Naples can be a sensory overload. Occasionally, you’ll feel like you’re navigating the Autobahn barefoot walking against the traffic. It’s in these moments when you need to step out and find some peace. Thankfully, Centro Vecchio is home to the Santa Chiara cloisters, the Rolls-Royce of hideaways. The cloisters are attached to a church and convent, and it’s incredibly calming, the Majolica columns and citrus trees make a real oasis. Once you’re restored, drop by one of Naples’ oldest vinyl shops, Tattoo Records. Open since 1982, it has – albeit slightly dusty – a veritable Aladdin’s cave of Neapolitan music, including the bard of Naples, Pino Daniele.
The Spanish Quarter
Built by the occupying Spanish to house their soldiers in the 1500s, this is a unique and fantastic area, filled with life and the bustle of the city. The internet will give the impression of a dark and foreboding place – it isn’t. But like anywhere in the world, walk with your eyes as well as your feet. The Spanish Quarter is home to the shrine to Maradona and a myriad of bars and restaurants and also the “Pedamentina” stairs that link the various levels of Naples. The best way to explore it is to take the funicular up to Vomero, then let gravity assist you as you head down the hill.
Chiaia is like a town within the city. It’s the most affluent part of Naples and offers space and a chance to breathe a bit. Via Alabardieri is a good place to stroll; there are boutiques as well as some excellent fruit and veg and the odd cocktail bar. And be sure to pop down Via Bisignano, where Marmi Russo has been making and restoring beautiful works in marble since 1860. From sculptures to pietra dura, the showrooms and workrooms are one and the same in three different spaces. A real feast for those that appreciate the true artisan.
Marmi Russo, Via Bisignano, 51