Top 5 Squares in Naples
Author: Paola Cirino "40 and it Shows"
Naples is famous in the world for many things, its colorful folklore, an almost unparalleled culinary tradition, the countless museums and the charming archaeological ruins. However, many people probably don't know that Naples has also many beautiful squares to visit for a walk, a pizza or a coffee, or a bit of shopping.
Here is a top 5 of the most beautiful and interesting Neapolitan squares.
#1 Piazza dei Martiri
Located just a stone's throw from the awesome seafront of Naples, this square is famous for its marble obelisk and for its very elegant eighteenth century buildings. Nowadays it's also well known thanks to some fabulous fashion boutiques, such as Armani, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and so on.
It's considered the parlor of the city also because it's right next to the Chiaia district, one of the most chic in Naples. Don't be afraid, however, you won't feel underdressed. Given its strategic position, Piazza dei Martiri is as popular with VIPs as it is with normal people, families and tourists.
#2 Piazza Vanvitelli
On the elegant Vomero hill, right at the beginning of one of the major Neapolitan shopping streets, there is a square which is full of life at all hours of the day and night. Here, some the best ice-cream shops in Naples challenge each other, and there are so many bars you'll simply be spoiled for choice! Also, all kinds of pubs, restaurants and pizza places are nearby. Piazza Vanvitelli is definitely the heart of the local nightlife, from friday to sunday, but it's actually always very crowded.
It really is the square that never sleeps.
#3 Piazza Bellini
Here is another place you've to know if you really want to enjoy the city's nightlife. This square, one of the “doors” leading to the historic center of Naples, is particularly loved by students. It's also one of the most lively and active cultural centers of the city. It's in fact very close to the ancient bookshops of Port'Alba, where you can buy new and used books of any kind and at any price, and is surrounded by some lovely literary cafés where musical and cultural events take place pretty often. Piazza Bellini is not very large and yet it houses an open-air archaeological site. Near the bronze statue of the famous composer, from which the square takes its name, there are some interesting remains of the ancient city walls, dating back to the IV century BC, when Naples was a Greek colony.
#4 Piazza Municipio
Completely restored in recent times, this marvelous square is located between the sea and Palazzo San Giacomo, home of the Municipality of Naples. In the middle there is a huge fountain that gets illuminated in a very suggestive way after the sunset. This square too is located in a strategic position, due to its proximity to the port, and is therefore very popular with both Neapolitans and tourists. The beautiful and imposing Maschio Angioino, one of the five castles of Naples, closes the square on one side, giving it an amazing scenic backdrop.
#5 Piazza del Plebiscito
Here is the most famous square in Naples. The church of San Francesco di Paola closes it on one side, with its huge porch of white marble columns, and it's probably one of the most iconic images of the city. The Royal Palace, with its facade adorned with the statues of the ten kings of Naples, is located right in front of it.
This square is in a very central position to visit many other Neapolitan beauties: the San Carlo theatre, the ancient Caffè Gambrinus, the seafront and the Umberto I Gallery. Before you go and see all these wonderful attractions, thought, take a few minutes to enjoy playing a traditional game. Starting from the Royal Palace walk in a straight line until you reach the church, passing between the two equestrian statues. And here is the catch, you have to do it blindfolded, you'll see that it's not as easy as it may seem!
For more Travel stories like this one, feel free to visit my Travel Blog at 40 and it Shows!