Things to Do in Naples with Kids
We could say we love culture, architecture, nature and ‘blah blah’, but the 15 hour-long trip to Naples was actually for the pizza. On our list of 10 things to do in Naples with kids, tasting pizza Napoletana was at top of priorities.
Best Pizza Napolitana, Pepe in Grani
The first pizza in the world (Margarita) was born in Naples. Pizza Margarita is named after Queen Margarita, who visited the city in 1889 and wished to try a local specialty. Visible on the Margarita pizza are the colors of the Italian flag – the green basil, the white mozzarella cheese, and the red tomato sauce. My husband, who is fascinated with pizza, had been seriously studying for days where the best pizza in Napoli was. The word on the street is that the best pizza in the world is made by Franco Pepe at his restaurant, ‘Pepe in Grani’. The restaurant is in Caiazzo, just outside of Caserta. We were overwhelmed with the variety of pizzas to choose from that we ended up choosing the most common type with mozzarella, tomatoes, and olives. The dough, whose recipe has been passed on for generations, was too tough to chew. I remember chewing and chewing more than the flavor.
Chewing is the best gymnastics for the jaw, which is good for children learning how to develop speech. After the second piece of pizza, our youngest daughter pronounced words even better than usual. In other words, we were not thrilled with the best pizza in the category of ‘Neapolitan pizza’. Nowadays, the creation of the Neapolitan pizza has come so far that there is a list of rules explaining in detail how it is supposed to be made! Even UNESCO has included it in its cultural heritage list. Due to the long and hard chewing process, logopedic exercises could also be found on that list. Develop your speech quickly by chewing Neapolitan pizza!
Pizzeria Da Michele Naples
The most famous pizzeria in Naples is ‘Da Michele’ in which even Julia Roberts enjoyed pizza Margarita in the movie ‘Eat, Pray, Love.’ Like the typical Neapolitan pizza, it was tough — demanding too much hard chewing. We cannot say that Neapolitan pizza is not good. It wouldn’t be fair. We are just not accustomed to such dough like the Italians are, but we love the other type of thin and crunchy pizza. The one that is easier to eat and digest. It’s actually the Roman pizza style, so we had to also go to Rome for pizza, and to see the Pope of course 😉
In a very popular pizzeria ‘Da Michele’, you can order only two types of pizza; Margherita and Marinara, with mozzarella and tomato or just tomato. In fast food shops all over Naples, you have pizza pieces with all the possible additions. The dough is more crunchy and soft too.
Pastry shops in Naples
The crowd, traffic chaos, and noise make Naples a place where you could easily lose children. If that happens, don’t worry; you will surely find them in one of the innumerable pastry shops.
Italian desserts are real masterpieces, and we turned out to be passionate art-lovers. During our wandering around the streets of Naples, there was a chocolate festival. We could buy chocolate in various flavors and forms. Chocolate shoes were our favorite. It’s a good idea to buy a pair! When they get too small for your feet, you just eat them! The most famous Italian chocolate is from Modica. Of course, we went there too.
Chapel of San Severe
Naples has great buildings, museums, 3 old castles (Castel Nuovo, Castel Sant Elmo, Castel dell’Ovo), 448 churches and opera houses (such as the Teatro di San Carlo), but the place that amazed and shocked us at the same time was the mysterious Chapel of San Severe. It is filled with marble statues so realistic that it was difficult to grasp whether they were made from stone or not. The most beautiful of all marble statues is the sculpture of Christ, covered with a veil. In the chapel, there are dozens of guards who do not allow any photography. Here you can read more about the various legends surrounding this mysterious place.
The old part of the city is full of life with narrow streets and stalls selling everything from food to souvenirs. Napoli is famous for its crib tradition. In the historic center, the street called Via San Gregorio Armeno is famous for its nativity scene makers. We visited Naples in December when the Christmas spirit was just starting to appear. I have heard that half a million tourists come at Christmas time to see these original hand-made miniature figurines. A complete nativity sets costs from 40 euros up to 4,000 euros and even more. It is also possible to buy figurines and all the accessories to build your own holy scene.
Laundry street art
Something that makes Italy particularly charming is the laundry that hangs everywhere. Window to window, from one balcony to another and over narrow streets representing the lifestyle of the locals: colorful and casual. It is almost like street art.
After pizza, football is a theme which people in Naples talk about with the most passion and pride. Almost every shop has a picture of Diego Maradona and all kind of souvenirs with him. One who does not know that this is a famous football player might think that he is the patron saint of the city. When Diego Maradona led the Napoli football club to win the championship in 1987, a large transparent poster appeared in the cemetery with the inscription “Dead, you do not know what you missed!”
Piazza del Plebiscito
Piazza del Plebiscito, located in the heart of the old town, is one of the symbols of Naples. It is one of the largest squares in Italy. There is one very interesting story about this square. The legend says that in the past, the king ordered slaves to walk with blindfolded eyes from the palace to the two bronze statues and pass between them. Those who did not succeed would be killed.
There are two magnificent buildings on Piazza del Plebiscito: Basilica of San Francesco di Paola and the Royal Palace, but they are just not as attractive and exciting as these miracle machines from which surprising, colorful balls come out.
The legend about Castel dell’Ovo
Children loved to hear stories and legends, especially about mermaids. There is a legend about a mermaid named Partenope related to Castel dell’Ovo. Many years ago the castle did not exist and in its place, there was a beach. Partenope was the only one of mermaids who survived Odyssey’s anger and trap. The poor mermaid was wandering in the open sea until she found asylum in the Naples Bay. Before dying, the mermaid left an egg, at the point where the castle stands today. Legend says that the egg is located just below the building, in a golden cage, and from that comes the name Castel dell’Ovo.
Promenade in Naples
After the crowd and noise at Naples, the walk along Promenade was relaxing. At the end of the Promenade, there is a lovely park with a children’s playground. Kids had a chance to ride a donkey, who would probably be happier to have a carrot instead of 3 euros. That’s what five minutes of riding cost. A day in Naples isn’t nearly enough to experience the city, but
If you travel to Italy, you might like to read more travel stories because we try to look at things from the new point of view.