Toledo (and the Quartieri Spagnoli)
Toledo is a famous city in Spain, but it's also a much-loved area of Naples! The name dates back to when Spanish appointed viceroys ruled over the town between the 16th and 18th centuries. Viceroy Pedro Álvarez de Toledo gave his name to the great Via Toledo. This must-see street marks the barrier between Naples’ commercial downtown area and the infamous Quartieri Spagnoli.
The Quartieri Spagnoli is the epicenter of the Neapolitan dialect and vernacular culture and also can be the site of petty crime and occasional gang violence. The rule is that if you stay relatively close to the via Toledo, you’ll discover one of Naple’s most charming and historically unique neighborhoods and if you veer five or more blocks away from Toledo most likely nothing will happen to you, but it’s not worth taking the risk at night.
Now that you’ve got the rule down, you’ll probably be curious to know why it would be worth visiting Toledo at all. The answer is that all travelers to this unique town should want to get to know both its humble as well as its noble faces and there's a good chance your most authentic meal or memory of the city will take place in this neighborhood where it so often feels as if the residents are opening up their homes to you when you enter a little shop or restaurant. If you're not put off so far, you'll probably love exploring this colorful neighborhood.
Spaccanopoli refers both to Via Benedetto Croce and the meandering side streets and blocks that surround it on either side. This includes both backstreets that surround the University of Naples and dark sidestreets where craftspeople have their workshops in this area. Also, a lot the grocery baskets and laundry lines hanging out of windows that people find charming about the Quartierit Spagnoli are present around Spaccanapoli, but in a more visitor-friendly format and with more pizzerias, historic palazzi and baroque churches than you’ll know what to do with!