For our second trip to Italy, together, we used Rome as a starting point only. After alighting from the airport train and exiting Stazione Termini, one of the first things that struck us was the rubbish everywhere. People simply threw it where they were. Many drunks were sitting in doorways or wandering around. The whole inner city stank of urine. There were a few beggars around, particularly old ladies. One bloke begging had three well-fed dogs. Our first day was very long.
We did a lot of walking. By the afternoon, when Helen got ripped off at a money changer, we were tired, so the bloke got more than he expected. We enjoyed wandering around the streets and the cafes were great, although a little bit expensive.
Our original plan was to spend four nights in Perugia, but Helen suggested Naples, instead. Upon our arrival at the station, we asked at the (very basic) tourist information window about a cheap hotel. We were told to follow an old bloke in a suit. As Helen observed, the hotel was going to be close by. After negotiating our way through the traffic, we got into a very small lift in a building across the street. The bloke dropped 10 cents in a slot, and took us to the 7th floor. We climbed one more flight to L'Attico, where we booked two nights at €60/night (less than half of what we paid in Rome). The old bloke indicated that he wanted cigarette money, and the €3 that we gave him seemed to be enough.
As well as an adequate bed and a small fridge, the room had a patio, with a table, four chairs and two deck chairs. There was noise from traffic and construction outside the station, but it had nice views to Vesuvius and the bay. It was a lovely place to have a drink in the afternoon. Breakfast was very basic, especially when compared to what was available down in the street. We should have negotiated a price without it.
Naples is like the western suburbs as a whole city. The locals are called "Neopolitan", but there was not much strawberry or vanilla in evidence. Near the station, the streets were packed with Senegalese selling junk, including adult DVD's that defied the imagination (if the covers were any indication). The traffic was unbelievably chaotic - cars & motorcycles parked on footpaths and drove the wrong way down one-way streets. Motorcycles drove on the footpaths. With an "almost anything goes" policy, we were astounded to see the police stop some cars. What hideous crime had the drivers committed?
Like Rome (and pretty much everywhere else) there was graffiti everywhere, on beautiful old buildings, and even on Garibaldi's statue. The outer suburban railway stations in Naples, and most of the trains, were completely covered.
On the train to Pompei, an Arab-looking family, consisting of a teenage boy (playing Middle Eastern music loudly from his phone), Mama and a young girl, got into our carriage. Mama threw rubbish out the carriage window - there was absolutely no reaction from the many, other passengers. The young girl followed suit, several times. On the train to Pompei and one the one back, a trombonist walked through the carriages, busking.
Pompei was really interesting, but tour groups, particularly those from the U.S.A., were very painful. We wandered around for a couple of hours and then caught the train back to Naples.