Naples gets a bad rap. For years, travelers have been advised to avoid it because it’s dangerous, dirty, and a little rough around the edges. All of this is true, but it’s more or less true of many places that travelers happily enjoy.

If you use common sense, keep a close eye on your valuables, and don’t go where you don’t belong – especially after dark – you should be just fine. And you’ll get to enjoy all that Naples has to offer. Not the least of which is great food.

The National Museum of Archaeology is the best in Italy, and a must-do for anyone planning to visit Pompeii. The Bay of Naples, dominated by towering Vesuvius, is one of the most beautiful in the world. And Neapolitan pizza alone is worth the visit.

There are many fine hotels in Naples, and several offer sweeping views of the Bay.

Located in a 19th-cenury, Liberty-style palazzo, Constantinopoli 104 is a short stroll from Piazza Plebscito and the archaeology museum. Many of its 19 rooms, have huge stained-glass windows overlooking the pretty gardens. Some have balconies, others open onto the terrace. The common areas retain the feel of a private villa. And the pool is especially welcome on hot, summer days. Though its convenient to most of Naples’s attractions, once you’re behind its gates, Constantinopoli 104 seems far removed from the hustle and bustle of Naples.

Plebiscito Square Naples

Also in a Liberty-style villa, Grand Hotel Parker’s is located in an up-scale residential neighborhood. The big draw here are the amazing views of the Bay of Naples and the Isle of Capri, visible from many of the 82 rooms and public areas. The hotel has been in business since 1870, and with its gold-leaf, crystal chandeliers, and ornate plasterwork, it’s one of the most luxurious – and expensive – hotels in Naples. There’s a world-class spa, a cigar room, and a roof garden and restaurant with breathtaking views.

Although it doesn’t look like it from the outside, Grande Hotel Vesuvio is the most historic hotel in Naples. Enrico Caruso died here, and luminaries from Oscar Wilde to Bill Clinton have enjoyed the stellar service. Like Parker’s, Vesuvio is noted for its views. And its large, nicely outfitted rooms with marble baths and Jacuzzi tubs are the most comfortable in town. If you can afford it, reserve a bay view room with a balcony. The food at the roof-top Caruso restaurant is worthy of the view.

Galleria Umberto Naples

Galleria Umberto Naples

Opened in 2004, Palazzo Alabardieri is close to the wine bars and restaurants of Piazza del Martiri, and not far from the ocean-front promenade. The hotel is located in a 19th-century palazzo built around the cloister of an ancient convent. Each of the 33 rooms has hardwood floors, free Internet access, satellite TV, and a large, marble bathroom. The public areas are actually quite grand, with marble floors, high ceilings, and elaborate stuccowork.

Built between 1887 and 1891, Galleria Umberto’s soaring, glass-domed ceilings and intricate iron work make it one of the most beautiful structures in Naples. It was originally intended to house shops, cafes, and businesses. And today, it’s also home to a charming small hotel, Art Resort Galleria Umberto. With only ten rooms, it tends to fill up quickly, often with musicians performing at the San Carlo Opera House, across the street. Rooms have free WiFi, LCD TVs, and balconies, most of which look out over the galleria. Breakfast and late afternoon appetizers are included in the rate.

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