Naples is the home of well-tailored suits, handmade shirts and silk ties, and Chiaia is a great area to find high-end stores selling the latest designer threads and hand-stitched leather goods. The less well-heeled head to fabulous markets dotted around the city, which offer fresh produce. There are also plenty of streets where you'll find crafts-people doing the same as generations of Neapolitans before them, such as the street of San Gregorio Armeno where the famous presepi workshops make Christmas nativity scenes.
Opening times and sales
Shops generally open at 9am, close between 1-4pm, then stay open until around 7.30pm, but local shops have their own times; many close on Mondays, while others close Saturday afternoons and most businesses take a holiday during the month of August.
Sales are held twice a year, from mid January to mid-March, and again from mid July to mid September.
Ferragamo (Piazza dei Martiri, 45; www.ferragamo.com), Armani (Piazza dei Martiri, 64 and Via Calabritto 1; www.giorgioarmani.com), Gucci (Via Calabritto, 4; www.gucci.com), Prada (Via Calabritto, 9; www.prada.com) and Vuitton (Via Calabritto 2; www.louisvuitton.com) can all be found in the Chiaia district along the Via dei Mille, Via Filangierei and Piazza dei Martiri; look out for Marinella (Riviera di Chiaia 287a) for beautiful silk ties.
The stunning Galleria Umberto is also home to a few more labels and there are often small craft stalls set up in front of the boutiques to mix it up a bit. For mid-range clothes, check the Via Chiaia, Corso Umberto and the Via Toledo.
For those who take their labels super seriously, a trip to the UNESCO-listed town of Caserta is a must because the La Reggia Designer Outlet (Provincial Road 336, 81025, Marcianise) is situated 6km south of the town in Marcianise. It opened in February 2010 and within its 26,000 square metres there are more than 120 brands on offer, often at heavily discounted prices. A bus leaves from Piazza Municipio at 10am and 3.30pm (return buses at 2pm and 7pm). When you’re all shopped out you can visit the beautiful 18th-century Royal Palace of Caserta.
There are markets all over Naples selling everything from trendy brands to bargain-priced shoes, cheap bags and knock-off perfumes. The Mercatino di Antignano in Vomero (Piazza Antignano; 7am-2pm Mon, Fri-Sun) is a good place to start for things such as kitchenware, clothes and jewellery. The Mercantino of Posilippo (Viale Virgilio, via della Rimembranza; 8am-1pm Thur, closed Aug) is slightly trendier and good for a rummage around (and the odd bargain).
For food, the oldest market of Pignasecca is fabulous. You'll find fresh fruit, fish and vegetables in abundance, as well as clothes, tableware and jewellery.
One of the best things about Naples is the abundance of independent shops, such as Gallinaro on Via Porta di Massa, which has been selling sunshades and a range of sailing equipment since 1926. In Chiaia you'll find Il Cappellaio (Via San Pasquale a Chiaia 17), which has sold hats since 1870 and close by you'll find a man repairing wooden church statues. Further along, there's a shop where upholsterers are hand-stitching chairs and sofas. But dotted in between are some of the classiest shops you'll find anywhere, such as Marra (Via Carlo Poerio 46), selling gorgeous pieces of furniture and offering an interior design service: worth nipping into just to get some ideas.
Kitsch-seekers love the terracotta nativity scenes (presepi, a tradition that dates back as far as the 13th century). To find these, along with other handmade crafts, head to Via San Gregorio Armeno – an entire street of craft sellers. Being very good at creating something from not very much, Neapolitans have also cornered the market in creating decorative items from the lava around Vesuvius. There is also a thriving papier maché trade, and Torre del Greco is the place to explore the art of shell cameo-making – a craft that goes back 500 years – where artisans use mother of pearl and shells that wash up on the beach.
The Via Santa Maria di Costantinopli is the place for antiques. There is even a craftsman located in front of the Liberty-style hotel Costantinopoli 104.
Food and everything else
Foodies are in heaven here… cheese, olive oil, wine, pasta, cake, coffee (I always stock up on a few tins of Mexico coffee when I'm here as it doesn't seem to be available anywhere else). There is plenty to buy but be warned, nothing tastes as fabulous as it does when eaten or drunk in the southern Italian sun.
For big stores, there's bookstore FNAC (Via Luca Giordano 59, Vomero; www.fnac.it) and general department store, Coin (Via Scarlatti 90/98, Vomero; www.coin.it).
Naples is the gateway to the Neapolitan Riviera. For further advice on shopping along the coast, visit Shopping in Neapolitan Riviera.