No visit to Naples is complete without a stroll through the city's vibrant historic center, a true feast for the senses and open-air museum, with historic churches, palaces, fountains, and squares sitting elbow to elbow with bustling warrens of narrow lanes lined with artisan shops, street food stands, and raucous cafés.
Begin your one-day itinerary through Naples by taking in the iconic Spaccanapoli, one of the city's most storied and colorful streets that carves a straight line through the heart of the historic center cutting Naples into two halves. Spend as much time as you can strolling along this narrow, pedestrian thoroughfare to experience the unique atmosphere and browse the many stores and artisan workshops. You'll want to snap photos of this lively corner of Naples, and visit the famous churches and palaces that line its route, including Palazzo Carafa, Chiesa del Gesù Nuovo, and the Basilica di Santa Chiara.
We suggest stopping to visit Santa Chiara to admire its splendid cloister, completely covered in historic handpainted majolica. The complex is open daily from 9:30 AM to 5:30PM (Sundays from 10 to 2:30). Entrance to the church is free, and tickets to the cloister cost EUR 6.
Via San Gregorio Armeno
A must-see, even if you have only one day in Naples, is the city's famous "Christmas Alley": Via San Gregorio Armeno, lined with traditional artisan workshops where traditional nativity scene figurines are crafted by hand. Browse the shops and stands crowded with figurines, miniature houses and furnishings, functioning fountains and waterwheels, and other meticulously rendered models that make for one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
Christmas All Year Long
San Gregorio Armeno is a narrow pedestrian lane crowded with artisan workshops where artists and craftspeople create elements for traditional Neapolitan nativity scenes throughout the year, so you can watch them work and purchase unique handmade figurines even in the summer months. Expect the street to become more crowded through the fall months; during the Christmas holidays, so many shoppers throng the street that it can be difficult to walk. If you are visiting between November and January, be prepared for crowds or plan on visiting during another time of year if you'd rather not face the melee.
After walking along Spaccanapoli and Via San Gregorio Armeno, 'your one-day itinerary of Naples continues with a visit to Via Tribunali, a lively city street lined with some of the most famous pizzerias (Sorbillo, Da Matteo, Al Presidente, Dalla Figlia del Presidente), as well as shops and street food stands. If you don't want to waste time sitting in a pizzeria, opt for a traditional “cuoppo” (paper cone of fried seafood) or a “pizza a portafoglio” (folded margherita pizza to eat on the go).