Naples, located in the southern part of Italy in the region of Campania, has the ranking of the third most populated city in Italy, with well over one million inhabitants and is one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. Naples sits on the northern edge of the most stunning bay in Italy - the Bay of Naples. The splendid islands of Capri and Ischia and Mount Vesuvius lie within close proximity to the city. With its great cuisine, numerous historic and artistic sights, sunny, hot climate, friendly people, and a marvelous natural setting, Naples has long been a favorite destination for tourists the world over.
Its fabulous cultural heritage shows itself in many different forms, its art, to its churches, and castles. The poet Goethe felt that once one wrote about the city, painted it, or came close to it in any way, shape or form, a person forfeited heart and soul to its beauty. From my experience, you either love Naples, or hate it. Naples has a bit of a bad reputation for its crime and poverty, but overall, I think it is a brilliant place to catch some sun and enjoy your holiday away from the stresses of your every day life. Since this article will concentrate on Naples after dark, I'll outline a few of the most popular hotspots for you to consider while you are in Naples.
I suppose one of the cheapest things you can do while in Naples is to have a bit of a walk along the beach of Santa Lucia at sunset. The scenery goes well beyond stunning and it truly sets the stage for your night out roaming about Naples. Its all inky skies accentuated with lovely lights after dark and there is always a faint smell of someone cooking something mysteriously delicious that you can never quite place what it is, but whatever it is...brilliant.
The glass enclosed Galleria Umberto I , a 19th century gallery across from the Teatro San Carlo is also a splendid place for a stroll. It is a bit of a social center for Naples, with its shopping and numerous restaurants.
If you are looking for a simple place to sit awhile and have a light dinner after your stroll about the Galleria Umberto I, the palatial Gran Cafe Gambrinus is the place for you. Dating back to 1860, it is the oldest cafe in Naples and serves up a lovely cappuccino as well as fried pizza, and a huge variety of cakes and pastries. The cafe is open from 8 AM to midnight daily. Via Chiaia 1 Ph. 081/417.582
If you fancy a night out at the opera, The Teatro San Carlo, across from the Galleria Umberto, built in 1737 for King Charles's birthday, it is one of the largest opera houses with some of the best acoustics in Italy. From December to October, this lovely old opera house presents grand-scale productions for you to enjoy. Its box office is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 1 PM and 4.30 PM to 6.30 PM. Via San Carlo 98 Ph. 081/797.2111
Naples offers quite a few bars and clubs on its cabaret and club circuit, but a word of caution, please. Yes, you will find quite a lot of action in these places, but you need to beware of the fact the bars, etc... will try to charge you for everything imaginable. If they thought they could get away with it, they would charge you for the very air you breathe. There is almost always a cover charge so either bring lots of cash with you or pay attention to what is being offered to you.
The Chez Moi is one of the pickiest nightclubs in Naples. It is run with an iron hand, so to speak. When approaching its doors, if you even so much as look as if you are trouble on legs they will turn you away in short order. This nightclub is basically frequented by clothing designers, government officials and socialites looking for a good time. Occasionally there is a cabaret or a live pianist, but more than likely the music will be Disco piped from a sound system. The Chez Moi is open Friday and Saturday from 10.30 PM to 5 AM. Via del Parco Margherita 13 Ph. 081/407.526
Madison Street , the largest disco in Naples, is frequented mostly by the younger set on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays who subscribe largely to a hedonistic point of view. Plenty of drink, dancing, and even video taped films and rock concerts are offered in abundance at Madison Street. Fridays are generally reserved for the older, more sedate set. Hours are Tuesdays, Thursday through Saturday from 10 PM to 3 AM, and 8 PM to 2 AM on Sundays. Via Sgambati 47 Ph. 0338/6175.071
One of the most popular hotspots in Naples is the Piazza di Spagna. It features lots of dancing from Friday to Sunday from September to July. If you arrive after 10 PM there is a cover charge. Via Petrarca 101 Ph. 081/575.48.82
The ever popular Riot is the center for some excellent Jazz and Blues in Naples. It is open only Thursday to Sunday from 10.30 PM to 3 AM. V.S. Biagio 39 Ph. 081/767.50.54
Gay nightlife is centered in the lovely Posillipo neighborhood with its incredible view of the Bay of Pozzuoli and mount Vesuvius. The festivities are located mainly in a nightclub called Tongue. Drinks flow like water and the music is decidedly Techno. Tongue is open only weekends from 9 PM to 3 AM. Via Mazonik 207 Ph. 081/ 769.0800
Regardless of the bad reputation Naples has earned over the years, you will find the city itself charming to say the least. With all its beauty and friendly locals, Naples is quite a lot like a homecoming of sorts. Naples is a place where you can relax, have a great time, and forget about the pressures of the outside world. Definitely well worth your time.