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Naples is a great source for Italian designer clothes and accessories, as well as for antiques and crafts. You have to know your stuff, though, because it was here that counterfeit goods were invented back in the 17th or 18th century. We advise you to stay away from fakes altogether, even if the price seems right; you risk heavy fines at Customs on your way home, as most countries are cracking down on such purchases as a way to protect brand identity. You also run the risk of being fined on the spot by the police.

Opening hours for stores are generally Monday to Saturday from 10:30am to 1pm and from 4 to 7:30pm.

Riviera di Chiaia, Via Calabritto, Via dei Mille, Via Filangeri, Via Poerio, and Piazza dei Martiri in Chiaia are where to go for the big-name Italian fashion labels, such as Valentino, Versace, Prada, and, of course, Salvatore Ferragamo -- a Naples native (the latter four are on and around Piazza dei Martiri). The area is also great for exploring the many smaller boutiques and stores that mostly sell accessories and clothing.

In the vicinity are old-time local favorites, such as Marinella, Via Riviera di Chiaia 287 (tel. 081-7644214), famous for handmade classic and colorful ties; Aldo Tramontano, Via Chiaia 149 (tel. 081-414837), for his handbags; and Mario Talarico, Vico Due Porte a Toledo 4/b (tel. 081-401979), for his handcrafted umbrellas. You'll also find some of the most reputable antiques dealers, such as Bowinkle, Piazza dei Martiri 24 (tel. 081-7644344), and Navarra, Piazza dei Martiri (tel. 081-7643595), but also Maurizio Brandi, Via Domenico Morelli 9 (tel. 081-7643882).

Every third Saturday and Sunday of each month from 8am to 2pm (except in Aug), a fiera antiquaria (antiques fair) is held in the Villa Comunale di Napoli on Viale Dohrn.

In the Vomero, the best shopping is centered on Via Scarlatti.

For more casual shopping and some specialty stores, try strolling the popular Via Toledo/Via Roma in the Quartieri Spagnoli/historical center. Here you will find the historical chocolate factory Gay-Odin, Via Toledo 214 and Via Toledo 427 (tel. 081/417-843; www.gay-odin.it). The area is also home to the elegant shops of the Galleria Umberto I, such as Ascione 1855 (tel. 081-421111) and its cameo workshop, where you can observe the delicate process of carving agate and coral, and also purchase unique jewelry.

 

Among the many delights of Naples are the presepi, nativity scenes that pop up everywhere, any time of the year and, not surprisingly, come out in force at Christmas time. Figures are carved in wood or fired in ceramic. Mainstays are Mary, Joseph, the infant Jesus, the donkey, the Wise Men, and angels, though the Neapolitan repertoire often expands to soccer stars and other celebrities. The settings are often a lot more elaborate than a humble manger: medieval town squares, rusticated villages with thatched cottages and spinning water-wheels, elaborate caves that look like some troglodyte fantasy. The Museo di San Martino (Largo San Martino 8; (tel) 081-5781769; admission 6€; open Thurs–Tues 8:30am–7:30pm) shows off the world’s largest presepe, an 18th-century concoction with hundreds of figures and objects; it’s the museum’s most popular display, and it’s thronged at Christmastime. You can piece together your own scene with a walk down Via San Gregorio Armeno, where year round, dozens of shops sell figures beginning at about 15€. You can also buy a complete scene for anywhere from 100€ well into five digits, or have one specially made with figures of your family and favorite celebrities (as many Neapolitans so). As you peruse these holy scenes, be aware that pickpockets flock to the street like sheep to a Bethlehem hillside with the unholy intent of preying on distracted gawkers glued to shop windows. Among the most reputable shops are Gambardella Pastori, Via San Gregorio Armeno 40 ((tel) 081-5517107); Giuseppe Ferrigno, Via San Gregorio Armeno 10 ((tel) 081-5523148); and Amendola, Via San Gregorio Armeno 51 ((tel) 081-5514899).

looking for a presepio. The most reputable workshops are Gambardella Pastori, Via San Gregorio Armeno 40 (tel. 081-5517107); Giuseppe Ferrigno, Via San Gregorio Armeno 10 (tel. 081-5523148); and Amendola, Via San Gregorio Armeno 51 (tel. 081-5514899). Via San Biagio dei Librai is lined with interesting shops selling paper goods and jewelry. Good addresses for antique prints and books are Libreria Colonnese, Via San Pietro a Majella 32 (tel. 081-459858); Dante e Descartes, Via Mezzocannone 75 (tel. 081-5515368); and Colonnese, Via Carlo Poerio 92 (tel. 081-7642627).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.