…

Another “must see” place for me was Pompeii. The city was dominated by the Roman Empire, and Gaius Caesar was the Emperor. He was known as one of the most cruel emperors, and Pompeii was known as the city of sins. Caesar was in love with his biological sister and the rest of the Pompeiians were not innocent as well. The city was surrounded by whorehouses, and homosexuality was very common. There was a strict hierarchy in society: 60% of the population was noble, and the other 40% were just slaves. Nobles were extremely rich and insatiable. Some believe that this was a punishment of God for all the sins that Pompeiians commited.

On the 23th of August of 79, there was a small earthquake in Pompei, and the sky was a bit grey, but people didn’t seem to think that that was a major problem. When ashes started to rain, people noticed something was wrong and they started to panic. Some people runned to the port, which was very near to the city, and others tried to reach their homes and at the end of the day it took only a few hours for Vesuvius, as a volcano, to burn the whole city. Most of the people turned into stone and, at the end, there was no one alive.

Today, Pompeii is an open air museum and it is visited by thousands of people everyday. The tickets cost 7.5 € for European students and 13 € adults and non-European students.

Useful Tips

  • Naples is full of mandarin, orange and lemon trees! It is impossible to die of hunger there… worst case scenario: you can pick some mandarines from the trees and survive.
  • During the Winter, it is windy, especially near the seaside. Take your warm coats and wear pants – not skirts!
  • Naples is very cheap and it is full of groceries and pizzerias. You should definitely visit Sorbillo to taste the best pizza. Do not go there before 7 pm because it will be closed. At least during the Winter season.
  • People in Naples don’t know how to drive and there are no traffic rules. Be careful with cars and motorbikes.
  • If you want to visit Pompeii, take your student ID with you. If you are a non-European, it doesn’t make a difference since you have to pay the adult price. Also, buy your water outside of the Pompeii area, otherwise it will cost you 3 €.
  • I heard a lot of stories about thiefs and robberies, but luckily I didn’t face with any. However, one of my friends lost her phone when she was in the same area as me, at the same time. Have an eye on your belongings at all times.

Enjoy your trip in  Campania and don’t forget to pretend to be like a local in order to feel the energy of the magical Southern Italy!

Post Author: Hande Yetkin

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