Naples is a large, sprawling city, with a centre that has many different focuses. The area between Piazza Garibaldi and Via Toledo, roughly corresponding to the old Roman Neapolis (much of which is still unexcavated below the ground), makes up the old part of the city – the centro storico – the main streets of Via dei Tribunali and Via San Biagio dei Librai (the latter also known as “Spaccanapoli”) still following the path of the old Roman roads. This is much the liveliest and most teeming part of town, an open-air kasbah of hawking, yelling humanity that makes up in energy what it lacks in grace. Buildings rise high on either side of the narrow, crowded streets, cobwebbed with washing; there’s little light, not even much sense of the rest of the city outside – certainly not of the proximity of the sea. But it’s the city’s most intriguing quarter, and a must-see on any visit to the city.

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