Walks in Naples: Rampe & Terrazza di Sant’Antonio
Talk about Terrace with a View… Between the jaw-dropping gulf panorama, and the historically poignant hidden park, this walk will definitely give you a new perspective on this often-overlooked part of Napoli!
Starting Point: Mergellina
From the Mergellina metro station in Piazza Piedigrotta, walk down Salita Piedigrotta, cross Piazza Sannazzaro, with its beautiful Fontana della Sirena (‘Mermaid Fountain’), and take Via Mergellina to reach the Funicolare di Mergellina at the beginning of Largo Barbaia. Take the funicular (which is already a very Neapolitan experience in and of itself!) and get off at the first stop, ‘Sant’Antonio’, to find yourself in Via Orazio, where you’ll get a first taste of the breath-taking panorama this walk has to offer.
With the funicular building behind you, turn left and walk briefly on Via Orazio until you encounter on your right a smaller, downhill street (as well as a direction sign indicating ‘Sant’Antonio a Posillipo’), Via Minucio Felice. Take this street and prepare yourself for the inimitable view waiting for you on the terrace in front of the Chiesa di Sant’Antonio a Posillipo.
When you’ve taken enough pictures, you can continue on to the Rampe di Sant’Antonio, 13 zig-zagging ramps descending all the way back to Piazza Sannazzaro (hence the name ‘le 13 scese‘, as Neapolitans typically refer to them). Although we understand you’ll probably be too busy trying to impress this beautiful panorama forever in your mind, try to keep an eye on the street, as there is no sidewalk on the ramps (however locals are pretty used to tourists getting inebriated with the view, so don’t worry too much!). If it’s lunch time, or if after this experience you’re now hungry for more Neapolitan beauty, we suggest you eat a pizza at 50 Kalò, a locally famous pizzeria sitting at the other end of the square.
During your descent, you have probably noticed a big patch of green surrounding the ramps: that’s the next stop of this walk! From Piazza Sannazzaro, go upward on Salita Piedigrotta then immediately turn left on Salita della Grotta, from which you can access the Parco Vergiliano a Piedigrotta: this poorly-known park (not to be confused with the Parco Virgiliano on top of the Posillipo hill) is claimed to be the burial place of Virgil and Giacomo Leopardi, fundamental figures in Latin and Italian literature, and is also the access point to the ‘Neapolitan crypt’, a tunnel first build in Roman times to connect Naples to Pozzuoli and renovated multiple times since the 15th century until its closure at the end of the 19th century.
When you’re done wandering around this evocative park, return to Salita della Grotta and turn left at the intersection with Salita Piedigrotta to find yourself immediately at the Mergellina metro station, from which line 2 (metro linea 2) can take you to most of Naples’ other districts.