That Time I Decided Naples Was Disgusting

We had a choice between Naples or Pisa to head to after Rome…

Well hindsight is a wonderful thing. Our lack of knowledge of either place meant it was really a flip-of-a-coin decision, especially when comments such as “what does Pisa have except for the tower?” and “apparently they do good pizza in Naples…” punctuated our discussions about the two.

In the end the option of taking a regional train for only €11 from Roma Termini to Napoli Centrale meant that Naples won out. With it being the penultimate stop of our entire summer of travelling, we hoped to be (nearly) finishing on a high note. But Naples wasn’t going to fulfil that wish…

A sight to cause sore eyes…

See I read a lot about Naples rampant graffiti scene and how it was supposedly just the “Neapolitan character” before we made the journey and was prepared for that sight. But you definitely can’t prepare for the general state that you’ll find the place in. There’s a lot of graffiti sure, but this isn’t an urban art scene, it’s – to me – just plain vandalism and a lack of respect for the city. It seems the “Neapolitan character” doesn’t extend to having any respect for the city and capital of the region.

And it’s not just that aspect that ensures Naples won’t ever win any beauty contests. I had thought that streets of dog droppings were supposed to be a French – and in particular a Nicoise – epidemic, but walking around the old streets of Naples is akin to walking through a minefield of the stuff. The amount of the stuff you could find on every pavement really was unbelievable, and yet again I had to question why the city’s residents would have so little care about their home.


The other aspect of Naples that isn’t the prettiest is the poor state of a lot of the buildings, particularly in the old centre. Now I had a bit of history knowledge and knew that Naples was bombed pretty heavily in World War II, but I was surprised just how many were in poor condition still.

Architecture at it’s finest…

During a mammoth walking session we walked all the way from Garibaldi station to the old centre, and then down to the water front near the ferry port. The scenery (and weather) made Naples look a lot more promising around this area, and indeed being a Sunday and seeing people out enjoying the weekend also contributed to that feeling, which was a welcome change from the run-down and really rather edgy atmosphere that seemed prevalent walking around the centre. Mind you, that atmosphere wasn’t helped by an extremely dodgy guy roaring up to us on a motorbike and rather forcefully trying to sell us an iPad. On a street corner.

So we ventured past the ferry port to what seemed like the nicer area near the water. Indeed the view of Mount Vesuvius – and I believe Capri – was a welcome sight, and a reminder of some of the nicer aspects of Campania. But once we got up to the walls, it was clear that the fabled Neapolitan “spirit” had made it’s mark here too.

Yes, even the rocks…

By this point I’d really lost any faith I had left in Naples. It’s safe to say that I couldn’t my head around the culture of this city, and it wasn’t going be a place that I would ever be keen to return to. The whole rampant graffiti and lack of respect for the place really was astounding.

It’s somewhere that really should be an absolute gem with it’s location on the Med and under the watchful eye of Mount Vesuvius, yet it just seems as if it’s own inhabitants want to run it into the ground. I was delighted that we were only there for two nights, and we were happy to chill out in our B&B for the rest of our evening after our long day of walking.

A sweaty three hour regional train trip back to Rome awaited the next day, but after spending time in this dive, I was almost excited by that prospect. Safe to say our moods improved hugely when we arrived back in Rome the next day. It’s fair to say Naples wasn’t for me, and I hope our paths don’t cross again in future.

Oh I almost forgot, there was just one thing in Naples that I liked…

Even Pac Man doesn’t like Naples!

Did I just misunderstand Naples? Or are you not a fan of it either?


17 responses to “That Time I Decided Naples Was Disgusting

  1. LMAO. So after all that disgust did you finally sample their pizza? ha ha… Loved the Pac man photo and your honesty about the city! I think I would’ve chosen the same as you in that coin toss, simply because.. Pisa only has the tower and at least, albeit you felt disgust for the vandalism and lack of self-maintenance, the city had character & wasn’t bland. God forbid the bland…. that’s worse than disgusting. πŸ˜‰

    You should try upper westside neighborhoods of NYC during the summer where not only do you have to look down when you walk but the smell of pet pee is overbearing.

    • Hey, thanks so much for being my first comment, it’s hugely appreciated! πŸ™‚

      Oh yeah I did indeed try their pizza, and it was very good, but no better or worse than I found in Rome admittedly. And you’re right that Naples at least stood out and did have some character, it just unfortunately wasn’t in a way that I particularly wanna remember. Mind you I’m actually kinda glad I’ve been, because I guess I’d be kind of boring if I’d liked everywhere haha πŸ™‚

      Oh and since I’ve been home I found out that my next door neighbour has also been to Naples. Turned out I’d been quite complimentary about the place when I heard him call it “the toilet of Europe” haha!

      Thanks again for reading, it’s massively appreciated!

  2. Pingback: That Time I Recapped My 2012 – Part 2 | That Time In·

  3. This is quite depressing considering I’m off in a few weeks time πŸ˜› I’ve heard some pretty awful reviews of the area, so I’m not overly surprised it didn’t take your fancy. At least I’m going there with a pessimistic mind, so things can only get better πŸ˜›

    • Yeah I just don’t get it at all. It’s in such a nice area, and has some amazing views from the waterfront, yet it’s just as if no-one there gives a damn about the city. The state of it really is sad to see.

      We were only there 2 days though so hopefully you can find a side of it we didn’t πŸ™‚

      Oh and massive kudos if you can find the sign with the Pac Man sticker haha πŸ˜‰

  4. Hi i’m a napolitan girl … where are you from? we know that our city is full of contradictions and problems but your post is unacceptable … Napoli as been one of most important city in the Italian history and not only … in your post you talk just about shit and vandalism … you don’t see what we have? the history the gorgeous th knowledge the Baroque the art ??? where are you from ???? i hope you are american … very bad blog … very bad (america stupid) blog.
    “Oh yeah I did indeed try their pizza, and it was very good, but no better or worse than I found in Rome admittedly” oooh shit your are idiot american.

    • Hi Rosa! Many thanks for checking out the site. It’s good to hear your opinion, and it’s nice to see you’re passionate about your hometown, but this article was my opinion – that’s something everyone is entitled to! πŸ™‚

      It’s a shame to see you took the pizza comment completely the wrong way too – you do realise that “it was very good” was a compliment yes? It’s just that pizza in Roma was excellent too haha! πŸ˜€

      And sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not American, just English (see “About Me”). Don’t worry – I’m not particularly proud of that fact either! I actually hate the town I live in, so I’m not just picking on yours. But at least we don’t vandalize rocks…

      Hope you can check out the rest of the site too and realise it’s not just Naples I dislike. All the best!

  5. Everytime I read through a travel blog I check if there’s something about Italy and it’s the first time I read a bad review about Italy, but I completely understand why you were so disappointed. Vandalism and carelessness are typically Italian and I guess people here are used to it. Maybe you should have gone to Pisa πŸ™‚ and I hope you’re gonna go back to italy despite the Naples experience

    • Hey thanks for the comment, and also for being so understanding πŸ™‚

      Yeah I have nothing against Italy at all – even though I also didn’t love Rome as much as many people – but Naples just really disappointed me. Mostly because it actually lived up to all the bad things I had heard, which was a shame. The fact that it should be amazing, with it’s awesome location, also makes that more disappointing.

      I certainly wouldn’t be disappointed to check out more of Italy though, even if it’s not particularly high on my list at the moment πŸ™‚

  6. Haha! Interesting piece. I spent a few hours in Naples (traveling from Rome to Capri) once and managed to have the worst pizza of my entire life! In the birthplace of pizza! Good to read I didn’t miss out on much πŸ™‚

    • Wow I dread to think what the rest of your experience would have been like if you couldn’t even find a good pizza there haha! Joke aside, it just wasn’t for me sadly, but each to their own hey πŸ™‚

  7. you were so distracted by the dog poo that you missed the wonderful city you had around

    • Apparently so! Well it’d be boring if we all had the same opinion hey πŸ˜€

      Interesting that you didn’t write this from Italy though… Would have loved to have heard more about what you enjoyed in Naples.

  8. I’ve made two day-trips to Naples (from Sorrento, while studying Italian there) and really enjoyed the great history. I was doing some research on one visit, and loved seeing in person the places I had been studying for a long time. The second visit was more as a tourist, but despite the gritty atmosphere (oh, yes, no denying that!) we loved the layers of history, the tour of underground Naples, the Angevin fortress on the waterfront–and enjoyed the food. The gutsy vibe of Naples reminds me of New York City–lots happening around me all the time, much of it beyond my understanding, but definitely a city filled with life!

    • Glad to hear you enjoyed it Sandy. It certainly stirs up strong opinions one way or the other, so I would agree that it definitely couldn’t be considered boring at least.

      Thanks for stopping by too!

  9. My friends and I are studying in Italy for the semester and we’ve been discussing a trip to Naples–although, only for the pizza. It takes guts to write a blog like this that many won’t agree with. Props to you for that! I’ve loved digging around on your site a bit, looks like you’ve done experienced a lot! Good on ya.

    • Thank you so much πŸ™‚ Yeah Naples definitely wasn’t the place for me that’s for sure – I think the biggest disappointment really though was that it lived up to all the bad press I’d heard about it beforehand. A real shame. Still a friend of mine went there and really enjoyed it, so different strokes hey!

      Really glad you’ve enjoyed the site. I do have much more to come when I can get back to it properly – damn life getting in the way! Haha πŸ™‚

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