Naples, Italy is often touted as a must-visit destination, but let us tell you, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Before we arrived for our month-long stay in Naples, we thought surely thousands of travel writers and TripAdvisor reviewers were being dramatic about this grungy, unsafe city. NOPE. So while travel books and forums might tell you it’s a cheap place to anchor your vacation to the Amalfi Coast, we’re emphatic that Naples is not worth the price. Here’s why you should steer clear when traveling to Italy.
GRITTY & GROSS ATMOSPHERE
Naples stinks. Literally. First of all, the city’s reputation for being dirty and unclean is well-deserved. Everywhere you turn, you’re greeted with garbage-filled streets. I’m not talking about a few stray bits of litter here and there. No, no. I’m talking about piles upon piles of garbage strewn across the streets. It’s like a real-life game of rubbish hopscotch, except instead of hopping on numbers, you’re jumping over piles of trash and trying not to slip on something unidentified and slimy. The stench is overpowering. It’s not exactly the beautiful, fragrant Italian experience you envision when you plan your trip.
But wait, it gets even worse. As you navigate the maze of trash, you’ll come across another delightful sight: feces. Yes, you read that right. Human and animal excrement is not uncommon on the streets of Naples. It’s like the city’s unofficial welcome mat. You have to constantly watch your step to avoid stepping on a fresh surprise left behind. It’s absolutely revolting. Who wants to spend their vacation playing a twisted game of “dodge the poop”?
Naples has a certain grittiness that some may deem “charming,” but it’s overwhelming and off-putting for most people. You can practically taste the foul air as you walk through the city. The constant hustle and bustle, trash, and excrement, combined with the city’s rundown appearance, can make finding peace and pleasant vacation memories challenging.
Not only is Naples aesthetically unpleasing, but it’s also known for its high crime rates. Naples doesn’t offer much reassurance in the safety department. Pickpocketing and theft are rampant, especially in crowded tourist areas. You must constantly be on high alert, clutching your belongings tightly and watching your surroundings like a hawk. It’s exhausting and stressful, and it puts a damper on any attempt to relax and enjoy your time in the city. Walking around with a sense of unease is not ideal for a vacation.
Naples seems to have an abundance of people living on the streets. It’s heartbreaking to witness, but it also adds another layer of discomfort and unease to the already unappealing atmosphere. You can’t help but feel a pang of guilt as you walk past them, trying to ignore their pleas for help. Most of them can be found lingering around the central train station.
Naples also has a lot of chaotic traffic. Hope you like Frogger because pedestrian crosswalks are merely suggestions here. Crossing the road becomes a treacherous task that requires nerves of steel. Sidewalks are often occupied by parked vehicles, forcing pedestrians onto the already crowded streets. If you plan to take a taxi, you’ll find the roads are narrow, congested, and filled with reckless drivers who pull off daredevil maneuvers, reckless overtaking, and a general disregard for pedestrian safety. Forget about renting a car and exploring the city at your own pace – it’s a recipe for stress and frustration.
CROWDS & NOISE
Because tales from old travel books live on for too long, this city oddly still attracts tourists like a moth to a flame, and you’ll feel the effects of this overcrowding everywhere you turn. The popular attractions are swarming with people. Lines stretch for what seems like miles, and you’ll spend more time waiting than actually enjoying the sights. The city is also a popular stop on many Mediterranean cruise itineraries, which means that hordes of visitors descend upon its streets daily. In addition to the tourist crowds, Naples also struggles with overpopulation. The city is bursting at the seams, with limited infrastructure to support its growing population. This leads to overcrowded public transport, lengthy wait times, and a constant feeling of being stuck in a sea of people. If you’re looking for a more relaxed and laid-back Italian experience, Naples is definitely not the place to find it.
And speaking of chaos, let’s not forget about the noise. Naples is a painful symphony of honking horns, screeching brakes, and blaring sirens. The constant cacophony can quickly wear down even the most patient traveler. If you’re hoping for a quiet, serene escape, you won’t find it here. Instead, be prepared to have your eardrums assaulted and your stress levels skyrocket.
JUST SKIP IT
Naples may have its supporters and admirers, but for those seeking an enjoyable and stress-free travel experience, it’s best to steer clear. Some people say it’s a good place to anchor a trip to the Amalfi Coast, but in our opinion, Naples can ruin an otherwise dreamy trip. The city’s cleanliness issues, high crime rates, chaotic traffic, crowds, and overall lackluster atmosphere can ruin precious vacation days. Instead, consider exploring other Italian gems like Florence and Milan that offer a more authentic and enjoyable experience. Save yourself the disappointment. Plenty of other stunning Italian cities will capture your heart and leave you with wonderful memories. Naples, unfortunately, is not one of them.