1. Don't read the negative reviews on TripAdvisor - I didn't follow this advice and I got terribly nervous when I read very negative reviews of the area where I was planning to stay and the quality of the hotels. I have stayed in a lot of budget hotels in Spain and Portugal having walked the camino so had a good idea what to expect. The hotel I stayed in while in Naples was fine, not brilliant but perfectly adequate and it was completely safe and clean.
2. Don't book a hotel close to central station - Most of the cheaper hotels are located in this area and it is where I stayed. If you are of a nervous disposition or not used to independent travel it will seem a little scary as there are street drinkers, homeless people and hustlers hanging around. I see people like this every day in London and while it makes me sad I know that these people are absolutely no threat to me. The city where I felt most nervous due to the huge numbers of ill and addicted people living on the street was central San Francisco. There is a lot of petty crime in Naples but you just need to take the normal precautions you would in any other city. One of my sisters had her passport stolen in Copenhagen and another had her purse taken in Paris. There is crime everywhere but it shouldn't stop you from visiting Naples or any other city for that matter.
3. Crossing the road - everything you read about how Neapolitans drive is true. Moped riders weave in and out of cars and pedestrians. Most of them don't wear helmets and often they are giving friends a lift. I saw one moped with three adults on it. Car drivers use only one hand to drive and with their other hand they either texting or pressing on the horn. The noise level is incredible. In the UK and Ireland horn blowing is frowned upon. To cross the road at a crossing point you step out into the traffic. Do not be put off by the cars speeding towards you as they will eventually stop. The mopeds won't but they won't run you down either. I found this really frightening to begin with and generally waited until a local was crossing the road before trying to get to the other side of the street. I then cottoned on to the fact that elderly and lame people and affluent women with toddlers in tow just stepped out and they weren't getting killed so I did the same and lived to tell the tale.
4. Eat Lots Of Pizza - I had pizza four nights out of the five nights I was there. I love pizza. The best pizza I had was the cheapest from the hole in the wall place but all of them were really excellent. Don't feel you are missing out if you don't manage to go to a recommended place. If you don't love pizza as much as me there are many other things to eat. My one regret is that I didn't have enough ice cream while I was there.
5. If a church is open visit it - On my first day I followed a walk which was in my guide book. I must have gone into at least ten churches that day, some of which I later re-visited. A couple of them were quite gothic but most of them were over the top baroque. I don't think I've ever seen so many painted ceilings. There were fewer gruesome statues than you get in Spanish churches but I did see a few plus quite a lot of relics, mainly leg bones and the odd skull. Despite no longer being a practising catholic I do feel very at home in a church.
6. Visit Pompeii and/or Herculaneum - I went to Pompeii and was a bit overwhelmed by it. There wasn't that much guidance on what you were looking at and it is enormous with no shade anywhere and even in October it was incredibly hot there. By all accounts Herculaneum is much smaller, better preserved and less crowded. After you have been to the sites go to the Museo Archaeologico Nazionale which has the best art and mosaics from both sites on view and it will help you understand what you've just seen.
7. Don't Be Afraid To Use Public Transport - It's really easy to catch a train to Pompeii or Sorrento. The trains are not luxurious and will be covered in graffiti but they are both frequent and cheap and it's easy to buy tickets. If you are just doing touristy things you probably don't need to use the metro but again it is easy to use and cheap. You should though use the funicular railway to get up to the hilltop area of Vomero where there is a park, a castle and a monastery. I visited the monastery and it was stunning and had a church which would not have been out of place in the Vatican. The views from here are fabulous as you look down at the roofs of the city, and in the distance the Bay of Naples, Capri and Vesuvius. This area is also quite quiet compared to the centre.
8. Where To Find A Quiet Corner - Before going to Naples I imagined I would spend quite a lot of time just sitting on a bench under the shade of a tree reading a thriller an improving novel. There are no quiet spots in the Old Town and the only benches I found under trees looked out on to a dual carriageway. I did eventually work out that where the quiet places could be found were in churches, cloisters and museums. I sat for a while completely on my own on the Museo Madre roof terrace and it was blissful. I also sat in the garden of the Archaeological museum reading.
9. Bring Insect Repellant - there are a lot of mosquitos and I got bitten several times.
10. See Naples And Don't Die - there is something that I think is actually quite dangerous in Naples and that's the state of the pavements. It is a miracle that I didn't trip although once or twice I came close to it. The city is poor and the budgets for things like street cleaning, graffiti removal and keeping the roads and pavements in good repair must be almost nil. Be very careful walking around otherwise you could end up flat on your face. Having said that I would highly recommend Naples for a break if you want to stuff your face with pizza and ice cream while getting a good dose of culture at the same time. It's a bit of a cliche to say this but just watching life on the streets is one of the best things about the city and a reminder that they really do thinks differently in southern Europe... and finally if you are a pale-skinned northerner you should probably avoid Naples in the high season as I found too hot in mid October.