Thursday, October 17, 2013

Living in Naples: Misc Details

I'm sure you are sick of all my posts about Naples, but I'll just round it off with a couple miscellaneous details. 

Naples - a city of two million people in the city proper and 2.25 million including the surrounding area - is the third largest city in Italy and one of the most exciting cities in the country.  It is statistically the most densely populated of Italy’s major cities.  In 1995, the historic center of Naples was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a city worthy of special preservation and one which “has retained the imprint of the successive cultures that emerged in Europe and the Mediterranean Basin – making it a unique site with a wealth of outstanding monuments.”  In addition, four other UNESCO World Heritage sites lay in the surrounding area (  You will find that Naples has a personality of its own.  First impressions of the city can be chaotic & jarring, but you will see that the beauty of the city and its energetic inhabitants make it a great city to explore.

Naples is not the most wired city in the world.  Internet cafes are virtually impossible to find.  There are some, however, around Piazza Gesù Nuovo (the University area) and Via Toledo.  

Phone Calls:

You can buy one of the many international phone cards, available in 5 or 10 euro denominations, sold in tabacchi shops, (tabacchi are closed on Sunday) and can be used on public telephones or cellular phones (which gives less talking time). Europa and Poker cards offer the best rates.

Some have opted to buy personal cellular phones.  It is possible to find a basic phone for between 50 and 100 euro, and they operate on a prepaid credit system.  There are four service providers: TIM, Omnitel (the two largest), Wind, and Blu.  Credit is available in different denominations, depending on the provider, but all charge a service fee for recharging (Omintel, for example, sells 10 euro cards that give 8 euro worth of credit).  Incoming calls to cellular phones are free (except when you are roaming outside of the country).  Credit is available at tabacchonists or cellular phone stores.

Dry Cleaners:

For those items that you need dry-cleaned, there are a few places near my apartment that I have found to be nice establishments. 

Lavanderia Russella:

 Via G. Bruno, Napoli

Go through the mercatino and walk down the street toward the train station.  This store is across the street from the middle bus stop on Via G. Bruno.   The owners are good, efficient and friendly, and there have been no complaints about this shop.  In general, it takes about 3 days for clothes to be finished at this dry-cleaners.

Lavanderia Capri:

Off of Piazza San Nazaro

Safety and Security

Perhaps the most infamous aspect of Naples are the alleged robberies and thefts that take place among the streets and on the buses.  While it is important to remain vigilant, thefts can be avoided if you are careful with your belongings.  Don’t worry too much about the possibility of getting robbed, but always be aware that it can happen.  Don’t wave your wallet around and carry too much money or identification on you.  Try to carry your money in pockets as well as your wallet. Handbags are best held tightly under one arm, and if possible, the strap should cross your body.

The greatest danger you face is from traffic, in particular the thousands of motor scooters dodging in and out of traffic.  Remember that Naples has a population density twice that of New York City (4,100 inhabitants per square kilometer) and be patient.

Guide Books:

Time Out Naples is an excellent source of information about the city. It includes essays on the history of Naples, as well as hot topics in the city today. It also provides a detailed listing of restaurants, museums, buses, internet cafes, and gyms, as well as maps of the city, it’s surroundings and the metro system.

The Blue Guide for Southern Italy is an excellent guidebook to archeological sites and museums.  Interns with a good reading knowledge of Italian will appreciate the (green) guides put out by the Touring Club Italiano, which are readily available.

Naples is such a gem, you must make a point to go there!


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