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Tony Bourdain's Guide to Naples

Filed Under: Host Central

Naples. The Naples of our collective imagination. The old country, where one was always led to believe it all started. With a spoonful of nostalgia and even more sauce, we were told the Italian food we ate in America came from here. But to what extent was what we knew as Neapolitan ever Italian or even from Naples? What was lost in the long trip over all those years ago when the people who started these businesses first arrived? I thought I'd find out. Off to Naples, following the red sauce trail …

Controsenso-- that means ‘against sense.’ And very little about Naples makes sense. In the beginning, certainly, many will say, not the way they drive or navigate the roads in Naples' historic central district. Generally, everything here that you want to do -- the answer is ‘maybe,’ ‘we hope so,’ ‘I don't know.’ It's exactly like what's so great about this town. It doesn't really work.”
- Anthony Bourdain, host of No Reservations.

Before planning your trip to Naples, check out all the places Tony visited along the “red sauce trail”… plus a few more!

Getting There
By Air
Capodichino International Airport, the main airport for most destinations in Southern Italy, is located a few miles outside Naples.

By Train
The main station is located in Piazza Garibaldi. At ground level is Napoli Centrale station, and the Piazza Garibaldi station, connected to the Naples subway system, is underground.

By Boat
Cruise ships dock at Stazione Marittima, a large terminal in the city center. The islands of Capri, Sorrento, Ischia, Procida and Forio are all accessible from Naples, and ferries leave from Molo Beverello in front of Castel Nuovo. Longer-distance ferries leave from the Stazione Marittima. The station serves Palermo, Cagliari, Milazzo, the Aeolian Islands (Isole Eolie) and Tunisia.
Getting Around
By Taxi
Only accept a ride from an official taxi -- white cars with meters and the symbol of Naples on the sides. Don’t bother trying to hail a cab because they will rarely stop. Instead, you can find taxi stands in most of the city’s piazzas.

Public Transportation
The public transportation system in Naples can be confusing; different companies run different subway and tram lines.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

Metropolitana di Napoli runs 6 lines underground subway lines.
Funicolare runs 4 cable cars.
ANM operates all the bus lines as well as 2 tram lines.
Where to Go
Drive along the Amalfi Coast. “The infamous road of 1,000 bends, barely wide enough to accommodate 2 cars side by side ...” – Tony Bourdain

While a drive along the Amalfi Coast can be terrifying, it’s well worth it. Amalfi Drive is carved out of the cliffs along the route from Salerno to the town of Amalfi, and offers spectacular views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Tony did the drive in style -- in a smart car with pink daisy trim.

Relax on the beach in Cetara.
Tony paid a visit to the seaside fisherman’s village of Cetara, located on the Amalfi Coast south of Naples.
Where to Eat
Pappacarbone
Chef Rocco Iannone treated Tony to lunch in the kitchen of his restaurant, Pappacarbone. Their meal included toasted bread with butter and anchovies, spaghetti with seafood and fried octopus with tomato sauce and cheese.
Address: Via Rosario Senatore 30 84013 Cava de’ Tirreni Salerno, Italy
Visit the website

Al Convento
Tony sat down to lunch with Chef Pasquale Torrente at his restaurant, Al Convento. Tony sampled fried anchovies with provolone and spaghetti alla puttanesca.
Address: Piazza San Francesco, 16 84010 Cetara, Italy
Visit the website

Pizzeria Pellone
At lunch, this pizzeria is the busiest spot in the neighborhood. Tony tried the margherita pizza and had to eat it with a fork and knife because there was so much sauce and cheese.
Address: Via Nazionale, 93 80143 Napoli, Italy  

La Taverna del Buongustaio
Tony ventured down a narrow alley to have dinner at La Taverna del Buongustaio with friends Emanuela and Rosario. Their meal included eggplant rolls with provolone, mezzanelli genovese and fritto misto all’Italiana.
Address: Via Basilio Puoti, 8 Napoli, Italy

Scaturchio
Tony stopped by Scaturchio where he tried a Sfogliatella, a lobster-claw-shaped pastry desert.
Address: Piazza San Domenico Maggiore, 19  
Visit the website
Where to Stay
Hotel Palazzo Decumani

This 4-star hotel located in Centro Storico has a particularly friendly staff, and guests are greeted with a welcome bellini.
Address: Piazza Giustino Fortunato 8, 80100 Naples, Italy
Visit the website

MGallery Palazzo Caracciolo Napoli

This 13th-century palace has been converted into a 4-star hotel and stylishly decorated.
Address: Via Carbonara 112, 80139 Naples, Italy
Visit the website

Decumani Hotel de Charme
Located on the renovated second floor of a former cardinal’s residence, this 3-star hotel in Centro Storico might look a little grimy on the outside but is beautiful on the inside.
Address: Via San Giovanni Maggiore Pignatelli 15 Napoli 8, 80134 Naples, Italy
Visit the website

Hotel Piazza Bellini
This 3-star hotel, near the Naples National Archaeological Museum and the city’s main shopping area, offers free internet to its guests.
Address: S. M. di Costantinopoli 101, 80138 Naples, Italy
Visit the website

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