Naples is not an easy destination for travellers with disabilities. Cobbled streets, hair-raising traffic, blocked pavements and narrow lifts (or a complete lack of them) make life difficult for the wheelchair-bound, and those with vision or hearing difficulties.
Some efforts are being made to make Naples more accessible. Wheelchair-friendly ramps, lifts and toilets are common at museums and train stations, and while many restaurants are not yet completely wheelchair friendly, most will try to accommodate guests with disabilities (consider calling ahead).
Some city buses (including the R2) have extra-large central doors, access ramps and dedicated space for a wheelchair; these are marked with a wheelchair symbol. Numerous hydrofoils and ferries are also wheelchair friendly; reserve your ticket in advance to ensure that your vessel is compatible. Some taxis are equipped to carry passengers in wheelchairs; ask for a taxi for a sedia a rotelle (wheelchair). If travelling by train, ring the national helpline 199 303060 to arrange assistance.
The website www.turismoaccessibile.org gives a rundown on the facilities at Naples' museums and hotels and on its transport services.
The ENIT (www.enit.it) office in your country may be able to provide advice on Italian associations for the disabled, and information on what help is available.
Italy's national rail company, Trenitalia offers a national helpline for disabled passengers at 199 303060 (6.45am to 9.30pm daily). To secure assistance at Napoli Centrale, you should call this number 24 hours prior to your departure.
For more information and help, try the following organisations:
Cooperative Integrate Onlus (www.coinsociale.it) Based in Rome, CO.IN provides information on the capital (including transport and access) and is happy to share its contacts throughout Italy.
Tourism for All (www.tourismforall.org.uk) This UK-based group has information on hotels with access for disabled guests, where to hire equipment, and tour operators who cater to disabled travellers.
Moveability.org (https://moveability.org) offers information on disability-friendly tourism in the Campania region.
Accessible Italy (www.accessibleitaly.com) specialises in holiday services for people with disabilities.
Sage Traveling (www.sagetraveling.com) offers advice and tailor-made tours to assist mobility-impaired travellers in Europe.
Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guides from http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel.
Getting There & Around
Accessible Travel Online Resources
Accessible Travel Agencies
Dangers & Annoyances
Naples has long suffered a reputation as a dangerous place. In reality, the city today is a relatively safe place, especially if you heed the following basic safety tips:
- Avoid keeping money, credit cards and other valuables in easy-to-reach pockets as pickpockets do operate on crowded metro trains, buses and at markets.
- Never leave your bags unattended. At cafes and bars, loop your bag's strap around your leg while seated.
- Be cautious of strangers who want your attention, especially at train stations and ports.
- Although scooter-riding petty thieves are a much rarer phenomenon these days, it doesn't hurt to wear bags and cameras across your body, away from the street.
- At archaeological sites, watch out for touts posing as legitimate guides.
Government Travel Advice
The following government websites offer travel advisories and information on current hot spots.
- Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (http://smartraveller.gov.au)
- British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice)
- Global Affairs Canada (http://travel.gc.ca)
- New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs (www.safetravel.govt.nz)
- US Department of State (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html)
If you do run into trouble, the central police station has an office for foreigners.
If your car has been clamped or removed, call 081 795 28 66.
If you're planning to blitz the sights, the Campania Artecard is an excellent investment. A cumulative ticket that covers museum admission and transport, it comes in various forms.
The Naples three-day ticket (adult/reduced €21/12) gives free admission to three participating sites, up to 50% off on others and free use of public transport in the city.
Other handy options include a seven-day 'Tutta la Regione' ticket (€34), which offers free admission to five sites and discounted admission to others in areas as far afield as Caserta, Ravello (Amalfi Coast) and Paestum. The latter does not cover transport.
Cards can be purchased online or at participating sites and museums.
Embassies & Consulates
Emergency & Important Numbers
|Italy's country code||39|
|International access code||00|
Italy is a surprisingly formal society; the following tips will help you avoid any awkward moments.
- Greetings Shake hands and say buongiorno (good day) or buonasera (good evening) to strangers; kiss both cheeks and say come stai? (how are you?) for friends. Use Lei (you) in polite company; use tu (you) with friends and children. Only use first names if invited.
- Asking for help Say mi scusi (excuse me) to attract attention; use permesso (permission) when you want to pass by in a crowded space.
- Eating and drinking When dining in an Italian home, bring wine or a small gift of dolci (sweets) from a local pasticceria. Let your host lead when sitting and starting the meal.
- Gestures Maintain eye contact during conversation and when toasting.
A travel-insurance policy to cover theft, loss and medical problems is a good idea. It may also cover you for cancellation or delays to your travel arrangements. Paying for your ticket with a credit card can often provide limited travel-accident insurance and you may be able to reclaim the payment if the operator doesn't deliver. Ask your credit-card company what it will cover.
Worldwide travel insurance is available at www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-insurance. You can buy, extend and claim online anytime – even if you’re already on the road.
Free wi-fi is commonly found in Naples. Most hotels, hostels, B&Bs and self-contained apartments offer it free, though signal strength can vary. Many restaurants, cafes and bars also offer free wi-fi to patrons.
ATMs are widely available in Naples, including at major train stations and at the airport. Credit cards are accepted in most hotels and restaurants.
You can change money in banks, at the post office or in a cambio (currency-exchange bureau). Post offices and banks tend to offer the best rates; currency-exchange bureaus keep longer hours, but watch for high commissions and inferior rates.
Bancomats (ATMs) are widely available throughout Naples and are the best way to obtain local currency. International credit and debit cards can be used in any Bancomat displaying the appropriate sign. Cards are also good for payment in most hotels, restaurants, shops and supermarkets.
Check any charges with your bank. Most banks now build a fee of around 3% into every foreign transaction. In addition, ATM withdrawals can attract a further fee, usually around 1.5%.
If your card is lost, stolen, or swallowed by an ATM, you can telephone toll-free to stop put its use:
Amex 800 928 391
MasterCard 800 870 866
Visa 800 819 014
Tipping is generally optional.
- Taxis Most people round up to the nearest euro.
- Hotels Tip porters about €5 at high-end hotels.
- Restaurants If servizio (service) is not included on your bill, leave a euro or two in pizzerias, or 10% of the bill in restaurants.
- Bars Neapolitans usually place a €0.10 coin on the bar when ordering their coffee; if drinks are brought to your table, a small tip is generally appreciated.
Opening hours will often vary between individual businesses and/or branches. The following times are a guideline only.
Banks 8.30am-1.30pm and 2.45-3.45pm or 4.15pm Monday to Friday
Restaurants 12.30-3pm and 7.30-11pm or midnight
Cafes 7.30am-8pm or later
Shops 9am-1pm and 3.30-7.30pm (or 4-8pm) Monday to Saturday, some close Monday morning and some open Sunday
Main Post Office Naples' curvaceous main post office is famous for its fascist-era architecture.
Many Neapolitans take their annual holiday in August, with the busiest period occurring around 15 August, known locally as Ferragosto. As a result, many businesses and shops close for at least part of that month.
National public holidays:
New Year's Day (Capodanno) 1 January
Epiphany (Epifania) 6 January
Easter Monday (Pasquetta) March/April
Liberation Day (Giorno della Liberazione) 25 April
Labour Day (Festa del Lavoro) 1 May
Republic Day (Festa della Repubblica) 2 June
Feast of the Assumption (Assunzione or Ferragosto) 15 August
All Saints' Day (Ognisanti) 1 November
Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Festa della Immacolata Concezione) 8 December
Christmas Day (Natale) 25 December
Boxing Day (Festa di Santo Stefano) 26 December
- Smoking Smoking in all closed public spaces (from bars to elevators, offices to trains) is banned. Unfortunately for nonsmokers, smoking is extremely common in open spaces, including at outdoor restaurant and cafe tables.
Taxes & Refunds
A 22% value-added tax known as IVA (Imposta sul Valore Aggiunta) is included in the price of most goods and services. Non-EU residents who spend more than €155 at one shop at a single time can claim a refund when leaving the EU. The refund only applies to purchases from stores that display a ‘Tax Free’ sign.
When making a purchase at a store that offers tax-free shopping, ask for a tax-refund voucher, to be filled in with the date of the purchase and its value. When leaving the EU, get this voucher stamped at customs and take it to the nearest tax-refund counter where you’ll get an immediate refund, either in cash or charged to your credit card. For more information, see www.taxrefund.it.
Beyond museums, department stores and train stations, there are few public toilets in Naples. If you're caught short, the best thing to do is to nip into a cafe or bar. The polite thing to do is to order something at the bar. You may need to pay to use public toilets at some venues (usually €0.50 to €1).
Travel with Children
Children are adored in Naples and little ones are welcomed almost anywhere. On the downside, the city has few special amenities for junior travellers, and its congested, cobbled streets aren't especially stroller friendly. With a little adaptation, however, young families will find Naples endlessly intriguing and even a little magical.
History & Culture
- Napoli Sotterranea
Head down a secret porthole into a subterranean labyrinth of Graeco-Roman passageways and cisterns.
- Napoli Paint Stories
Ditch baroque for cutting edge on this walking tour of Naples' burgeoning street-art scene.
- Cimitero delle Fontanelle
It's Halloween every day at the ghoulish Fontanelle Cemetery, neatly stacked with human skulls and bones.
Smaller than Pompeii and closer to the city, Herculaneum brings 79AD alive with its ancient shop signs, pools and changing rooms.
- Kayak Napoli
Take a guided paddle to experience the city from a very different and beautiful angle.
- Mt Vesuvius
Peer into a crater and play a game of spot the landmark atop mainland Europe's only active volcano.
- Real Bosco di Capodimonte
Let little ones run free in Naples' largest and most beautiful city park.
- Parco Sommerso di Gaiola
Peer at sea life and Roman ruins aboard a glass-bottom boat at this precious marine reserve.
Need to Know
- Babysitting Higher-end hotels can organise babysitters.
- Discounts Most museums offer discounted entry for children, some for EU citizens only.
- Getting around Ditch the stroller for an ergonomic baby carrier.
- Lifts Many older buildings in the centro storico don't have lifts. Check before booking accommodation.
- Resources See Lonely Planet's Travel with Children or Naples-focused https://napoliperbambini.com. For more general tips, check www.familytravelnetwork.com.
Concordia International Volunteer Projects (www.concordiavolunteers.org.uk) Short-term community-based projects covering the environment, archaeology and the arts.
European Youth Portal (http://europa.eu/youth) Has various links suggesting volunteering options across Europe. Navigate to the Volunteering page.
Legambiente (http://international.legambiente.it) Offers numerous environmentally focused volunteering opportunities.
Homosexuality is legal in Italy and generally well tolerated in Naples, especially among younger generations. That said, many gay Neapolitans remain in the closet (at least partially) and overt displays of affection by same-sex couples can still attract stares or comments. Discretion is advisable. Areas known as popular gay haunts include Piazza Bellini in the centro storico.
Useful online resources include the following:
Arcigay Napoli (www.arcigaynapoli.org, in Italian) Website for Naples' main LGBT organisation, listing special events as well as gay and gay-friendly venues in town.
Napoli Gay Press (www.napoligaypress.it, in Italian) Comprehensive coverage of queer current affairs, arts and events in Naples and Campania.
Gay-Friendly Italy (www.gayfriendlyitaly.com) English-language site featuring information on everything from gay-friendly hotels to bars.