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A cultural guide to Naples: traditions, festivals & local delicacies

A cultural guide to Naples: traditions, festivals & local delicacies

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Naples is the third-largest city in Italy after Rome and Milan, and lies on the west coast of the country. It is close to the beautiful Amalfi coast, and is a wonderful travel destination for those looking for a blend of rich culture, picturesque scenery and a traditional Italian way of life.

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Naples is one of the oldest continually-inhabited cities in the entire world, so the abundance of historical places you can visit is one of the many things about Naples that makes this city one of the most impressive in the world.

We’re going to give you the scoop on some of the very best places and traditions that you can experience in this ancient city.

Feast of the Lillies of Barra

This ancient festival has roots in Naples as far back as 1821. Running from the end of August to mid-September every year, this festival sees floats of impressive stature and regular parades through the neighbourhood of Barra in Naples.

This festival is a celebration of folklore and cultural identity, seeing the streets adorned with flags and bunting.

This is an important festival for locals and visitors alike to come together and explore the unique cultural heritage of the community.

Maggio dei Monumentei

Translating in English to “May of the Monuments”, this annual event is typically held in mid April and runs to the beginning of June.

Its purpose is to celebrate the rich cultural and artistic heritage of Naples. This event is definitely not to be missed, with many churches, old buildings and other sites of historic significance open to the general public – and they are usually free or very low-cost.

The city council also runs free walking tours around historical sights; you can opt for a longer one or a shorter one if you prefer!

This inclusive event is perfect for families, with many food stalls, face-painting and other activities available to be enjoyed by all.

Napoli Film Festival 

This world-famous film festival runs every year in June for roughly 10 days. This is an excellent chance to watch some of the best, independent films in the world at reasonable prices ranging from €4-€20.

This is also a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the Italian language.

Find an Italian tutor before you go so that you can have a good grasp of film dialogue – no subtitles needed!

Screenings are held in both indoor and outdoor venues, meaning that this is an experience that caters to families perfectly. The intimate nature of the festival also means there is a great chance that you will see the actors in-person at the premieres! 

Neopolitan Pizza

Pizza, in Italy? We know, it’s a cliché! But some things are very popular for a very good reason.

The popularity of Neopolitan (Naples) pizza is a global phenomenon, with countries all over the world trying to replicate what the Neopolitans do best. Naples is the staunch home of the tastiest, most authentic Italian pizza.

The best thing about a regional favourite is that you can get it anywhere! You don’t need to book a fancy restaurant months in advance; the best pizzas can be found literally on every corner of Naples.

The astounding taste and flavours lie in the excellent quality and locally grown tomatoes, oil, mozzarella and basil, as well as mouth-watering cured meats.

No pizza slicers in Naples, though, this delicacy is best eaten with a knife and fork!

Gelato

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Ice cream is undoubtedly a hit favourite with families and solo travellers alike, but Naples is streets ahead with the breadth and range of flavours they have on offer. With roaming dairy cows just outside of the city, the local access to excellent quality milk and cream is second to none.

The key to Neopolitan ice cream is the simplicity, mixing only a few flavours to really emphasise the taste. Tutto Gelato (a local favourite) has an excellent flavour in the pistachio and roasted almond flavour – and all of the ingredients are locally sourced. Stracciatella is another popular option, with shavings of dark chocolate mixed into white chocolate ice cream.

A double scooping of this one is definitely on the cards!

Disclosure: this guide to Naples is a collaborative post with Superprof

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