Fun spots for kids in Napoli

There is enough to see and do in Napoli to keep the adults occupied and happy, but what about the children? I’ll be honest; when I was doing research for our trip, I did not find a whole lot of information about things to do with kids in Napoli so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

We found out that, in the middle of all the craziness that is Napoli, there are some terrific spots for kids to let loose and play.  Here are some of the places that we enjoyed and where Lucia had a blast:

Castel Nuovo. It’s one of two castles we visited in Napoli. Built in the late 13th century, these days Castel Nuovo is more like an art museum. Works by local artists are showcased along with pieces that reference Napoli in some way. Other parts of the castle serve as venues for cultural events as well as the Municipal Museum. While all of that may not seem exciting for kids, the fact that it’s a castle raises the coolness factor. Also, at the rear of the castle, on the upper levels, are terraces and areas to look out over the Bay of Naples. It’s a gorgeous vista with Mt. Vesuvius also in full view. Cool, right? Because what’s cooler than a castle? A volcano! The area below this part of Castel Nuovo is quite busy. There are cars, buses, pedestrians, and boats constantly moving in all directions. Lucia had a ball watching all of the activity from above. The lower level terrace is large enough for the kids to kind of run around, too. In a crowded, busy place like Napoli, an open area to run, an excuse to get Lucia out of her stroller, is welcomed. Entrance to Castel Nuovo is 5€ for adults, free for visitors under 18.

Castel Dell’Ovo. Again, castles are cool. They’re even cooler when you don’t have to pay to get in! This 12th-century castle is used mainly for private functions now, so there is not much to see or do inside. The outside, however, is where the fun happens. There are four external areas of the castle, all of which are accessible to visitors. Aside from being popular spots for a little teenage romance, the terraces and arcades are perfect spots for the younger ones to have some fun. Their imaginations will go wild on the “cannons terrace” (even though the cannons are not the originals and they’re pointed to fire towards the city, not out to sea). Bound to delight visitors of any age, the views from Castel Dell’Ovo of the Gulf of Naples are stunning.

Villa Comunale Park. The little ones will love the playground and the open spaces to run, the adults will love the setting and the views. Villa Comunale is in the Chiaia area of Napoli, one of the nicest parts of town, and is beautifully situated on the Lungomare (Via Caracciolo), offering views of the waterfront. The expansive park is home to tall statues and gorgeous fountains; the Anton Dohrn Aquarium and Zoological Station; a café to get snacks and refreshments; and, Lucia’s favorite, a playground. Many agree that the best way to experience a destination is to become immersed in its language and culture, and that is exactly what happened to Lucia at the playground! The Neapolitan children welcomed her with open arms. They helped her climb the plank to get to the top of the slide. They spoke to her in Italian (nothing cuter than hearing a little voice ask, “Come ti chiami?” [what’s  your name?]). Parents advised their kids to slow down around her, to be careful not to knock over “la piccolina” (little girl). Lucia had a grand time flying high on the swings and zooming down the slide, but I cherished our playground time as one of her first real immersion experiences.

These spots provide a mix of subtle history lessons, a little bit of culture, and a whole lot of play time. What more could a traveling family ask for?

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0 Responses to Fun spots for kids in Napoli

  1. Jennifer Grinold April 15, 2011 at 3:20 am #

    We’ll be in Napoli for a one day stop on our Disney Mediterranean cruise July. There will be 8 kids in the group, ranging from 1 to 12. Planning to hit Herculaneam and/or Pompei. Wondering if the little ones are just too young to enjoy it…maybe only the 8 year olds and older? On last trip to Napoli we took our two young boys (then 2 and 4) on the hydrofoil to Capri. This trip 4 years later we’re hoping to do a little more as the kids are a bit older. Interested to hear your thoughts on what would be a fun itinerary for a day trip in Naples for the kids. Thanks!

    • Francesca April 15, 2011 at 6:34 am #

      Thanks for the comment, Jennifer! So one day in Napoli, eh? If you’ve never been to Pompeii, I would recommend it as I was completely blown away. We took our 2-year-old with us and had no problems. It was like a long walk in a really big park for her 🙂 The only challenge to seeing Pompeii with young children is that it’s not really stroller friendly. Those bumpy, ancient roads make it really difficult to navigate with a stroller. I would recommend a child-carrying backpack. There are plenty of smooth surfaces, too, for the young walkers to kinda let loose and stretch their legs. The older kids of course will better appreciate the history and the ruins of Pompeii, and they’d probably really love the castles I mention here. Perfect places to let the imaginations run wild! I hope this helps!

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